Medina Journal-Register — After five years the Lyndonville Board of Education has a new president.
Theodore Lewis will lead the board during the 2013-2014 school year, winning the position by a five to four vote. Christina Feldman will be the vice president.
Lewis replaces Ed Urbanik, who stepped back from his role as board president. Urbanik said a personal situation led to him deciding to scale back, but with only one year left on his term on the board he said that could prove to be beneficial.
“It’s good for any leader who steps down to still be there, and this way I can help and assist in any way I can,” Urbanik said.
Urbanik and his family have lived in Lyndonville for more than 25 years, and his three children graduated from Lyndonville Central School. During his time on the board, Urbanik said he was proud of being part of the team that helped usher in an era of financial stability to the district.
Lyndonville Superintendent Jason Smith said Urbanik “brought a strong sense of leadership” to his presidency.
“He worked well with all board members and he was always able to see the big picture,” Smith said.
The tenure of Urbanik’s board presidency provided “stable leadership” that was “student centric and school centric,” Smith noted.
“He was not afraid to make tough decisions,” Smith added, mentioning how Urbanik was a proponent of Lyndonville’s current shard services arrangement with the Medina Central School District.
“He was very sharp regarding finances and had a real sense of fiscal responsibility,” Smith said, “and he made sure students had every possible opportunity in the most cost effective way.”
Urbanik pointed to some of that “cost effectiveness” as one of the things he was most proud of during his time as board president.
“The school has built up its financial reserves and improved the quality of education,” he said. “We worked with a good administration and there’s a good team in place now.”
As Lyndonville’s enrollment declined, Urbanik said he took pride in the board’s efforts and work in dealing with the ever-present changes.
“We made the adjustments necessary with our declining enrollment and made it work,” he said. “We made cuts and consolidated where we needed.” The end result left him with a feeling of satisfaction.
“We have a beautiful school that’s well maintained, and we have strong leadership among the administration and the teachers,” he said. “There’s a lot to be proud of.”
Regarding his successor as board president, Urbanik said Lewis is a good man who will lead the board well.
However, Urbanik noted he was surprised that Lewis won the seat.
“I though the natural progression would be for the vice president to move up to president,” he said, referring to Feldman, who had served as vice president and will continue to do so.
“I’m just surprised that the past leadership wasn’t supported considering the successes of the school,” Urbanik added.
Lewis did not disagree.
“I was interested in board leadership, but I thought it would be a the vice president level,” he said. “To be elected president was a mild surprise.”
Lewis praised the state of the board under Urbanik. “My gratitude goes to Ed and Tina. They’ve very important people still on the board.”
Lewis said the mutual respect among the board members is evident. “We’re a very solid group and we share the same vision,” he said. As a rural district, he said Lyndonville will continue to face challenges. But, he said the board will be ready.
“We want to continue getting better…and I think we’re on the right path,” he said.