LAKE PLACID - Gerald Blair will step down from his seat on the Lake Placid school board to take a position as interim superintendent the Northeastern Clinton Central School District.
That means the board will need to fill the seat at its July organizational meeting.
"Due to my being appointed Interim Superintendent of Schools for the 2012-2013 school year at a school system that is outside our immediate area, I find it necessary to resign my seat on the Lake Placid Board of Education effective July 1, 2012," Blair said in a press release issued by the district Friday, June 8.
"I hate to do it at this time, I really do," Blair said. "I enjoy what I do. I hate to step out of it. But the obligations that I've got in the school that I'm going to are too great to put the time in.
"I'll be a superintendent for a year, and that will drain my time," he added.
In recent months, the district has grappled with several big issues. Earlier this spring, middle-high school Principal Katherine Mulderig left her job after the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission validated a gender discrimination complaint she had filed against Superintendent Randy Richards. More recently, Linda Wallace of Lake Placid filed an appeal to the commissioner of the state Education Department seeking Richards' removal.
Parents and teachers have also expressed concerns about a teaching position that was cut at the elementary school.
"There is a lot of activity going on," Blair said. "We're trying to work with the rest of the board to resolve these issues. I'm going to have to leave it maybe at 75 percent (resolved)."
Blair currently works in the special education unit at Champlain Valley Educational Services. He'll leave his position there around June 18 and begin his interim job at NCCS, which is in Champlain near New York's border with Canada and Vermont, on July 1. The district has a total enrollment of about 1,000 students.
Blair will continue to serve as chairman of North Country Community College's Board of Trustees.
Blair has nearly two decades of experience as a school administrator. He served as high school principal and superintendent for the Lake Placid school district from 1980 to 1987, and served solely as district superintendent from 1987 to 1997.
He said would prefer to stay with the board, but serving as interim superintendent for NCCS will make it hard for him to attend multiple school board meetings every month.
School board President Phil Baumbach said he was saddened to learn Blair will leave the board.
"He brings so much experience to our board, having been in the industry for many years," Baumbach said. "He's helped us and he'll be missed."
Superintendent Randy Richards said it's rare to have a school board member who has experience as an administrator and as a community member.
"People with that much experience are few and far between," he said.
The board plans to act on Blair's resignation at its Tuesday, June 19 meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Lake Placid Elementary School cafeteria. The board will interview interested candidates during the week of June 18, and expects to appoint someone at its July 3 organizational meeting.
Baumbach said the board has three options when someone steps down: hold another election, appoint someone at its own discretion, or seek nominees, interview candidates and make an appointment.
Baumbach said another election would cost money.
"And just appointing someone, we didn't feel it was proper," he said.
Anyone interested in serving on the school board is encouraged to send a letter of interest and resume to District Clerk Karen Angelopoulos, 50 Cummings Road, Lake Placid NY 12946 or firstname.lastname@example.org by June 15.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or email@example.com.