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Jeff-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Jack J. Boak announces retirement plans

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Jack J. Boak, a 44-year educator and well-regarded superintendent of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, has announced he will retire July 3.

“I don’t want any big deal made about me,” Mr. Boak said. “I have two beautiful granddaughters in New Jersey, and even though I love this work — it’s really a calling — I think it’s time I focus on my family.”

Colleagues praised him for his experience and guidance. Mr. Boak worked for BOCES for 31 years.

“He’s been a part of the fabric that is our BOCES program for so long it’s going to be hard to see him leave,” Sackets Harbor Central Superintendent Frederick E. Hall Jr. said. “He’s such a great guy. He will be sorely missed.”

Mr. Boak began his career in education at the Holland Patent Central School District in Oneida County as a high school English teacher. He said his transition to school administration happened seamlessly. In 1983 he began working for Jefferson-Lewis BOCES as assistant superintendent for programs and clerk of the board. In 2001 he became deputy superintendent, and he was selected to lead the organization as district superintendent in 2003.

In addition to his responsibilities in Jefferson-Lewis BOCES, Mr. Boak served simultaneously one year as interim superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and another year as head of Oswego County BOCES.

Mr. Boak said he is proud of the collaborative work between his board and local school districts in meeting student needs.

“The folks I’ve worked with here are very student oriented,” Mr. Boak said. “Through all of the difficult decisions they’ve had to make over the years, they have always kept an eye on what’s important to the students.”

LaFargeville Superintendent Travis W. Hoover said Mr. Boak’s penchant for deflecting attention or praise reflects the sort of leader he has always been.

“His attitude is an example of what made him a great leader,” Mr. Hoover said.

The first-year superintendent said it was under Mr. Boak’s guidance that he has gotten the most out of his new position.

“He’s been very helpful for me; I couldn’t imagine having started this year without him,” Mr. Hoover said. Anytime he had a question or needed anything, Mr. Hooper said, he could always rely on Mr. Boak.

“I think he’s the voice of experience in this region for a lot of educators,” Mr. Hooper said. “Absolutely it’s going to be hard to replace that time; you can’t replace experience.”

Mr. Boak privately announced his intent to retire to the board in September. The announcement to the public was delayed so a thorough investigation of the needs of BOCES could be conducted before the position is advertised, Mr. Boak said.

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. has appointed St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Thomas R. Burns to conduct the search for Mr. Boak’s replacement. A new superintendent is expected to be in place by July 1.

Mr. Boak also has served on the boards of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson County Historical Society, the Greater Seaway Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Seaway Trail Foundation.

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