JPS Announces Interim Superintendent

Sylvia Root has been appointed as the interim superintendent for the Jamestown Public Schools District.

At Thursday night’s board of education meeting, Root was named for the position beginning on Feb. 27. Out-going superintendent, Tim Mains, offered his resignation to the board which was unanimously approved during the same meeting. Root is from Arcade, and retired in 2005 as superintendent of Potsdam Central School District.

Root was recently interim superintendent at Springville-Griffin Institute Central School District. Root comes to Jamestown with over 30 years of experience in the New York state public education system.

She said one of the first orders of business is to get to know the district, but also start work on the budget. Root said she has made a commitment to the board to ensure a smooth transition. With her experience, she said there isn’t much that will surprise her.

“I will deliver that for the board,” she said.

The board also approved the engagement of David O’Rourke, Erie-2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES as search consultant for the interim superintendent of schools for the district.

In his resignation letter, Mains noted section 28-d of his contract require he give 60 days notice, but asks that the board consider waiving the requirement.

After the board meeting, he said this is not his last board meeting.

“I still have five more weeks,” Mains said. “This is not my last board meeting, and not my last rodeo either.”

When asked how the decision to leave the district came about, Mains said it was a “mutual decision” between the board and himself. The timing of his departure leaves nothing to be explained, he said.

“Things happen sometimes at different times,” Mains said. “So, this is the time.”

He is leaving the Jamestown school district for Pine Bush Central School District, located approximately 90 minutes from New York City in Orange County. Wednesday, the Pine Bush School Board unanimously approved Mains as their new superintendent. Mains said the Pine Bush school district originally approached him about the position.

In the coming weeks, Mains said he will work with Root to ease the transition process. While he will be finished at the Jamestown school district on Feb. 26, Mains said he is not completely leaving the area.

“This is going to continue to be one of our homes,” Mains said. “I have loved being in Jamestown so much that I’m not giving it up. This is going to be one of our homes, not our only home, obviously. This is a great city and a great community – I have been thrilled to work with not just people in the school system, but so many people in the community foundation and the United Way and at the YWCA, the YMCA and as Striders. We have a lot of very positive resources in this community, and I’ve made a lot of friends.”

He said he looks forward to continuing those relationships, renew them and enjoy Chautauqua County in the summer. Mains’ last board meeting will be Feb. 14, he said.

Paul Abbott, Jamestown Board of Education president, said the process wasn’t necessarily started by one party or the other.

“I wouldn’t say it was initiated by anyone – this whole thing has been an ongoing process,” Abbott said. “As from his first day on the job, we’ve always worked in collaboration, the board and Mr. Mains, and this was just a continuation of the relationship that has existed since he came to our district or even before he came to our district.”

He said Mains had the confidence of the board during his tenure, and will help during the transition process.

A separation agreement, authorized during the board meeting, will bring everything from Mains contract to a close, Abbott said.

“That will bring everything to a conclusion just so that there is a clean separation on Feb. 26,” he said.

As for the search for a new superintendent, Abbott said it will begin immediately. However, the board plans on taking the proper amount of time to find the correct candidate for the job, he said. Abbott said he is looking for someone who is a good leader.

“I want someone who doesn’t just fit the criteria on paper,” he said.