NCN Online Archives

Panas Will Retire As Lakeland Superintendent

Walter Panas, head of the Lakeland School District for 16 years and an educator in the Lakeland area for 35 years, announced his retirement at last week's meeting of the school board.

The resignation will become effective January 1, 1969-more than a year from now-if it is accepted by the board.

The board learned of Mr. Panas' decision only three hours before the start of the meeting. As of Tuesday, there have been no meetings, informal or otherwise to consider a possible successor to Mr. Panas.

However, several members of the school board are known to look favorable on Dr. Frank Eckelt, currently assistant superintendent, as Mr. Panas;' heir apparent and he unquestionably has an inside track on the position at this stage.

Mr. Panas association with Lakeland started in 1933 as a Mathematics and Civics teacher in Shrub Oak. In 1943 he became principal of the Shrub Oak School.

After consolidation of the Lakeland District in 1951 he was named district principal. Tow years ago he was made district superintendent when Lakeland became the First Supervisory District.

During Mr. Panas' years with the district it has grown from a school population of 937 pupils to its present 7,045 pupils.

Mrs. Panas is 58 years old. He has been eligible for retirement for the past three years.

In making the announcement before an audience of 50 at the Van Cortlandtville Elementary School last Thursday, Mr. Panas....

...difficult one to make" but expressed the wish "to enjoy my retirement."

He praised the people in Lakeland as deserving a great deal of credit for the "sacrifices" they have been willing to make for quality education.

He characterized the community as one with complex problems. "It is a community in flux with 8.5 per cent growth reported last year. I think it will continue. I think my successor will be able to handle the problems equally as well."

Board president Daniel Fried spoke with sadness and regret upon receiving Mr. Panas' resignation. He praised the superintendent for his understanding and compassion of the community and its problems as well as his unselfish efforts to make Lakeland one of the outstanding school districts in the state.

Personal tributes from each of the board members made mention of Mr. Panas foresight, his dedication and his role as the guiding force behind the development of the Lakeland School District.

Budget battles and the agonies of Lakeland's growing pains have marked the long career of the superintendent. And his final years of service to the district will probably be more the same-announcement of the proposed schedule for referendum of the new high school was also made t the Thursday night meeting.

Voting on the bond issue was set for February. Registration will be Saturday, January 20, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A public hearing on the issue will be held on January 18.

On November 9, there will be a public discussion of the report of the Joint Board and Citizens Committee for High School Needs. According to board President Fried who issued the public invitation, the considerations involved in the decision to build a 1,500-pupil high school will be discussed. A. F. Underhill of the architectural firm of Fudge, Underhill and Battoglia will be present.

Source: "Panas Will Retire As Lakeland Superintendent," The Yorktowner, Vol. 2 No. 3, November 2, 1967

Return to the North County News Online Archives