Press-Republican

March 16, 2013

Saranac Lake School hires new superintendent

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake School Board has hired a longtime Plattsburgh-area educator as its new district superintendent.

Diane Fox, currently the principal at Beekmantown High School, was selected from among the final four candidates.

Saranac Lake School Board President Debra Lennon said they believe Fox is perfect for Saranac Lake.

“She is very student oriented, very goal oriented. She is just a great fit for our district,” Lennon told the Press-Republican.

“She has great qualifications we thought would make an excellent superintendent here.”

SALARY UNDECIDED

Lennon said Fox is planning to move to Saranac Lake.

Currently a Plattsburgh resident, she is married to Greg Claus, former features editor for the Press-Republican and now a teacher at Saranac Central School District. The couple have an adult daughter, Jamie.

Lennon said salary and contractual arrangements had not been finalized yet. 

Fox will take the superintendent’s post as Gerry Goldman retires on July 1. In 2012, he earned $130,420.

“It was a great process all around. It was objective. It was fun in some ways,” Lennon said.

The search began late last summer as the School Board accepted Goldman’s plan to retire.

“We had 16 candidates that the board scaled down to six, and from six we went to four,” Lennon said.

‘TOUGH CHOICES’

The decision was made with input from a school-based committee and a community group.

“We had really qualified candidates,” Lennon said. “We felt good that we actually had some tough choices to make. The whole process worked very well, and we are very happy with the outcome.”

PRINCIPAL SWAP

Fox stepped into the position at Beekmantown High School in 2011 in a controversial principal swap that switched her over from Cumberland Head Elementary School.

Garth Frechette, the High School principal at the time, was moved over to lead the Cumberland Head school.

School Board members went over the head of Superintendent Scott Amo to make the change, which sparked protests from parents. The board never publicly explained their reasoning.

A group of residents petitioned the New York state education commissioner to halt the swap, reverse it and remove the School Board, but that never happened.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com