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Lake Placid principal search goes back to square one

Finalist withdraws from consideration

November 30, 2012

LAKE PLACID - The search for a new principal at the Lake Placid-Middle High School will be shelved for the time being, as the finalist in this fall's search has withdrawn his application.

Lake Placid school district Superintendent Randy Richards announced in a press release Tuesday last week that the district "contacted the finalist for an interview and was notified, via email, that the finalist was withdrawing from consideration while thanking the district for its efforts."

The district began looking for a new principal at the beginning of the school year. A pair of interim principals - Greg Camelo at the high school and Rick Retrosi at the middle school - have been in place since the summer.

School board President Mary Dietrich told the News that the board was "pleased" with the finalist.

"We were looking forward to the opportunity to really delve a little bit deeper into some of his responses from the initial interview," she said.

Richards said a "team of mixed stakeholders" - including administrative staff, school board members and community members - interviewed seven candidates for the position. With the lone finalist pulling out, the interview team will meet on Nov. 30 to determine "if any changes are needed in the search process," Richards said.

"The district remains committed to hiring the best possible leader it can for the high school as new initiatives such as those contained in Race-To-The-Top and the formation of a district plan in response to the district's designation as a focus district will demand a very skilled and effective leader," he said in the release.

Dietrich said the board also needs to decide on a leadership model for the middle-high school. In the past, the school has been led by one principal and one assistant principal. The school is currently using a different model, with one principal for grades 6 through 8 and another for grades 9 through 12.

"We're going to evaluate the present model that we're using on an interim basis," Dietrich said, "because it seems to be working so well. We want to kind of evaluate that and what's making it work well. Do we want to replicate that? Or is there some other way that we can make it work?"

Teachers, students and parents will be involved in the decision-making process as the school board weighs which model to use, Dietrich said.

"And then we also have to look at the budget and how that impacts our budget considerations," she said. "The bottom line is we have to look at the money issue."

Dietrich said the school district will continue to employ Camelo and Retrosi through the end of the school year. In the release, Richards said the search for a new principal will restart in April 2013 "with the goal of having the new leader in place and transitioning at the end of June 2013."

The school board had hoped to hire someone by January 2013. Dietrich said the board will need to take action to extend the temporary employment of Camelo and Retrosi at its next regular meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 4.

Meanwhile, the district will soon begin looking for a new superintendent, as Richards will leave the position at the end of the school year. Dietrich said the board is discussing the direction it wants to take with that search process.

Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or cmorris@



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