The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District, commonly shortened to Ken-Ton, includes the historic Village of Kenmore and the vast majority of the Town of Tonawanda in northern Erie County, north of the City of Buffalo. Ken-Ton has a population of approximately 70,000 residents and a student population of approximately 7,000 students, making it the third largest school district west of Rochester and among the largest in Upstate New York. The Ken-Ton School District is an International Baccalaureate (IB) district and its two high schools, Kenmore East High School and Kenmore West High School, are two of only four IB schools in the eight counties of Western New York.
The District is known for its many state and national recognitions, distinctions and awards, and it ranks among the most progressive school districts in the nation. It has a long-standing reputation for excellence stemming from a conscientious and dedicated Board of Education, active community interest, strong parental support, and a staff committed to high educational ideals.
The district operates nine schools, a central administration building, a transportation building with a fleet of approximately 115 buses, and other facilities. All staff have access to the district's Staff Development Center, which is housed in another building operated by the district -- the Philip Sheridan Building.
What is a "Union Free School District"?
The designation "union free school district" goes back to the 1800s, when school districts in New York State (then referred to as "common school districts") were authorized by the State Legislature to operate elementary schools but were not authorized to operate high school programs. In 1853, the State Legislature authorized two or more common school districts to join together (thus forming a "union" between the districts) and operate a high school (thus "free" of the previous restrictions). These were called "union free school districts." Additional legislation in 1914 created the designation "central school district," which were authorized to operate high school programs and resulted from the joining together of any number of common, union free or other central school districts.
- Keith Franke/Adrian Adonis, former undisputed world wrestling champion
- Cal Kern, owner of the Niagara Power
- Jon L. Luther, former CEO of Dunkin' Brands
- Billy Sheehan, rock bass guitar player (known for his work with Talas, David Lee Roth and Mr. Big to name a few)
- James Oberg, author and Soviet space expert
- Paul Vogt, actor and comedian
- Wolf Blitzer, CNN journalist
- Zach Anner, stand-up comedian
- Jeff Czum, guitarist with Cute Is What We Aim For
- Frank H. Easterbrook, Judge and former Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Gregg Easterbrook, author and journalist
- Geoffrey Gatza, editor, publisher, and award-winning poet
- Edward Gibson, Skylab astronaut
- Members of Green Jelly, musicians and theatrical group
- Beth Krom, two-term mayor of Irvine, CA
- Dan McFall, retired NFL coach whose 28-year career included four years with the Buffalo Bills
- Gary McNamara syndicated talk show host
- Neal Smatresk, president of the University of North Texas, Denton
- Bob Smith, comedian and author
- Jeff Glor, national news anchor (CBS)
- Brian Johnson, actor, appeared on Broadway in "Spring Awakening" and "American Idiot"
- Sue Falzone, first female head athletic trainer in any major sport (trainer for the LA Dodgers)