Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County director gone after less than seven months

MALONE– Sean Connin, who assumed the reins of Cornell Cooperative Extension for Essex and Franklin counties in June, is no longer the executive director.

Cooperative Extension officials confirmed that Connin is no longer with the organization but did not respond to telephone calls seeking details, including when he left and the circumstances of his departure.

No telephone number for Connin, who lives in Rainbow Lake, could be found.

CCE announced in May that Connin would succeed Rick LeVitre, who had retired at the end of 2018 due to family circumstances, as of June 1. LeVitre had served as the executive director for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County for about seven years; he added the responsibilities for the Essex County organization two years before his retirement.

Connin was hired to manage programs provided by CCE for both counties under a memorandum of understanding between the two associations. He was selected after a five-month search by a committee composed of “Extension stakeholders,” including representatives from St. Lawrence and Essex counties.

In a previous interview, Connin said he wanted the job at CCE to work more closely with the community.

“One of the prime interests for me that attracted me to the position with Cornell Cooperative was to work within the community where I live and to help the communities that I am a part of to recognize and accomplish goals,” Connin said.

Connin’s career started in the 1990s when he began as an organismal biologist, adding to that studies from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Dartmouth’s doctoral program in earth science.

In the early 2000s, Connin served as founding director for the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Plant Program — and was instrumental at implementing the program policies that are in place today.

Connin traveled across the United States from Arkansas to Texas to Oregon, conducting ecological research, teaching at several colleges and participating in field practice. His previous position was with the Adirondack North Country Association of Saranac Lake in which he was director of the Clean Energy Program that was designed to incorporate and develop plans of renewable energy into local communities.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County utilizes the educational resources of Cornell University and the New York State Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Ecology and Veterinary Medicine to “foster the economic, social, and environmental improvement of the lives of families, individuals and communities” in the county.

The group manages several local programs in the fields of agriculture, community and economic vitality, environment and energy, nutrition and family health, and youth development.