Dan Bower, the Saranac Lake Central School District's assistant superintendent, is going back to work in Tupper Lake, where he has lived for the last 16 years.
Bower will replace Garry Lanthier, business manager for Tupper Lake Central School District, and officially start there on Aug. 31. Lanthier is retiring on Sept. 1. Bower was appointed at the Tupper Lake school board's most recent meeting on Monday.
Bower submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday night at the Saranac Lake school board meeting.
Dan Bower, assistant superintendent of the Saranac Lake Central School District, works in his office Thursday.
(Enterprise photo — Matthew Turner)
He said it was a very tough decision to make. He has worked for Saranac Lake schools for the last four-and-a-half years. Before that he was business manager and then superintendent of the Tupper Lake district.
"Sometimes opportunities just present themselves," Bower told the Enterprise. "I was not looking to leave Saranac Lake. I've enjoyed my time working here. I just want to stress I wasn't looking to leave."
There will be an overlap during the transition when Bower will work with Lanthier and also with his replacement at Saranac Lake. Saranac Lake district Superintendent Diane Fox and Tupper Lake Superintendent Seth McGowan will oversee that transition.
"He's been solid, is the best way to describe him," Fox said of Bower. "He's been my go-to person. His knowledge and abilities are just terrific."
The Saranac Lake school board has not yet fully discussed the interview process to appoint a replacement, Fox said. She expects to begin interviews by July. After the interview process is done, the board will vote on a candidate for the position.
"We're putting together a search for civil-service appointment and assistant superintendent search," Fox said. "We are looking for the ideal candidate, not the ideal credential."
Bower's salaries in both positions are almost identical: $81,000 for the new budget year in Saranac Lake and $81,500 as the business manager for Tupper Lake.
"I will have some more oversight, though, over supervisors in Tupper Lake," he said. He will supervise the food service, transportation, building and grounds.
Bower will bring valuable experience with him back to Tupper Lake, McGowan said.
"He's kind of expanded his scope of knowledge, and bringing those things back to the district is important," McGowan said. "I think he had a lot of respect for the Saranac Lake district, but I think this is like coming home."
McGowan will miss working with Lanthier.
"Garry is the only business manager I've ever worked with, so it will be a new business manager for me," McGowan said. "I will miss working with Garry. We sort of know each other's systems and how to work.
"I know Dan also from previous relationships, and I've worked with him. I feel there shouldn't be any difficulty there."
Originally from western New York, Bower moved to Tupper Lake in 1998 and became the business manager at the school district there, staying in that job for seven years. Later he became the district's superintendent for three years, until he resigned.
"During that period of time I had some health problems," Bower said. "I really decided that my niche was in a school business office somewhere, and I stepped down as superintendent then."
Bower said he often commutes with his wife to Saranac Lake, where she also works. Now he will be able to drive about a mile-and-a-half from his home to his new office in Tupper Lake, cutting down his daily commute.
"They're both tight-knit communities," Bower said. "My approach at both places is we have to be optimistic and keep moving forward, even when it feels like government is putting obstacles in front of us."
Wednesday, before he resigned, was an emotional day for him, he said.
"I appreciate the board gave me the opportunity to serve here in Saranac Lake," Bower said. "Although I lived in Tupper Lake, that time here, I felt like I was part of the community."
Contact Matthew Turner at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.