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South Lewis hires alumni pair for open principal posts


TURIN — The South Lewis Central School District board has selected alumni with varied backgrounds to fill a pair of open principal spots.

Board members earlier this week selected Judith A. Duppert, Lowville, as middle school principal, and Chad H. Luther, Boonville, as high school principal. Both are to start their new jobs next month.

“I think it’s a good balance for the two people we brought in,” District Superintendent Douglas E. Premo said.

Ms. Duppert, a 1991 South Lewis graduate, has been principal at West Carthage Elementary School since 2005, while Mr. Luther, a 1999 graduate, has spent the past few years as a special education teacher at South Lewis, also serving as dean of students while working on his administrative certification.

“I think Judy just brought the experience to the table,” Mr. Premo said.

Ms. Duppert has been involved in all aspects of administration, including teacher evaluations, budgeting, curriculum development and disciplinary matters, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Luther, while not having such experience, is intelligent and meticulous and was able to display his administrative skills over the past year in his role as dean of students, Mr. Premo said.

“He’s very much a student-first type of person,” he said.

Philomena B. Goss, who has spent the past 14 years as South Lewis’s middle school principal, last month accepted a job as Lowville Academy and Central School’s elementary principal. And Jennifer L. Myers, who spent the past year as high school principal, recently was appointed the new Black River Elementary principal in the Carthage Central School District, creating a second administrative vacancy.

Mr. Premo said the district advertised only for the middle school position but ultimately used the same candidate pool for both spots. However, there was additional interest once the second post opened up, culminating in a pool of more than 60 candidates, he said.

Several committees consisting of school staff and community members interviewed the top seven candidates, and Board of Education members interviewed the top four before making their selections.

“We lost two very talented people, but we’ve replaced them with two very talented people,” Mr. Premo said.

Ms. Duppert served as an elementary teacher with the South Lewis district from 1996 to 1999, then taught at Bellevue Elementary School in the Syracuse City School District through 2004 and spent one year as instructional specialist at the Cayuga-Onondaga Board of Cooperative Educational Services before returning to the north country to head the West Carthage school. She also was co-coordinator of an after-school program at Bellevue during the 2003-04 school year.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from SUNY Geneseo and a master’s degree in special education and a certificate of advanced study in administration, both from Syracuse University.

Mr. Luther served as a behavior human services professional at Oneida-Lewis NYSARC for one year, then taught social studies for a few years in the Sidney Central School District and spent a couple of years as a special education teacher at Adirondack Central School District, Boonville, before returning to his alma mater.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from SUNY Cortland, a master’s degree from SUNY Potsdam and a certificate of advanced study in administration from SUNY Oswego.

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