New Administration at ECS
District Starts New Year w/New HS Principal & Superintendent
Story and Photo By John Thomas
Every school year begins with new faces: new students, new teachers. But this year at ECS the school year begins with some new administrators as well. With last year’s retirement of Superintendent Mark Ward, former High School Principal Robert Miller has taken over the position of ECS Superintendent. The vacancy left by Mr. Miller has been filled by Eric Plotz as High School Principal. There are some changes as well within the school itself, including new phone and security systems. Mr. Miller says the new phone system will allow them to have better communication with students and the community. The security system includes new cameras, and will assure ECS is safer for students and teachers.
The first thing Robert Miller, the new Superintendent, wanted to make clear is the sense of indebtedness he feels toward retired Superintendent Mark Ward. Mr. Miller says Mr. Ward left the district “in great shape both financially and academically.” Miller added that it had been a “privilege to work with Mark for the past nine years and that over that time I was able to learn so many valuable skills from him, about being an educational leader in a school district.” Having been High School Principal for 12 years gave him the opportunity to observe the Superintendent’s position. But now Miller says he’s learning the details of the job, including budgets. Among some of the challenges will be the new state version of ELA (English Language Arts) and Math standards for the students. It will take time to incorporate the new standards into the curriculum and then design the tests to be sure students are absorbing the material. Miller says, “It will take time to determine the best course of action and roll out the process over time.” Also, the testing period for grades three through eight has been shortened from three days to two. He feels the teachers and staff are up to the challenges. “I have 100% confidence in the staff. They’re great people, and they’ll get the job done.”
When it comes to his job, Mr. Miller says he is up to the challenge. He points out, with his office in the building, the kids see him daily, “I want the students to know where I am, and that I am here for them and their education.” Mostly, he says his job is to “make sure the teachers have what they need to do their job.” In summation, he says with an obvious note of pride, “We have a great staff and great facilities, and I look forward to continuing our tradition of excellence.”
New this year is High School Principal Eric Plotz. For the past two years, he was principal at North Collins High School. “This is not my first rodeo,” he points out. At an assembly for the high school students on the first day of classes, he pointed to the school’s high academic standards. He encouraged students to apply themselves to their education. Sitting in his office at the school, it’s easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm for his new position. “Our staff is second to none,” he tells me. He goes on to say he feels this is “the beginning of a great school year.” A resident of Ellicottville, he says, “Living in Ellicottville makes this the perfect job.” With that, he left his office and went out to the hallway to encourage students some more.