LAKE PLACID - Middle school students here will likely recognize their new principal when they return to class in September.
The Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint Rick Retrosi as interim middle school principal. Retrosi was principal of the elementary school from 1999 until his retirement in 2011. He was replaced by Javier Perez.
The board appointed Greg Camelo as interim high school principal during a July work session.
The middle-high school now has two experienced administrators acting in interim roles while the school board searches for permanent replacements. Former Principal Katherine Mulderig accepted a settlement offer and left the district in the spring, and Assistant Principal Dan Mayberry left at the end of the school year to become principal at Keene Central School.
"We decided that we have two really strong candidates," school board President Mary Dietrich told the Enterprise. "We thought that Greg could concentrate on nine through 12. Rick could come in - he knows the kids, knows the school system - he could concentrate on six, seven and eight."
Dietrich said in recent years, the middle school has been "neglected a little bit" because of budget cuts. She said the board hopes Retrosi will be able to provide some stability and "build that back up."
The board feels confident with Retrosi and Camelo at the helm, Dietrich said.
"That building is in good hands," she said. "They're exactly what we need: We need somebody to be kind of a calming influence. Not that they won't bring about some changes and we won't progress under them, but it's somebody the faculty and the students will respond to very positively."
Retrosi's appointment is effective today through Dec. 31. He'll be paid a salary of $325 per day for 91 days, a total of $29,575. He's still drawing retirement benefits as well.
Retrosi came to the district in 1978 as a media and library specialist, a position he held until 1999 when he became principal. He also served as chair of the district Committee on Special Education from 1990 to 1999.
Camelo, who was present at Tuesday's meeting, has worked as principal at the BOCES Adirondack Education Center in Saranac Lake and St. Agnes Catholic school in Lake Placid. He'd been retired for about a year before accepting the interim position.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Randy Richards said the search for a permanent principal and a guidance counselor are under way. As of Tuesday, the district had received 45 applications for the guidance counselor job. Richards said a screening committee narrowed the field to eight candidates, and interviews will start on Thursday.
"We'll get it down to two or three finalists, and then it will be interviews with stakeholders," he said.
Richards said he hopes to have a recommendation for the board by its Aug. 21 meeting.
The district has received about 30 applications for the principal job. Richards said there's still time for interested candidates to apply.