Lake Placid principal search draws 120 candidates

LAKE PLACID – The Lake Placid school district invested more money in its latest search for two new principals at the middle-high school, and it appears to have paid off.

School board President Mary Dietrich told the Enterprise Thursday that 120 people applied for the middle and high school principal positions. The first round of interviews is scheduled to begin today.

“We have 17 that we’re interviewing,” Dietrich said. “This round is a little involved. We have two different groups that will be conducting interviews. One is a formal question and answer session, with all of our stakeholder groups represented. The candidate will leave that format and go over to the middle-high school and take a student-led tour of the building.

“Then they will go to a more informal conversation that we’ll have with Dr. (Roger) Catania, the new superintendent, a middle school teacher, a high school teacher and two students.”

Dietrich said those conversations will include topics like the school’s vision for the future.

The goal, Dietrich said, is to narrow the field of candidates down to between three and five for each position. Those finalists will return for a second interview at the end of this month.

“We hope to have a recommendation to the board by the first meeting in May,” she said.

The board looked to fill the middle-high school principal job last fall, but the finalist withdrew his name from the running. About 40 people applied for that position.

Since then, the board decided to use a two-principal model at the middle-high school, with one overseeing grades six through eight, and another in charge of grades nine through 12. The district previously used a principal and assistant principal.

The district began advertising for the two positions in March. The job openings were listed in regional newspapers, but the district also paid about $1,200 to list the vacancies on the On-Line Application Systems recruitment website.

Dietrich said more than 80 people applied through OLAS.

“I think it was a very useful tool,” she said. “I also think this is just a better time of year. In the fall, people had already made their commitments and knew where they were for the year. This is the time people are starting to think about if they want to move someplace new.”

The district has relied on interim principals to lead the middle-high school since the beginning of this school year. Last year, Principal Katherine Mulderig accepted a settlement offer and left her job following a gender-bias dispute with district Superintendent Randy Richards. Then, assistant Principal Dan Mayberry left to become principal at Keene Central School.

For the first semester of this year, Greg Camelo and Rick Retrosi served as interim high school and middle school principals, respectively. Camelo was replaced by Michael Fellion in the second semester, and Jon Fremante was appointed as interim dean of students.

Those interim appointments will expire at the end of June.

Meanwhile, the district is preparing for Richards’ exit. His contract wasn’t renewed, and the board last fall announced that Catania would become superintendent in July.

Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or