Johnstown Independent

Bawn retiring as J-M superintendent


As the neighboring Northridge Local School District welcomes a new superintendent, Johnstown-Monroe soon will lose one.

Damien Bawn, who has been Johnstown-Monroe's superintendent since 2007, is retiring at the end of February.

Bawn issued a letter of resignation to school board president Roger Montgomery on Jan. 21.

"I start this letter once more stating how incredibly extraordinary my experience with the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District has been," he said. "Before coming to Johnstown, I admired the tenacity of the staff and the lasting value of the noble work they accomplish, from the vantage point of serving in a neighboring school district. I deeply appreciate having been blessed beyond measure to serve among this truly remarkable assemblage of dedicated, caring educators and support staff. It has been a most singular honor.

Bawn described the staff as a "dream team," saying educators function toward synergy of purpose, remaining focused on assuring the realization of every possible opportunity supporting highly effective and satisfying lives, for every one of our children, for our community, and for our future."

The letter continues: "Now, with heavy heart and great sadness, I come to inform you that certain of life's conditions meet at this time to indicate that my part in the effort referenced above must conclude soon. To that purpose, please be informed that it is my intention to retire, effective as of the close of business on February 28, 2013.

Board member John Davis II, who announced his resignation from the board last week, said Bawn's would be big shoes to fill.

"It's going to be very hard to replace Mr. Bawn," Davis said. "We've been through some tough times together."

Davis said Bawn has done "a nice job of keeping the district fiscally solvent," and he helped the district achieve an "Excellent with Distinction" grade on the state's report card.

Davis said he expects that the district would not be able to hire a permanent replacement by Feb. 28 and an interim superintendent likely would be hired following Bawn's departure.

The interim could be on board until summer, Davis said, but he wouldn't predict an interim's tenure. He said Bawn would be missed and that he doubts Bawn has reached the end of his career.

"I wish him well," Davis said. "I don't believe he'll be retired for long."