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Former Medina school business administrator would welcome chance to come back as superintendent

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2016 at 10:27 am
Photo by Tom Rivers: Stephen Lunden, one of three finalists for Medina school superintendent, speaks during a community forum on Monday.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Stephen Lunden, one of three finalists for Medina school superintendent, speaks during a community forum on Monday.

MEDINA – The school district’s former business administrator, Dr. Stephen Lunden, told a community group he would welcome the chance to come back to Medina as school superintendent.

Lunden is one of three finalists for the district’s top administrator. He worked for Medina from 1998 to 2000, and was part of two capital projects in addition to preparing the school budgets and overseeing the district’s finances.

He has worked the past 10 years in Maryvale, currently as assistant superintendent.

Lunden, his wife and their two daughters have stayed in the Medina community. (Lunden’s oldest daughter Amanda was the class valedictorian in 2016. Rebecca is a sophomore at Medina.)

Lunden started his career as a school business administrator at Holley for about four years before going to Medina, then Starpoint for seven years and the past decade at Maryvale in Cheektowaga.

He said districts face increasing financial pressures to provide programs for students without overburdening the taxpayers. Working at the four school districts has shown him different approaches to school finances, providing programs, community partnerships, working with the Board of Education, and many other issues.

He praised Medina and the late Jeff Evoy, the district’s superintendent until his death on June 23, for boosting student achievement, including gains that took Medina off a list of “Focus” schools in need of improvement.

“Medina has taken steps to get off the list,” Lunden said. “It would be foolish to change some of those structures.”

Evoy also worked with Lyndonville in shared services for athletic and drama programs, an initiative that Lunden said he would strongly support because sharing is good for the districts’ budgets, and also maintains opportunities for students.

Lunden was asked by former Board of Education member Virginia Nicholson if he could fill Evoy’s shoes.

“They are big shoes to fill,” Lunden responded. “I will do my best. I think he was a great person. I have every bit of respect for him and the decisions he made.”

Lunden said his expertise is finances, but he has been part of staff hiring and reviews, and overall planning in academics at Maryvale as assistant superintendent.

While Medina is off the Focus list, some students, particularly those from economically disadvantaged families, continue to lag behind peers in academic achievement. Lunden was asked how he would address that issue.

Lunden said there is no one “golden ticket” that can raise student achievement for everybody. He would rely on the teaching staff of 160 professionals.

“We have to look at each individual student and see what’s going on with the results they have achieved,” Lunden said.

Lunden also met teachers, administrators, staff, students, the the Band Boosters and FFA on Monday.

Today, Dr. Michael Weyrauch, principal at the Orleans-Niagara BOCES in Medina, will meet with district stakeholders throughout the day, including a community forum at 6 p.m. in the district office.

Dr. Aaron Slack, principal of the Lyndonville High School, is also a finalist and will meet with Medina stakeholders on Wednesday, including a community forum at 6 p.m.

The Medina Board of Education hopes to make a decision soon after this week’s forums, with an announcement made perhaps by mid-December. The new superintendent could be in Medina by mid-to-late January, said Clark Godshall, superintendent of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES and leader of the superintendent search for Medina.

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