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Lowville Academy elementary principal emerges as new superintendent candidate

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LOWVILLE — Lowville Academy and Central School’s elementary principal has emerged as a possible internal candidate for district superintendent.

Cheryl R. Steckly, who has served as elementary school principal since September 2007, chose not to apply for the soon-to-be-vacant post in the initial round but entered her name for consideration after the Board of Education reopened the search, said Jack J. Boak, superintendent of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which is assisting the district with its search.

School board members on Tuesday night interviewed the Croghan resident and, in a few weeks, will invite district staff and community members to do the same before determining their next step in replacing Superintendent Kenneth J. McAuliffe, Mr. Boak said.

“Obviously, they know Cheryl,” he said. “She has been with the district for a while.”

Mrs. Steckly initially was hired in 1984 as a teacher aide and was named a teacher the following year. She later taught for four years in Oregon before returning to Lowville Academy.

During the 2005-06 school year, Mrs. Steckly became the district’s students with disabilities program director as an intern and was appointed to that job permanently in July 2006, following completion of the education administration graduate program at SUNY Oswego. She served in that capacity until being named elementary principal.

Mrs. Steckly earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Va., and a master’s degree in education from SUNY Potsdam.

Plans are to have interested staff members interview Mrs. Steckly from 4 to 5 p.m. Aug. 1, then invite other community members to do the same from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Mr. Boak said. Interviews will be conducted in the high school library, and anyone who would like to participate may simply show up at the designated time, he said.

All interviewers will be asked afterward to submit written comments about the candidate for review by the school board.

Mr. McAuliffe will retire at the end of August after 32 years as a school administrator, the last 11 as superintendent.

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, the school board in June decided to readvertise for the superintendent post and extend the application deadline to Oct. 19, citing the desire to see whether any other strong candidates would come forward.

So far, Mrs. Steckly is the only new applicant, Mr. Boak said.

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