KEENE VALLEY - Dan Mayberry will leave his position as assistant principal of Lake Placid Middle-High School to become the new principal of Keene Central School.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Ford-Johnston has been appointed as interim superintendent, giving the district time to look for a replacement after her recent retirement. Both appointments were unanimously approved by the school's Board of Education during Monday night's reorganizational meeting.
A new page
"I'm very excited to start a new chapter in my career here in Keene; it's a wonderful school district and a very supportive staff," Mayberry said. "At the same time, it's hard leaving Lake Placid after 17 years, but it's a step that I need to take and move forward."
Over the last two years, Mayberry has served as dean of students and assistant principal at the middle-high school. He assumed the role of acting principal near the end of the 2011-12 school year after Katherine Mulderig left the position.
Before that, he taught seventh-grade science for 14-and-a-half years.
Mayberry said he considered the principal position at Lake Placid Middle-High School.
"Ultimately, I made the decision that I feel is in the best interest of my family," he said.
"We are absolutely delighted that Dan has elected to join us as our principal," Keene school board President Jim Marlatt said. "He's terrific."
Marlatt said Keene students, teachers, community members, administrative staff and school board members were involved in the search for a new principal. He said nearly 30 applications were screened; then the board held two rounds of interviews, narrowing the pool down to three candidates.
Those individuals were interviewed again by the board, along with a select group of people from the screening process. Marlatt said Mayberry was the unanimous choice.
Ford-Johnston said Mayberry is a "perfect match" for Keene. She said it will be fun to have someone to work with; she was principal and business manager as well as superintendent for 16 years.
Mayberry will start his new job on Aug. 6 at a salary of $82,000.
Lake Placid reaction
Lake Placid school board President Mary Dietrich said she's happy for Mayberry.
"I first met Dan when he was a seventh-grade student, then we worked together as teachers," she said. "I saw him evolve and become the assistant principal and acting principal. I'm totally impressed and really happy for him.
"I'm sorry that our district is losing a really good person," Dietrich added. "I congratulate Keene on recognizing his talents and abilities. It's definitely our loss."
Asked if the Lake Placid school board would consider hiring just a principal at the middle-high school, Dietrich said she sees the value in having both a principal and an assistant principal.
"I didn't used to think that, but I do now," she said. "There's a need for strong staff and curriculum development, and a need for a strong disciplinary presence - not that we have issues, but they're there."
Lake Placid school district Superintendent Randy Richards said he was proud of Mayberry, but his exit leaves the district with a "large hole to fill.
"It's a critical leadership position," Richards said. "We have about 53 students in summer school, and we're finishing planning for the fall.
"The board will have a focus session next week," he said of the search for a new principal. "We're going to commit to a full-blown search. We'll use a process similar to the selection of our elementary school principal."
Richards said in the meantime, the district will need to hire an interim principal. He said he'll work with the board to consider local people, most likely former superintendents or administrators, to bring someone in for the fall semester.
Richards said the district will also need to search for an assistant principal, although the search won't be as intensive as the hunt for a new principal.
"We'll be slow and methodical and find the best person we can," he said.
In her new role as interim superintendent, Ford-Johnston will be in the Keene school building two days a week handling labor relations and school finances. Mayberry will handle day-to-day operations.
"What we're trying to do as a district is figure out: Is it manageable for a person to be a shared superintendent and do it well?" Ford-Johnston said. "Westport does the same model right now; they have a retired administrator who does part-time. We're just trying to take a look at this and say, 'Is it doable?'"
Ford-Johnston said if it's possible for the school to run effectively while only having a superintendent in the building for a couple of days per week, then sharing that position with another district will be something for the board to consider.
Board members said, when Ford-Johnston's retirement was announced, that they'd like to try sharing a superintendent.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or email@example.com.