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Clough one of three finalists for Fonda superintendent job

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MASSENA — The school district could be looking for a new superintendent sooner than it expects.

Superintendent Roger B. Clough II is one of three finalists for a superintendent’s position with the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District, according to a news release issued Thursday by the Montgomery County school district.

The new superintendent is expected to assume his or her responsibilities by Jan. 1, the release said.

Mr. Clough’s contract with the Massena Central School District expires June 30, and he already had advised the board of education in June that he did not wish to have it renewed. He intended to tender his resignation officially on or about next June 1.

Because of new annual professional performance review requirements instituted this year, Thomas R. Burns, superintendent of the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services said, should Mr. Clough get the job in Fonda, it might be difficult to find an interim superintendent until the Massena Central School District can find a replacement.

BOCES is assisting the Norwood-Norfolk and St. Lawrence central school districts in their superintendent searches. Superintendents Elizabeth A. Kirnie and Stephen M. Putman, respectively, will be retiring at the end of the school year.

“There are a couple of recent occurrences that would concern me, not just with Mr. Clough’s situation, but in general,” Mr. Burns said, and the implementation of the new principal and teacher evaluation system is one of them.

“All evaluators have to be certified, which translates into many, many hours of training,” he said. “The offshoot of that is, normally if we need to obtain the services of an interim superintendent, we look to maybe local or retirees within this BOCES or maybe a neighboring BOCES. Unless they’re a recent retiree, they would have no knowledge of the new system and wouldn’t have gone through the required training.”

And, Mr. Burns said, there aren’t many people to choose from these days.

“Retirees are often enjoying retirement, but some are willing to do it on a short-term basis. But the pool of both superintendents and interim candidates is getting smaller every year,” he said.

Mr. Clough, who has been with the Massena Central School District since 1995, has been an administrator since 2002. He served as a teacher, followed by stints as principal at Nightengale Elementary and J.W. Leary Junior High schools. He took over for Superintendent Douglas W. Huntley on an interim basis in August 2008 after Mr. Huntley accepted a position with the Queensbury Union Free School District. Mr. Clough was named permanent superintendent in June 2009.

He said Friday that he was impressed with the Fonda-Fultonville district.

“I’m fortunate to be a finalist,” he said. “I think it’s a real good fit. They have a real nice district.”

The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District has approximately 1,400 students between its elementary, junior high and high schools, Mr. Clough said, a little bit smaller than Massena.

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