Skip to main content


BCSD board extends superintendent contract to 2027

By Press Release


Press Release:

At a meeting on Monday, the Batavia City School District’s Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment to extend Superintendent Jason Smith’s contract through June 2027.

“After a stellar first year leading the Batavia City School District, the Board of Education is thrilled to offer Superintendent Jason Smith a contract extension that will keep him in our District through June 2027, with the option to extend,” said Board of Education President John Marucci. “Consistency, goal setting, long-term planning, and execution are key components to any successful school district, and we’re proud of Jason’s commitment to seeing his vision for Batavia through.”

In exchange for Smith’s long-term commitment to serve the Batavia City School District, the Board granted Smith non-salary benefits, including a $3,000 per year stipend increase should he elect not to enroll in the District’s health insurance plan, a $2,000 per year increase of his 403(b) retirement contribution, as well as compensation for unused vacation and sick days, which will only be received upon his retirement from the District.

“Batavia is my home. Having walked our halls from first grade through senior year, our District has always held a special place in my heart,” said Superintendent Jason Smith. “It was the honor of my career to be offered the position of superintendent here, and I look forward to working with our students, staff, and community to achieve our shared vision of success for years to come. I thank the Board of Education for their trust in me, and I’m proud to see everyone in our educational community coming together for the good of our District. It continues to be a personal and professional honor to serve the Batavia community, families, staff, and students.” 

“The Board of Education, along with the BCSD leadership team, have made a commitment to our District’s vision and strategic plan,” said Board of Education Vice President John Reigle. “The high bar that we’ve set for this District can only be achieved through consistent leadership. I applaud my fellow Board members' commitment to this vision in approving Jason’s contract extension.”    

All terms (with the exception of the health insurance opt-out stipend) of Superintendent Jason Smith’s contract amendment will take effect on July 1, 2023. All other terms and conditions of the agreement remain unchanged, including the option for both the Board of Education and Jason Smith to extend the contract on an annual basis beyond June 2027.

New Batavia City Schools superintendent gets acquainted on first day

By Joanne Beck


It’s trivia time for students at Batavia High School: who is a huge Buffalo Bills fan, an avid reader, a musician, runner and is a Bruce Springsteen fan?

If you were listening to this morning’s announcements, the answer is a no-brainer. Newly hired Superintendent  Jason Smith revealed those recreational activities during an on-air interview from the high school's main office. Smith is also happy to “talk books” of all kinds, listen to classic 1980s rock and roll, play his trombone in some local bands and spend family time watching the fourth season of Cobra Kai.

Aside from his personal passions, Smith is looking forward to returning to BHS as a 1990 graduate. 

“I have always been very proud of Batavia. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with students, and to work with the faculty and staff,” he said. “My drive has gone from 40 minutes to four.”

As the former superintendent of Lyndonville Central School, Smith’s daily travel went north to Orleans County. He was there for the last 10 years, after serving as Elba middle and high school principal, and a teacher in Albion. After graduating from Batavia High School, Smith's college major was history, and he attended both Geneseo and Brockport State College.

According to Board of Education President Alice Benedict, Smith met some key characteristics that community members had sought, including being a hometown resident and not making Batavia a short stop on the way to another district. The board, with direction from Genesee Valley BOCES Superintendent Kevin Macdonald, conducted a search in late 2021 after former Superintendent Anibal Soler announced he was leaving.

 Smith brings with him a lifestyle philosophy he’d like to share with everyone he encounters.

“Going back to when I taught, I always believed in the concept of high expectations,” he said. “Raise the bar, set high goals. It’s our job as the adults to help achieve those high expectations.”

Smith began his career in 1994 in the Albion Central School District as a high school social studies teacher had various principal positions at Elba Central School from 2004 to 2011, and has been at Lyndonville Central from 2011 to present.

He received his Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration and his Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Brockport. He is also a graduate of The State University of New York at Geneseo, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Sociology.

Monday was Smith’s first official day at the city school district. He and Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping had previously reviewed district business, Bischoping said. Smith's first board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Jan. 11 in the high school library. Board meetings will resume on the third Thursday of the month beginning in February. 


Top photo: New Superintendent Jason Smith answers questions during Monday morning announcements at Batavia High School. Above, Smith answers questions during announcements with Student Co-Mayor Mackenzie Harmon and high school Principal Paul Kesler Monday at the high school. Photos by Howard Owens.


Challenging six-month term comes to a close for interim superintendent at this week’s board meeting

By Joanne Beck

After enduring a pandemic, severe building damage due to strong winds, a student’s death, and complaints of unresolved bullying At Batavia City School District, Scott Bischoping’s second time around as interim superintendent is coming to a close.

The district’s Board of Education is expected to vote this week on a reorganizational move to change superintendents effective Jan. 3 of next year.
Bischoping took over the interim role during the summer after former administrator Anibal Soler Jr. announced he was leaving in July. 

The board had recently agreed to hire Jason Smith as the new superintendent, which would make this December board meeting the last one for Bischoping. It’s set to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday in the high school’s library, 260 State St.

Other votes include contracts with Batavia Teachers’ Association, Batavia Agri-Business Child Development Program/ABCD Migrant Head Start, Elba Central School, Batavia Clerical Association, and the city school district’s executive director of Curriculum and Instruction.

BTA’s contract is up in July 2022 and a renewal would extend the agreement until June 30, 2026. The district’s contract with Batavia Agri-Business is for one year, from Feb. 1, 2022, to Jan. 31, 2023, and an agreement with Molly Corey of the Curriculum and Instruction Department would go from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2025.  Elba Central School’s agreement is for a 12:1:1 special needs program. 

The meeting includes time for the public to be heard before a slate of presentations and votes on consent items. 

Director Robert Conrad is to provide an update about Richmond Memorial Library; Kylie Tatarka, a student representative on the board, is to give the student ex-officio report; and Bischoping is to review an update as interim superintendent. 

Budget transfers, grant applications, appointments of new physical education, social studies and substitute teachers are also up for approval, as well as My Brother’s Keeper facilitator; six teacher aides; each of a high and middle school bus supervisor, and an agreement for professional services with Kimberly Gingrich MA/AC and the district for bilingual psycho-educational evaluations and additional social-emotional or adaptive assessments effective retroactive to Nov. 18, 2021.

The meeting will be live-streamed via

Batavia High School alum excited to return as superintendent

By Joanne Beck

Batavia City School District’s newly hired superintendent was chosen, in part, for neatly fitting into some of the criteria suggested by community members during the interview process, Board of Education President Alice Benedict says.

Jason Smith, a 1990 Batavia High School graduate and city resident, will be shortening his commute come Jan. 3, 2022. Smith is currently superintendent of Lyndonville Central School, and was officially approved by the board during a special meeting Monday evening. 

“One of the things we heard from the community was that they really wanted someone who was a hometown person,” Benedict said to The Batavian after Monday’s special meeting. “And that he’s not using the district as a stepping stone. He’s a very straightforward person, we think he’s going to be a big asset and are excited to have him here.”

Smith has worked his way from high school social studies teacher to principal to superintendent in Albion, Elba, Lyndonville, and now Batavia City Schools. His experience and track record spoke loudly to the board, Benedict said, including when he first applied for a vacant superintendent position in Batavia. Competition was fierce, and Anibal Soler Jr. was chosen during that search. Smith returned a second time to interview after Soler left the district in July 2021. 

“We’re happy he came back,” Benedict said. “He’s excited to be back as superintendent at the district where he graduated.”

Smith thanked the board for “entrusting me with this tremendous opportunity.” Batavia is a very special place for him, he said. 

“I look forward to working alongside the incredible and inspiring students, staff, and community members, he said in a news release. “I can’t wait to hit the ground running in the new year.”  

During the meeting, Benedict thanked Genesee Valley BOCES Superintendent Kevin MacDonald for his guidance and help during the search process. She also gave a grateful nod to the board.

“I want to thank the board for their eagerness and patience,” she said, turning to her colleagues. “I appreciate your honesty, opinions, and steadfast aim to find the right superintendent for this school district.”

Scott Bischoping has been filling in as interim superintendent until a permanent choice was made. The process took time, energy, and coordination to involve not only board members, but district and community members as well, Benedict said.

“I’m just relieved the process is over,” she said. 

Smith began his career in 1994 in the Albion Central School District as a high school social studies teacher had various principal positions at Elba Central School from 2004 to 2011, and has been at Lyndonville Central from 2011 to present.

He received his Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration and his Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Brockport. He is also a graduate of The State University of New York at Geneseo, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Sociology.

Smith’s contract includes a yearly salary of $165,000.

Special meeting set to approve new Batavia City Schools superintendent

By Joanne Beck

A newly hired superintendent is expected to be approved by the Batavia City School District’s Board of Education during a special meeting next week.

The meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Batavia High School library, 260 State St., Batavia.       

A brief meeting agenda lists the board vote about a contract agreement between the new superintendent and the city school district. Two interviews whittled down four potential candidates to two, followed by more discussion, Board President Alice Benedict said.

“And we came to a decision,” she said to The Batavian Friday. “Genesee Valley BOCES Superintendet Kevin MacDonald led us through the confidential search. Nothing will be released until the person’s home school district is notified.”

Part of the process included participation of district personnel and the community, she said. They were part of an audio interview with the candidates and provided feedback about what they wanted to see in the district’s next superintendent. 

The appointment is to be announced on Monday, followed by an official vote on the new superintendent's contract, Benedict said. The contract is to begin on Jan. 3, 2022.

Search is on for new superintendent of Batavia City Schools District

By Joanne Beck

Batavia City Schools District board members agreed to continue the search process for a new superintendent during an executive session Thursday, Board President Alice Benedict says. While she couldn’t discuss specific names or details of the session, Benedict confirmed that there are some worthy candidates to consider.

“We are now in the process of setting up interviews with candidates,” she said Saturday to the Batavian. “There will be three opportunities for the community and staff to let us know if they’re interested (in meeting with candidates). They have to send an email to get a link for Zoom.”

The virtual meetings will be announced toward the end of September, with interviews expected to begin in October, she said. A number “less than half a dozen” expressed interest in the position and meet all of the requirements, she said. That is why the district has not yet put out a general open application.

“They are all qualified,” she said.

The superintendent position became vacant this summer when Anibal Soler Jr. announced he was leaving for another job in Schenectady. Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping has temporarily taken on the role.

More information is to be available soon at 

Elba Jr./Sr. High principal 'humbled and excited' to be chosen district superintendent

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

On Tuesday, the Elba Central School District’s Board of Education (BOE) announced it has named Gretchen Rosales as the district’s next superintendent. Rosales is expected to begin in her new post mid-August.  

“I am thrilled to continue my service to the Elba Central School District in the new role of Superintendent," Rosales said. "I feel a great responsibility to the school and community, as my roots are here.

"I am looking forward to collaborating with other schools in the area to further the needs of rural schools, while focusing on the traditions of the Elba community. Now is an exceptional time to be a leader in education; I am humbled and excited to take on this position."

School Board President Michael Augello said Rosales possesses the key qualities that the board is seeking in a superintendent. 

“As a visible and engaged leader, we are confident that Gretchen Rosales is the best choice for our district. We look forward to working with Gretchen as we deliver the best education possible for our students,” Augello said. 

Rosales is the principal of Elba Junior/Senior High School, a position she has held since 2019. Previously, she was the assistant principal of Alexander Middle/High School. From 2015-2017, she served as an instructional support specialist and middle school department chair at the Kendall Central schools.

Rosales began her career in education in 1998 as an English as a Second Language Teaching Assistant/Long-term Spanish Substitute for Elba Central schools. Her teaching experience is extensive in both the private and public-school systems.

Along with teaching at Elba Central Schools, she has taught at St. Anthony’s School, El Campo High School in Texas, and Kendall Central Schools. Rosales also taught at the college level and was an adjunct instructor at Genesee Community College.

Her specialized training includes restorative practices in instruction and discipline, and creating inclusive schools and trauma-informed teaching.

Rosales has many honors and awards including as the two-time recipient of the Kendall Junior/Senior High School Teacher of the Year Award. She earned the HEB Excellence in Education Award while teaching in Texas. 

Rosales earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, as well as, a Master of Science in Spanish and Secondary Education from SUNY Geneseo. She holds two Master of Science degrees from SUNY Stony Brook, one in Higher Education Administration and another in Educational Leadership and Administration. She holds New York State Certifications in Spanish 7-12 and as a School District Administrator. Rosales also earned her teaching certifications in Texas in Spanish 6-12 and English as a Second Language K-12. 

Kevin MacDonald, District superintendent of Genesee Valley BOCES, acted as the search consultant and noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education, district staff and community.

Pavilion Central School District trustees choose new superintendent

By Press Release

Submitted photo and press release:

The Pavilion Central School District’s Board of Education has selected Mary Kate Hoffman as the district’s next Superintendent. Hoffman will be appointed pending successful contract negotiations.

“The board is confident that Mary Kate Hoffman will lead our district as we work together to deliver the best education possible for our students," said Marirose Ethington, Pavilion Central School District’s Board president. "Our search process narrowed the field to three excellent candidates.

"We value all of the input from our stakeholders. With her dedication, enthusiasm, and knowledge, our board feels that Mary Kate has the educational capacity and attributes to move us forward.” 

Hoffman is the principal of York Elementary School located in Retsof, a hamlet in the Town of York in Livingston County. She has 11 years of educational leadership experience including serving as the Assistant Secondary Principal, Interim Principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Pavilion Central Schools.

Hoffman began her career in education in 1995 as a second-grade teacher at Pavilion Elementary School. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from SUNY College at Fredonia, and a Master of Science in Education from SUNY College at Geneseo. She earned a certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from SUNY College at Brockport. 

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve the Pavilion Central School District as Superintendent," Hoffman said. "I look forward to working with the students, staff, Board of Education, and community to carry on the traditions of academic excellence and community pride. I am excited to make new connections, renew old friendships, and return to the place where my career began.” 

Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley BOCES, acted as the search consultant and noted that the search process was a true collaboration between the Board of Education and stakeholders who served on the interview committee.

About Genesee Valley BOCES

It operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

Le Roy superintendent settles into new position

By Maria Pericozzi


Merritt Holly, a Le Roy resident since 2009, never thought he wanted to go into administration. In the beginning of April, Holly started as the superintendent of the Le Roy Central School District.  

“I’m very humble to be in a position like this, to represent teachers, students and staff here at Le Roy,” Holly said.

After a month and a half in his position, Holly said he has not seen any negatives to his job as superintendent.

“Everyone has been so supportive, from inside here and in this community. They’ve been so supportive and I can’t be thankful enough,” Holly said. “You need that in order to be successful running a school district.”

Holly was a graduate of Pavilion High School in 1992 and went to Genesee Community College, later transferring into SUNY Brockport.

Holly’s teaching career began in 1999 when he was hired out of college as a Global Studies teacher at Oakfield-Alabama Central School District and coached varsity basketball. In January 2007, he was asked by the superintendent to carry out the rest of the year as the dean of students.

“I never thought I wanted to go into administration but it was a good opportunity to try it out and see if I liked it,” Holly said.

Holly stayed on to be the dean of students for the 2007-2008 school year and started taking classes for an administrative degree.

In 2008, Holly started as the middle school principal, making an impact for Oakfield-Alabama students in grades six through eight.

Before becoming superintendent of Le Roy Central School District, Holly served as principal of Caledonia-Mumford High School since 2011.

“I’ve worked with great leaders,” Holly said. “I’ve had a chance to learn under a lot of good people. I’ve had the chance to be involved in some great staffs at [Oakfield-Alabama] and [Caledonia-Mumford High School].”

Le Roy Junior-Senior High School is ranked in the top 10.3 percent in the country, earning a Silver Medal, according to U.S. News & World Report magazine's ranking of the Best High Schools.

Holly said he has been impressed with what Le Roy offers its students and the passion for the programs.

“Not only do we have strong academics, but if you look at what we’re doing with extracurricular [activities] and you’ve got a perfect scenario for kids to thrive with and be successful,” Holly said.  

Holly said that many students are coming in to rural area schools with a variety of needs and issues. One of his goals as superintendent is to look at how to best help those students.

“I think the whole group instruction concept that I was a part of as a student is not going to work in this day and age right now,” Holly said. “We have to think in a differentiation type of way that we have to meet our kids at their level.”

Holly said that it does not mean to lower standards and expect less from students.

“I think kids come in with a keen skill set that I don’t think I had when I was their age,” Holly said. “I think that kids aren’t changing in the sense of the academics, I think we have to adjust to what their interests are, different from where they were five to 10 years ago.”

Tim McArdle, the principal of Le Roy High School, said he has worked closely with Holly as neighboring principals over the years.

“To have him now on our team has been tremendous,” McArdle said. “It has been awesome seeing him start every day in our bus loop, greeting our students as they enter the building. He is a very caring and genuine person who wants nothing but the best for this community.”

McArdle said Holly’s transition into his new position was smooth. Prior to starting as superintendent, Holly was able to spend multiple days visiting and meeting informally with staff and students. McArdle said it allowed Holly to hit the ground running from day one.

“[Holly’s] presence has been felt from the bus loop, to the classroom, to the extracurricular events,” McArdle said. “He truly understands the importance of being visible and supporting our Knights.”

Authentically Local