By CHRIS KNIGHT
Senior Staff Writer
SARANAC LAKE - New principals will be in place this fall at each of the Saranac Lake Central School District's four schools as part of a major reshuffling of the district's administrators.
Superintendent Gerald Goldman told the Enterprise he notified all district staff of the changes on Friday. He said the reassignments were prompted by the decision to eliminate an administrator position in the proposed 2013-14 budget. Bloomingdale Elementary School Principal Theresa Lindsay is the one who would lose her job, as she has the least seniority among the district's administrators.
"As a result of that, the board and the administrators have been spending a lot of time talking about how we might restructure our administration," Goldman said.
The plan Goldman announced Friday is as follows:
Petrova Elementary School Principal Josh Dann will take over as principal of the high school
High school principal Bruce Van Weelden will become principal of the middle school
Middle school principal Patricia Kenyon will become principal at Bloomingdale elementary
Chad McCarthy, who is the director of pupil personnel and the district's special education committee chairman, will become the new Petrova elementary principal
Paul Leahy, currently assistant principal and dean of students at the high school, will become the new pupil personnel director and special education committee chairman, a position he's held before
Athletic Director Mark Farmer will take on the job of high school dean of students, which he's held before.
Asked if there was any resistance from these administrators to taking on new roles, Goldman said "next to none.
"I don't want to say it's 100 percent, but it's close," he said. "I think they're all pretty excited about it, honestly. I think there's a little trepidation that comes with a new job, but at the same time there's some excitement there. I think change is good, and we didn't do this in a vacuum. The board spent a lot of time talking about this."
School Board President Debra Lennon said the loss of Lindsay created what she described as a "snowball" effect.
"When you think of who might be best to take Theresa's place in Bloomingdale, then it creates an empty spot somewhere else, then when you start thinking about who would be best to take that spot, it sort of created an empty spot somewhere else," Lennon said.
Lennon said she was comfortable with the changes and believes they will "freshen things up.
"I know that the strengths of the administrators were taken into consideration before just opting to place them somewhere," she said. "Change is sometimes a really good thing, and we have so many changes, obviously, with (new superintendent) Diane Fox coming on. It sort of puts everyone on an equal playing field.
"I also know we have some administrators that want some different experiences, and want the change and want to challenge themselves in other ways. I think that's really healthy."
The Enterprise tried to contact some of the new administrators mid-afternoon Friday to ask about their new assignments. Messages left for Van Weelden and Kenyon weren't immediately returned. Dann declined to speak about his new assignment until he's had time to "process" it over the weekend.
McCarthy said he was "absolutely thrilled" at the opportunity to take over at Petrova.
"I think it's going to be great," he said. "I have a very strong background in elementary education. I was a kindergarten teacher, a first-grade teacher, a fifth-grade and a sixth-grade teacher. Returning to my roots is going to feel really good. I'm really excited."
McCarthy is completing his fifth year with the district. Prior to that he worked in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts.
Lennon said all the administrators involved are under contract and there are no changes in pay as a result of the reshuffling.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.