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Cruikshank named as next Norwood-Norfolk Central School superintendent

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NORFOLK — The new superintendent for the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District will only have to travel down Route 56 to his new job.

James M. Cruikshank, the principal at A.A. Kingston Middle School in Potsdam, was unanimously appointed by the Norwood-Norfolk Central School Board of Education to a three-year term Tuesday night.

His term is from July 1 to June 30, 2016, at a base salary of $118,000.

Mr. Cruikshank will replace Elizabeth A. Kirnie, who will retire at the school year’s end.

“Norwood-Norfolk presented a wonderful opportunity for me in that they have an excellent education system, which I believe my leadership style will complement,” Mr. Cruikshank said. “I’m looking forward to working to ensure the next generation of students are prepared to meet the demands of college and career.”

Board President Jon D. Hazen said it was a tough decision to choose among the three candidates: Mr. Cruikshank, Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. and James D. Donnelly Jr.

“It was a three-way horse race. I guess we were hoping to have quality people, and we got them,” Mr. Hazen said.

Mr. Cruikshank has held the principal position since 2007. He previously served as dean of students from 2006 to 2007, director of athletics from 2002 to 2003 and a math and science teacher from 1992 to 2007. All of the positions were in the Potsdam Central School District.

While Mr. Cruikshank said he’s looking forward to his new job, leaving Potsdam will not be easy.

“Potsdam has been my home away from home for over 20 years,” he said. “It’s an excellent community, which has always supported education. I’ll miss the people, and I’ll take with me my experiences here to help me at Norwood-Norfolk.”

Mr. Vigliotti, who has served as superintendent of schools at the General Brown Central School District in Dexter since 2002, was named last week as the new superintendent of the St. Lawrence Central School District effective July 1. He will replace Stephen M. Putman, who will retire at the school year’s end. He previously worked as the junior and senior high school principal at General Brown from 1999 to 2002.

Mr. Donnelly has previous superintendent experience in the Lake Placid Central School District. He serves as principal and director of school improvement for grades seven to 12 in the Granville Central School District, a position he has held since 2011.

Before assuming that position, he was the superintendent of schools at the Lake Placid Central School District from 2008 to 2009 and high school principal at Dolgeville Central School from 1993 to 2008.

Mr. Hazen said the board members had “debated long and hard” over their three candidates, which were reduced to two after they learned Mr. Vigliotti had accepted the position in Brasher Falls.

“We knew we were each going through the process. Mr. Vigliotti was a common candidate,” he said.

Ultimately they settled on Mr. Cruikshank, a move the board unanimously approved Tuesday night.

“I think a lot of the decision hinged on experience versus what we saw as potential. We decided to go with potential,” Mr. Hazen said.

“I think there are probably people who say, ‘Well, he’s a middle school principal,’” Mr. Hazen said. “I think he was at Potsdam long enough that he’s definitely been involved in a number of initiatives there on the district level. He’s more than just a middle school principal. He’s been dean of students, he’s been athletic director, I know he’s been involved in capital projects there.”

He added Mr. Cruikshank’s familiarity with the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District will also help as he moves into his new role in July.

Johnson Newspapers writer Benny Fairchild contributed to this report.

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