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EYE ON EDUCATION: LPHS principal will be district’s new business manager

July 12, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer (gkelly@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid High School Principal Dana Wood sat at his computer finishing up work related to the institution's summer school program.

His office was decorated modestly. There are few photos from school trips such as a rafting excursion and a day at Six Flags New England, a mouse pad with images of his children on it and a signed soccer ball from the 2005 season, when Wood led the Saranac Lake High School girls varsity team to state championships.

For the past 23 years, Wood has held multiple positions in the education system - teacher, dean of students, any type of sports coach you can think of, and most recently, principal of LPHS.

Article Photos

Dana Wood
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

In September, Wood will transition from the student-focused side of education to the role of business manager for the Lake Placid Central School District.

"I'm going from a position, and basically the last 23 years, where I've had direct contact on a daily basis with students to a position that is definitely a districtwide position, but more behind the scenes," Wood said.

So what does a business manager do?

A business manager oversees the school district's budget, keeping track of the day-to-day operations in terms of expenditures and cash flow, and attends regular board meetings, where he will provide monthly reports.

"It's basically maintaining that the district is financially sound," Wood said.

Wood will replace Leonard Sauers, who has been the business manager for the past 10-and-a-half years. Sauers announced his leaving this spring.

"It's been a great opportunity to have served as the business manager," Sauers said. "Everything about the school was very positive."

Sauers said he is confident Wood will do a fine job in the position.

"Dana has a wealth of school background," he said. "He's spent most of his career in education, and he knows the school pretty well."

In an email, LPCSD Superintendent Roger Catania said Sauers has done an outstanding job in his time with the district but that he's also excited to have Wood take on the new role.

"As the business team leader, Leonard Sauers will be greatly missed," Catania said. "Leonard is a Certified Public Accountant, and our district has benefited greatly from his excellent financial and accounting skills. He also has a great sense of humor and enjoys coming to work every day, all qualities we will miss.

"Dana is a veteran teacher, coach and principal, who thoroughly understands the student and teacher perspective. I know he will miss his role overseeing the high school, but I also know that he is excited about the change."

Wood is 47 years old, so he's spent nearly half his life in the education system.

"I would have to say it really came down to the interaction and the contact and the joy from working with students," Wood said. "I had great teachers coming through Saranac Lake, and they really instilled in me that desire and passion. When I left high school, I didn't say I wanted to be a teacher, but as I went through college, I realized the impact I had from my teachers and saw that as a great calling. I went that route and haven't regretted it since."

Since starting his career in 1995, Wood has taught classes at both SLHS and North Country Community College. Along with academics, he also coached multiple sports. He said it's easier to ask which sports he didn't coach.

"It's a list: soccer, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, cross country," he said. "I was always willing to step in and coach the sport that might need a coach that season. Even when I was in Saranac Lake, there were a couple of seasons where I coached over here in Lake Placid. You know, they needed a cross country coach one fall, so it did it."

Before Wood took over as LPHS's principal in 2013, the district was going through some rough times, administratively. Integral roles such as guidance counselors and principals were vacant, and there seemed to be a lack of morale among both staff and students.

"When Dr. Catania, myself and the middle school principal [Theresa Lindsay] came on, I think it really brought stability to the district," Wood said. "As a result, I mean, I see great things happening here. I think the teachers are really enjoying what they're doing, and they're willing to try new things. They push the envelope with the student learning and really try to engage the students on a more active level, and the students are responding. They want to be part of the learning process. They just don't want to sit back and be the passive learner. They want to be engaged."

 
 

 

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