Every school business administrator has a unique story of how he or she came to the field, and Daniel Pacos is no different. Pacos worked as a partner in a small CPA firm that completed a number of school district audits each year. After working in that field for over five years, he was ready to consider other career options.
“At that time, one of our school clients’ business officials told me that she was retiring that year. I applied for the position, and since I did not have my New York state administrative certification, was hired as their school district treasurer,” Pacos says.
Once employed by the district, he sat for a county civil service exam and was appointed to a civil service "school business executive" position. “Shortly after that I went back to school for my master's degree and earned my MBA. I then continued on to complete course work to earn my New York State administrative certification as a school district administrator and a school business administrator.” He has served at Lake Shore Central School District for over 15 years—first in business administration and school district clerk roles, and now as assistant superintendent for administration and finance—a position he has held for the past eight years.
The Lake Shore school district has 2,300 students K–12 in district buildings and almost 100 students in out-of-district program placements for special and alternative education programs. Lake Shore includes one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools. About 15% of the district's overall enrollment is made up of Native American children with about 10% residing on the nearby Seneca Nation of Indians Cattaraugus Territory.
The children who live on the Cattaraugus Territory are not considered to be residents of the school district (New York state school district boundaries do not extend onto tribal territories). They are assigned to one of two school districts (Silver Creek or Gowanda), depending on their home address. Any child living on the territory can request to attend Lake Shore, and the state of New York will pay their district tuition. Currently 246 students who reside on the Cattaraugus Territory have chosen Lake Shore.
Pacos credits ASBO International with providing a community of support throughout his career. “I always advise new school business officials to make sure they attend meetings and network with their colleagues. We have great local ASBO groups here, and everyone is always willing to help each other out.”
Over his 15-year school business career Pacos has made it a priority to be involved in education beyond “bean counting.” In 2017 he served as interim high school principal after the current principal resigned mid-year. “I worked very hard to restore staff and student morale in the building, and led the search committee to hire a new principal which we dubbed the ‘Forever Principal’…my experience as the interim high school principal was without a doubt the single most rewarding experience that I have had in my 28 year career in school administration.”