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Lowville Academy reopens superintendent search, eyes early 2013 hiring

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LOWVILLE — The Lowville Academy and Central School District will not have a new superintendent this summer after all.

The Board of Education has decided to readvertise for the soon-to-be-open post and extend the application deadline to Oct. 19, said Jack J. Boak, superintendent of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which is assisting the district with its search.

“They just want to be confident that they have the right person,” Mr. Boak said.

Tentative plans are to hire a permanent replacement for Superintendent Kenneth J. McAuliffe by early February, he said.

Mr. McAuliffe will retire at the end of August after 32 years as a school administrator, the last 11 as superintendent. A surprise student assembly was held in his honor Friday afternoon.

The district in March received 29 applications for the post, and board members had narrowed the field to two finalists: Joanne I. Shelmidine, superintendent of Remsen Central School District in Oneida County, and Paul W. Mooney, principal of Howard G. Sackett Technical Center in Glenfield.

However, board members on Monday night decided to see whether other strong candidates are out there rather than immediately select one of the finalists, Mr. Boak said.

“They wanted to be sure that they have done a very thorough search,” he said. “They didn’t see where extending it a little bit would really be troublesome.”

The Lowville school district has had only five superintendents since 1924, so board members will look for continued long-term stability in its next superintendent, Mr. McAuliffe has said.

Because of the application extension, the board will hire an interim superintendent to guide the district through at least the first half of next school year.

“They will be working on that next,” Mr. Boak said.

The BOCES superintendent said he soon will set up interviews between the board and potential candidates for the interim post, allowing the board to get someone in place before Mr. McAuliffe departs.

The original plan was to have a new superintendent in place by Aug. 1, allowing at least a month to work with the retiring district head.

However, Mr. Boak said, it is “not uncommon” for school districts to reopen superintendent searches, noting the neighboring Carthage Central School District did so recently.

Following Joseph M. Catanzaro’s sudden resignation as superintendent, the Carthage district in August selected Lowville native Judy L. Waligory as interim superintendent and solicited applications for a permanent replacement through mid-October.

After being disappointed with the initial response, board members extended the application deadline to mid-February and retained Mrs. Waligory as interim school chief.

From the second candidate pool, board members last month selected Peter J. Turner, a former Carthage High School principal and current Northeastern Clinton Central School District superintendent. He is to start July 1 as Carthage superintendent.

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