Retirement Effective June 2017
In a letter dated January 6, 2017, ECS Superintendent Mark Ward informed school Board President Carl Calarco of his intentions to retire at the end of this school year. Ward presented his intentions to the Board meeting last Tuesday evening.
“It is almost inconceivable for me to imagine that my professional career will have spanned forty-two years, with thirty-three and one half of them spent in Ellicottville!” said Ward in his letter.
January 6, 2017
Mr. Carl Calarco, President
Ellicottville Central School Board of Education
5873 Route 219
Ellicottville, NY 14731
I would like to inform you of my intentions to resign as the Ellicottville Central School Superintendent effective June 30, 2017 for retirement purposes. Thank you for having the faith and trust to allow me to guide this very “special school” that has been such a big part of my life. It has truly been a great journey and I am proud of what we have accomplished together as a Board, school district, staff and community.
Where has the time gone? It is hard to imagine that over fifty years of my life has been associated with the Ellicottville Central School as a student, teacher, coach, athletic director, parent, principal, and Superintendent! Clearly, my involvement with the school has been more than a job or career, next to my wife and family it has been the focus of my life. I have been very fortunate to work at something that I loved to do and it never seemed like a job.
When I graduated from Ellicottville in 1971 there was no way I ever could have imagined what was ahead! When I came back in 1975 as a social studies teacher it was a “challenge” being back in the halls and classrooms that, not so long ago, I traveled as a student. It seemed so different being around my former teachers, struggling at times to call some of them by their first names. Students similarly had a hard time calling be Mr. Ward!
Working here provided me an opportunity to stay in the Ellicottville/Great Valley area near my family. It also allowed me to grow and mature as a teacher, to coach a variety of sports, remain an active member of the community and have the chance to develop my leadership and administrative skills. This community, school and most importantly my wife Barb gave me the opportunity to stay here to pursue my dreams.
It has been a pleasure working with a team of educators who are focused on student achievement and continuous improvement as an organization. I have had the opportunity to work with many great teachers, administrators, Board members and staff members who have helped me to become a better person. When we talk about the “Ellicottville family” … it truly is a family that takes care of each other. Whether it is a birthday, sickness, special fundraiser, celebration or a personal tragedy; the school can always be counted on to be there. Being a part of something like that makes you proud.
As I reflect on my career, there are several things that come to mind. Having the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the students and families is something I will never forget. Seeing our student achievement and success continue to rise when compared to other schools in WNY brings a sense of pride and satisfaction. Certainly, the new multi-purpose gym and performing arts project is a source of pride and satisfaction for me because it will continue to serve our students and benefit our community for generations to come.
However, in the end, I think the one thing that I am most proud of is the great teachers I have had the opportunity to be part of hiring! The key to teaching and learning has been and will always be the person in the classroom. That is why hiring the right people is so important! Every day those people confirm that I have made many good decisions! I also have the same sense of satisfaction with the many wonderful support staff employees that serve our students.
So, as I approach my third and final time to leave ECS, I am excited about what the future holds as I ready for the next chapter of my life. It is amazing how fast the time has gone but I have many great memories, lasting friendships and unique experiences I will take with me for the rest of my life. It is almost inconceivable for me to imagine that my professional career will have spanned forty two years with thirty three and one half of them spent in Ellicottville! It has been a privilege and an honor to serve this school and community for the past nine years as Superintendent. Dreams really do come true!
Mark J. Ward