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Third Building Principal Leaving Oswego District 308

Jeff Modaff will take over as principal at Grace McWayne Elementary School in Batavia.

Another administrator is leaving .

Jeff Modaff, principal at the Brokaw Early Learning Center, has accepted a position as principal at Batavia School District 101’s Grace McWayne Elementary School, according to a news release from District 308. His first day on the job will be July 1.

Modaff, who grew up in Wheaton, started in District 308 in 2008 when he was hired as an assistant principal at Wolf’s Crossing Elementary School. He took over the top spot at Brokaw in 2009.

According to the district, “Modaff worked to expand the early learning program by opening up the school to District 308 students on a tuition-basis, increasing enrollment at the center to approximately 500 students.”

“Jeff has done an outstanding job for our school district,” said Dan O’Donnell, District 308 superintendent. “Through a great deal of compassion and understanding he leads our youngest students through their incredibly important first years of education. It is obvious how much he cares for his students, and in return, how much they care for him. Jeff will be dearly missed by our preschool students, parents and administrative team.”

In addition to several district administration officials, Modaff is the third building principal to leave District 308 in recent months. both handed in their resignations in April. 

Richard Saunders May 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Jeff's leadership and spirit will be sorely missed at Brokaw, best of luck to you in Batavia!
Maryz May 23, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Wow Jane. Has it possibly occurred to you that there might be a reason other than money for some of the staff that are leaving to move on? I'm certain that the families and staff of the schools where these Principals are leaving are not dismissing it with an -EH. Many of the children and families in these schools have been directly impacted by the concern, leadership and kindness of their Principals. I feel sorry that you have not been lucky enough to have such a Principal in the lives of your children.
Katra Knoernschild May 23, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Agreed.
gater May 23, 2012 at 09:10 PM
iam sure there are houses for sale in his new dist .good luck in his new job
Jane Enviere May 23, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Gee Maryz - my point is that people leave for career advancement, including compensation increases all.the.time. Big deal. I have far more concern with the teacher in my classroom than the principal. Never said he wasn't a good principal. If you read what I wrote - I wished him best of luck. Everything isn't the sky is falling around here. lol The world will keep spinning and he sounds like he found a great opportunity. Good for him! That's always exciting for people!
Jane Enviere May 23, 2012 at 09:17 PM
LOL! And Batavia is a great community! Very nice area over there!
Maryz May 23, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Jane, You have repeatedly commented that quality people are leaving this district looking for career advancement, more money, etc. When given differing facts you called it gossip and hearsay. I have not idea why Mr. Modaff is leaving but the recent exodus from the district is concerning if not a sky is falling moment. I didn't imply that Mr. Modaff was not a good Principal. I said that you must never had had the opportunity to have your children in a school where the Principal brought strong leadership above and beyond. If you had you would be hard pressed to comment with EH. I have found that good teachers can be made even better with a great Principal.
Walt Hines May 23, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Agreed Jane, Batavia is a wonderful community and one that's not part of a sinking ship community. We can scream and yell till we have no more voice but that doesn't change the facts. This district is in serious trouble and you can turn a blind eye to think that it's not. We're under water on every level and these people know that. You tell me that you wouldn't jump if you saw the tidal wave coming. They have an opportunity to make more and have job security, why wouldn't they leave. Doom and Gloom, you're darn right because that's the direction we've already gone. We haven't seen anything yet, wait until we have to file bankruptcy that's when our problems will begin. Does anyone know if we're still on the states watch list, my realtor says yes?
Travis McGee May 23, 2012 at 10:05 PM
And, given our current BOE's track record of paying up for adminstrator replacements, the BOE will probably replace him with someone being paid a six-figure salary. Seems to me that the School District Administrator headhunters have found District 308 to be a pretty fertile ground for recruitment.
John Spasojevich May 24, 2012 at 02:02 AM
People don't always leave for $$. We lost Matt Rich at Boulder Hill 4 years ago when his contract expired not for money but because of friction between he and Dr. Behlow and others higher up. He was one of the first "young" principals and some of his ideas were not met with enthusiasm by senior teachers. Some of them left, some of them stuck around and he was loved by the kids. Our old finance assistant superintendent also went to Batavia. They have money, their district is pretty much built out and stable, 308 isn't. $$ seem to be the stated reason, but usually there is more, that's the part we don't hear about
Chrissy Stadel Schultz May 24, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Jane, do you have kids in 308? Your comments always leave me to think you must not. Eh.... What do I care? A principal can be hired anytime, but a GREAT principal is a treasure. I know as we are losing ours.
Jane Enviere May 24, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I do, thanks for asking. : ) What exactly does running around with our hands to our head crying about every single departure do for my children? Does it make their classroom experience better? Of course it doesn't. The sky isn't falling. School will open again in August. Life will go on. Hopefully these folks enjoy their new opportunities and the openings will be filled by people who are interested in a change for their own reasons, too. All these respected administrators were new hires once, too. : ) I have other things to worry about than administrators doing what is fairly common these days - making a change to further their career. I guess we've been doing in the private sector since, well, just about forever! The district is a hot mess, that's not new and it didn't happen since the last BOE election. I agree with Walt, there are probably some good reasons to look elsewhere. I'd say the acrimonious fractures in our community might be a reason. It probably isn't the most pleasant place to work. I don't see that changing for years. No matter who sits on the BOE. As they have likely learned, in politics, somebody is always going to be pi**ed off and they are usually the loudest. lol I agree with John on the point that we won't hear about the thought process that went into their decisions to leave. I attribute that to admirable discretion and professionalism. Something that all workplaces could use more of these days. Kudos to them!
Richard R May 24, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Ha haha Richard I was thinking the same thing
Bob Fagust May 24, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Good Luck Mr. Modaff. Our daughter is better off because if your caring and compassion. This is a HUGE LOSS for District 308!
Bob Fagust May 24, 2012 at 05:23 AM
Good Luck Mr. Modaff. Our daughter is better off because of your caring and compassion. This is a HUGE LOSS for District 308!
mike ellison May 24, 2012 at 06:15 AM
There's really a problem with whomever is doing the hiring of some of these top positions. That at least includes the search firms that have been used in the past. It's unusual for so many of these employees to be leaving so soon for a higher salary. That's especially true in this tough real estate market where many of them are likely to be taking a loss on the sale of their house. Nothing wrong with someone wanting more money for their position. But if that's their main goal then the District shouldn't be hiring them. It will always be a revolving door. They need to hire from within the community so that they get staff who enjoy living here and are less likely to leave at the drop of a hat when they are offered more money. It's generally a bad idea to be filling these top positions with people outside the community who have no such attachments.
Larry Martinez May 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM
John, I agree - money is of course a big factor and no matter how invested in the community a principal may be, when building leaders leave at the rate we're losing them now, there's almost always something behind it besides mere dollars. Some here seem to be implying that there is some sort of disloyalty in someone leaving a good job for a better one. I don't see that, I see a number of good leaders, and honestly some not so great leaders leaving the district at this particular time because of the chaos reigning at the top.
Sheila Raddatz May 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Wow. Mr. Modaff sounds like a great leader and role model for the kids.
Dennis May 24, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Oh.. but it's 'all about the kids' ... right? Gimme a break..
Oswego Resident May 24, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Its always the dinosaurs at the top that ruin it for everyone else because they dont care and are not open to the new and improved ideas of the new generation. The evidence is clear that younger people can bring so much to the table and be successful because they are not jaded like their seniors. Evidence shows that to be true especially with young mayors who have turned failing citys into prosperous thriving communitys. I think we as a community should be able to have some say as to whom we choose to run our schools and drive out the corrupt people. I want someone who cares about our children and their futures not someone who cares about politics!
Julie DiCaro May 24, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Unfortunately, all our kids will still be sitting in the classroom.
Katra Knoernschild May 24, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Jeff Modaff was my son's Principal. At Tuesday's graduation, in classic Mr. Jeff style, he read a Dr. Seuss story, modified just for the kids, meant to prepare them as they move on. It was just one more example of his hands-on leadership style. I recognize that he is moving on to a well earned position. I'm just disheartened to see that he wasn't able to remain within our own district, where his leadership and guidance would have continued to benefit our students, families and staff. Congrats to Batavia, you are gaining a real Superfriend in Mr. Modaff.
John Spasojevich May 24, 2012 at 09:52 PM
@Larry...I think one of the reasons it's so shocking to think someone would leave this glorious district for a higher paying one is that they always say "I'm here for the kids" to me that implies if I'm making $60K and can move on for say $70K I'd probably stay put IF I'm truely here for the kids. Now, if I'm offered say $90K for the same job...well kids are kids in Batavia too right! There's so much crap that goes on around here it's nuts and I'm surprised at how many people just don't seem to catch it. Remember a couple years ago when the assistant superintendents led by Colvin moaned and groaned about having to pay 10% of their own health costs? Does anyone on the Patch pay 10% or less? Gimme a break! Then they made a big deal about how they had "volunteered" to take a pay freeze and made that a presentation at a Board meeting....HELLO..... the Board was going to freeze their pay at that meeting anyway....just posturing to make them look like heros and the public buys it. People, if you are the type of parent who puts your kid on the bus and then picks them up at the end of the day, and do nothing else. You had best take the blindfold off and that applies in ANY school district.
John Spasojevich May 24, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Mike, I understand your comments. Perhaps it would benefit them to look at the student teachers who come to the district. Also not hiring a Superintendent who is retired from another would be a good idea, if nothing else that person has put in their time, so enjoy retirement! On the other hand, you can end up with kids teaching kids, and at some levels that can be a problem. You need a good mix and generally we have a lot of senior teachers, it's the administration that seems to flow through the door. As we know, there is no money in teaching...it's all in administration. Too much money. The school principals should set the tone for their school and I don't believe it can be a single unified tone sent down from on high as each school has unique issues from the facility to the youngest student. Let the principal do his job and work with the teachers as a unit to achieve the goal of educating the kids. The central administration should give the tools they need without micromanaging. The Board is elected by the people to keep a hand on things to make sure we don't throw money at stupid things. In general, given these statements, it's obvious that this district is fouled up and has been fouled up for some time.
Chrissy Stadel Schultz May 25, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Very well,put Kara, I agree! They have earned and deserve the new positions, we are sad to lose the great ones!
Paul L. May 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Did we offer to match the Batavia amount? Given the complaining about all the increases in salary to administrators (and yes, he's one too), would the D308 community be open to this? Do we just match and spend to keep people happy and keep them in district or let the market dictate. All one has to do is decide, if I can earn more somewhere else doing the same job, why would I not want to work there if I could.
gater May 25, 2012 at 02:27 PM
when you have a teacher at boulder hill making 100k a year am i going to feel sorry for teachers NO
Margie Hartigan May 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
As a parent of a former Brokaw student who was there for 2 years with Mr. Modaff, and I myself was on the HSA during that time as well, I can say that Mr. Modaff is a wonderful, hands-on Principal who cared about EVERY single student in the building. He has truly made a difference in the school by bringing in new grant funding that they had never had before, opening the program to include tuition-based students, starting a hearing impaired and bilingual program, and so much more. He will be greatly missed and his departure is another great loss for our district. Good luck to you Jeff! Batavia is getting a really great Principal!
John Spasojevich May 26, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I know several teachers in 308 and believe me they don't start at 100K. To get to that level you need time in service ( years ) and better than a Bachelors degree which means they had to go back to school to earn a masters. Going to school while working is difficult at best, even with time off in the summer you can't do it quickly that and the cost of earning that advanced degree, I think they have earned it. I spent 3 years running a twice a month after school club at BH some years ago, believe me I wouldn't do it full time for 100K let alone starting base pay.
JMH May 30, 2012 at 05:55 PM
why not just hire joanne hedemann back?

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