Saranac Lake school admins jump to Lake Placid

WILMINGTON – Two current Saranac Lake Central School District administrators have been hired to open principal posts at Lake Placid Middle-High School, but those weren’t the only administrative changes approved at Tuesday’s Lake Placid school board meeting.

The board voted unanimously to appoint Saranac Lake Middle School Dean of Students Dana Wood as high school principal and Bloomingdale Elementary School Principal Theresa Lindsay as middle school principal.

The board also formally accepted the resignations of elementary school Principal Javier Perez, who will step down at year’s end to become principal of AuSable Valley High School, and district Superintendent Randy Richards, whose contract was not renewed. Richards decided recently to use his accrued vacation days and leave his job earlier than expected. The board also voted to appoint Roger Catania as acting superintendent, effective May 25. He will become interim superintendent on July 1.

Board members Martha Stahl, Herb Stoerr and Janet Smith were absent from Tuesday’s meeting, which was held at the Wilmington Community Center.

Wood, Lindsay

Wood and Lindsay’s three-year probationary appointments begin on July 1. He’ll be paid $80,000 next school year, and she’ll be paid $82,000.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve as the Lake Placid High School principal,” Wood wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “I look forward to working with the students, parents, and staff of the district.”

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Lindsay told the Enterprise this morning. “I’m sad to be leaving Saranac Lake but excited to be a part of a brand-new team.”

Joining the board meeting via Skype, Catania said the process for selecting Wood and Lindsay was “very thorough.

“It involved the contributions of many stakeholders, including teachers, staff, administration, board members, parents and students,” Catania said.

The job search began with approximately 125 applicants, about 20 of whom were interviewed, Catania said.

“Those people came from as far away as Arizona, Long Island, New York City (and) Rochester, as well as nearby,” he said.

Wood earned his bachelor and master’s degrees from SUNY Plattsburgh and began his social studies teaching career in 1999 in Saranac Lake. Catania noted that Wood has taught everything from summer school to Advanced Placement classes. For two years, he served as co-president of the Saranac Lake teachers’ union.

He has coached soccer, track, indoor track and lacrosse, and for the last three years he served as dean of students, responsible for discipline and attendance, among other things. He also continues to teach a social studies class.

Catania said Wood is calm, patient, articulate and goal-oriented.

“All of his colleagues in Saranac Lake agree that Dana Wood is ready to be principal,” he said.

Lindsay, who lives in Lake Placid, has been principal of Bloomingdale Elementary School for three years. Her position was cut during budget negotiations.

She started at St. Agnes School in Lake Placid. She went on to acquire her license as a literacy specialist and worked for the Westport Central School District before taking over the top job at Bloomingdale Elementary.

Catania noted that Lindsay has overseen a variety of educational programs, like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, Response to Intervention and Annual Professional Performance Review She also administered and implemented universal pre-kindergarten, as well as other programs that provided support for students, Catania said.

“We’re fortunate that Ms. Lindsay will bring her educational expertise and her student-centered attitude to Lake Placid,” Catania said.

Richards supported both appointments.

Two interim principals, Rick Retrosi and Michael Fellion, will see their appointments expire June 30. Jon Fremante’s appointment as interim dean of students also wraps up at the end of the school year.

Perez resignation

The board voted unanimously, “with regret,” to accept Perez’s resignation. School board President Mary Dietrich said Catania will lead the search for a new elementary school principal. The position is being advertised. So far, 30 applications have been filed. They’re due by May 15.

“The timeline would consist of a kind of a pre-interview with the stakeholder groups – that would include the Board of Education, the parents, the teachers – that will take place between now and May 15, where we can actually develop sort of a profile for what each group is looking for in an elementary school principal,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich said screening of resumes will take place May 15-16. The first round of interviews will take place May 22-23, and two weeks later the district will conduct interviews with finalists.

“And hopefully then (we will) have a candidate to bring to the board by the June 20 meeting,” Dietrich said.

The board hopes the new hire will be able to start by July 1.


Catania will be paid $5,000 as acting superintendent from May 25 to June 30. Starting July 1, he becomes interim superintendent for the 2013-14 school year at a salary of $115,000. The board expects to make the appointment permanent sometime next year.

Richards’ last day will be May 24.

Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or