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DELMAR: Superintendent to retire

Les Loomis, who came to Bethlehem Central in 1987 and has guided it through a period of significant growth and enhanced academic performance that ranks statewide, will step down at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

Loomis announced his retirement in his welcoming remarks during the district's annual Opening Day events, which kicked off his 21st year as superintendent of the district.

BC has given me the opportunity to do important work -- work that I wouldn't trade for anything, he said. "It has been an honor and a privilege to work with our students, the community and parents, faculty and staff and the board of education for the last two decades. Bethlehem Central is a great school district, and this has been a great place to raise a family."

Loomis holds a doctorate in education and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University, came to Bethlehem from the Andover, Mass., school district, where he was an assistant superintendent. Prior to that, he was principal of Fayetteville-Manlius High School near Syracuse.

During his time in Bethlehem, the district's enrollment grew by nearly 40 percent, and Loomis oversaw the passage of four bond issues -- including the historic $93 million referendum in 2003 -- to accommodate future growth. As part of that 2003 bond act, the district will open its sixth elementary school, Eagle Elementary School, in September 2008.

Under Loomis' management, the district's finances are in good health, as evidenced by Moody's recent continuation of the district's top quality bond rating. Also during his tenure, many new educational initiatives took root, the latest of which is the full-day kindergarten program, set to begin in September 2009.

"There is no job more difficult or important in a school district than the superintendent's job," board of education president James Lytle said. "We have been very fortunate to have two decades of Dr. Loomis' dedicated service. The school district he will leave is even better than the one he found, and that is a credit to his sustained leadership."

Lytle said the first step in the search for the next superintendent, the selection of a consultant to assist in the process, is already under way. Although the details of the search process will not be determined until after the consultant is retained, the board is eager to solicit broad community input in the search for the new superintendent.""

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