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Southwick will fill in as TLMHS principal

December 4, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - Matt Southwick will begin 2013 as interim principal of the Tupper Lake Middle/High School, taking that responsibility from Superintendent Seth McGowan, who recently filled both roles but said he couldn't keep up that pace.

The school board approved a leave of absence for Southwick from his job as guidance counselor at the middle/high school from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2013, so he can serve as principal during that time.

School board President Dan Mansfield said the board is excited to have Southwick take over.

Article Photos

Matt Southwick
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)

"Thank you," Southwick responded. "I'm very excited."

The board passed Southwick's appointment with no public discussion first.

School board Vice President Jane Whitmore and district Business Manager Garry Lanthier said this morning they don't know yet how much money Southwick will earn as principal.

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McGowan, who has been serving as both middle/high school principal and district superintendent for about a year-and-a-half, advised the board at their November meeting that they should put someone in the position who already works in the district for the second half of the school year. During that time, the board will conduct a full search for a permanent replacement for the position.

The board talked about McGowan's contract in a closed session at the end of the open portion of the meeting. Board Vice President Jane Whitmore told the Enterprise this morning that no changes are being considered for this school year, but McGowan is in the second year of a three-year contract and the board is negotiating his next contract.

"We can't change it in the middle of the school year," Whitmore said.

McGowan's salary is listed as $130,732 for this school year on the state Education Department website, with $35,774 in benefits. That's a 4.33 percent raise over the previous school year, counting benefits.

When he took over the principal position in 2011, he took a 17 percent raise, giving him a salary of $128,169 with $31,429 in benefits. McGowan said at the time the raise wasn't what it seemed because he took a voluntary pay freeze in the 2010-11 school year. Factoring that in, he earned a 10.5 percent raise in 2011.

Elementary school Principal Carolyn Merrihew was given a 5.72 percent raise in 2011-12 after also taking a pay freeze in the 2010-11 school year, according to, a state website that lists the salaries of public officials.

Director of Special Programs Kelly Wight saw 3.5 percent raises in 2010 and 2011; then she got a 14.36 percent raise between 2011, when she made $71,772, and 2012, when she made $82,081.

Pam Martin, the previous middle/high school principal, was making $95,350 a year when she retired at the end of the 2010-11 school year, after taking a pay freeze that year.


Contact Jessica Collier at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or



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