Half-way through her first year at the helm of Conneaut School District, Wendy Szallay will officially become Crawford County’s senior superintendent of schools.

Michael Dolecki of Crawford Central School District and Richard Borchilo of PENNCREST School District have both announced plans to retire on June 30, 2010; Szallay became Conneaut’s superintendent on Dec. 1 following the Nov. 30 retirement of Richard Rossi.

In a Christmas greeting to employees of Crawford Central School District, Dolecki announced Tuesday that he plans to retire when his current contract expires. Formal action on his request will be on the agenda when Crawford Central School Board meets in January.

Superintendent Richard Borchilo’s request for retirement was accepted by members of PENNCREST School Board in November. Plans for selecting a replacement have not been announced.

Dolecki said Tuesday afternoon that he has notified the board of his decision. “After 35 years in education, it’s time to move on,” he said.

“Mike has been a long-standing, faithful, hardworking, dedicated superintendent and I wish him nothing but the very best,” Jan VanTuil, president of Crawford Central School Board, said Tuesday. “The board will need to meet and discuss future plans — no plans are made yet.”

Dolecki, 57, has been with Crawford Central since Nov. 29, 1994, when he joined the district as assistant superintendent. In July 2001, he became acting superintendent immediately following the retirement of long-time superintendent James LaScola. The following November, he was named superintendent following a nationwide search.

“The fact that we went five feet down the hall ... after going all over the country, isn’t as strange as it may at first seem,” then-president Rob Smith said at the time. “Stacked up against what we saw, he looked better and better.”

When Dolecki was named superintendent, efforts to fund and build a replacement for Meadville Area Senior High School’s aging football stadium were still in the planning stage. Today, a revamped Bender Field is part of a major sports complex.

One of Dolecki’s first orders of business as a new superintendent was the creation of a three-to-five-year building plan that focused attention on the district’s elementary-level facilities. Eight and a half years later, four of the district’s six elementary schools are under construction and the remaining two projects have been placed on temporary hold pending completion of First District and Second District elementary schools.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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