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Southwestern Superintendent Announces Retirement

Southwestern Central School is looking for a new superintendent.

Maureen Donahue, the district’s current superintendent, announced during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting that she will retire at the end of the 2024-25 academic year, which marks her 40th year in education. The Board of Education accepted Donahue’s letter of resignation for the purposes of retirement and will work with Dr. David O’Rourke, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES superintendent, to find a replacement.

“As Mrs. Donahue prepares to depart Southwestern, she maintains strong support from our board for her compassionate and innovative leadership,” said Kurt Gustafson, Southwestern board president.. “Her commitment to our students and staff leaves a meaningful legacy for our Trojan family. We congratulate her for her many years of public education service to the state of New York and wish her all the best on her hard-earned retirement.”

Among the things Donahue has implemented during her time as Southwestern superintendent is helping secure technology for all students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades, completion of $38 million in capital projects as well as four emergency projects and development of changes in the district’s special education program.

“I’m looking forward to working hand-in-hand with our Board of Education to ensure a smooth leadership transition,” says Donahue. “Finishing my final year at Southwestern will be bittersweet, but I am approaching it with the same passion and commitment I brought when I joined our Trojan family in 2014. Our students deserve only the best from me – and from all of us.”

Donahue began her career in special education in 1984 teaching in Wellsville for BOCES and subsequently moved to North Carolina in 1985, spending four years as a teacher in Charlotte, from 1985-1989. She returned to New York in 1989 to work as a behavior specialist at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES in Olean until 1995. She was then promoted to administrative supervisor and assistant principal at Olean Middle School, roles held until 1998 and 1999, respectively. She worked as elementary school principal in Olean from 1999-2005 before being named superintendent of Friendship Central School. She joined Southwestern in 2014 as superintendent and has spent the past decade in that role.

She also serves as president of Section VI of the New York State Public High School Athletics Association and is a past president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents serving as president in 2015. She’s served 18 years as a member of the New York State Commissioner’s Advisory Council, is on the steering committee of the Child Advocacy Program and is a United Way board member.

A resident of Lakewood, Donahue earned a bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University, a master’s degree from Buffalo State College, a certificate in school administration from St. Bonaventure University, and she completed the Superintendent Development Program at Oswego State University. She’s certified in elementary education (K-6), Special Education (K-12), and as a school administrator/supervisor and district administrator.

“The students, staff, parents, and community are tremendous in their unwavering support of our school,” Donahue said. “My greatest passion and purpose have been the ability to engage and hopefully make a difference for our kids.”

Donahue is looking forward to spending more time with family – including her husband Mark, daughter Erin and son-in-law Kevin along with her granddaughter Malin Maureen in retirement. She also plans to travel and will continue to reside in the Southwestern community.

“Each child is unique and Southwestern’s most valuable asset,” says Donahue. “Given the ability to be a part of their daily education has been my greatest joy. Once a Trojan always a Trojan!”

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