Malone man to serve as interim assistant principal

LAKE PLACID – The Lake Placid school board has appointed an interim assistant principal to serve out the remainder of the school year.

The board unanimously approved the temporary hiring of Michael Fellion at a special meeting Tuesday night. The Malone resident will step in to help interim middle-high school Principal Rick Retrosi.

“We’re very happy to have him,” school board President Mary Dietrich told the Enterprise.

Dietrich said Fellion, a Malone resident, has worked as a principal in the past and has experience with the Annual Professional Performance Review evaluations, which districts must complete to comply with new state Education Department requirements.

“We’re really very thankful that he’s available and willing to come in on such short notice and help us out,” Dietrich said. “This will allow Rick to really just focus on the APPR evaluations. We should be able to get those completed this year. That’s still going to be a time crunch, and that is a concern because Rick is having to do all of them in less than half a year now.”

The appointment is effective Feb. 19 through June 30. Fellion will be paid a per-diem rate of $311 over a period of 93 days.

The appointment shores up the school district’s administration for the time being, following months of turnover that began last spring when former LPMHS Principal Katherine Mulderig left her position after accepting a settlement agreement tied to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint involving district Superintendent Randy Richards.

After Mulderig left, former Assistant Principal Dan Mayberry stepped down to become principal of Keene Central School, and the board announced that it would not renew Richards’ contract at the end of the 2012-13 school year.

Greg Camelo and Retrosi were brought in as interim high school and middle school principals, respectively, at the beginning of the school year. In November, a finalist for the principal position pulled out, sending the district back to the drawing board in its search for a permanent hire. Retrosi agreed to keep working through the end of the year, while Camelo opted to step down.

Jon Fremante was subsequently hired as interim dean of students to help with discipline at the middle-high school while Retrosi works on teacher evaluations. Additionally, the board voted 5-2 in December to appoint Roger Catania to a one-year term as superintendent, effective July 1.

The board recently agreed on three-principal model – one each at the elementary, middle and high schools – and will soon begin searching for a new principal with help from the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The goal is to start the 2013-14 school year with permanent hires in place.