By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Cooperstown Central School will have a familiar face take over as interim principal for the middle/high school as former elementary school Principal Teresa Gorman will return for two months at the end of the school year.
Gorman, who retired from CCS in 2015, following 15 years as the elementary principal, will take over May 1. Her return was approved by the school’s Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday, April 14.
The secondary school building has been without a principal since Ann Mecarriello left Wednesday March 31 to become superintendent of schools for Campbell-Savona Central School District in the Southern Tier.
CCS Business Manager Amy Kukenberger has been the acting building principal since Mecarriello’ s departure, just nine months after she was promoted from the elementary building to the middle/high school.
Mecarriello’s departure also came just one month into the tenure of new CCS Superintendent Sarah Spross who told Iron String Press on Monday, April 19, that she was shocked by the move.
Hiring a full-time principal by July 1, should not be a problem, Spross said, but searching for an interim as a first task in a new job was daunting.
“We’re very lucky we could get someone familiar to help us come back and close out our school year,” Spross said.
Not counting Kukenberger, but counting Gorman and other interims, Cooperstown has had six middle/high school principals since 2016, when Mike Cring left for an athletic director position downstate.
The district has also had five superintendents since 2016, from C.J. Hebert’s tragic death in an ATV accident to Spross’s hiring this winter.
Spross, who previously worked as an assistant state superintendent for the Maryland Department of Education, said she applied for the Cooperstown job believing she would be a good candidate to restore stability to the district.
“I have had longevity in all the positions I have held,” she said. “I’m here for the duration.”
Spross said her son will be entering middle school in the fall and she took the job seeking a place she could raise him. A native of Dutchess County, Spross said she thinks she prefers this part of the state to the downstate exurbs.
Spross said the school is doing well with the return to four-day-a-week classes, which began at the middle/high school Monday, April 12. Her first month as superintendent also brought a week-long return to remote classes because of positive coronavirus tests.
Spross said the district is working to navigate the divide between the U.S. Department of Education denying a New York waiver to cancel June Regents testing. However, the state has issued a ruling that the tests must only be used to measure learning and that students who cannot make the tests, because of pandemic or health related reasons, should not be penalized.