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Westport postpones superintendent hire

WESTPORT - Westport Central School has decided to forego a decision to instate a permanent superintendent, at least for now.

At a May 14 special meeting held at 9:30 a.m., the school board voted unanimously to close the search "with the intention to consider its options" for hiring a new superintendent.

The decision comes after a four-month search for a permanent superintendent narrowed the field to four candidates. A stakeholder committee of 17 community members interviewed each candidate and submitted evaluations to the board.

Dr. John Gallagher currently serves as interim superintendent after taking over for a retired Karen Tromblee in late December.

"Dr. Gallagher as our interim has worked out very well," said school board president Alice LaRock, "and we know we can continue on with him until a decision is made."

Gallagher, who has also served as an interim administrator at Willsboro Central School and Champlain Valley Educational Services, is paid on a per-diem basis.

"As it stands right now, I'm here for the foreseeable future," said Gallagher, who has expressed his willingness to stay on indefinitely. "If that's a year, that's great. If it's more than a year, that's great, too."

LaRock said the four superintendent candidates were notified of the search being closed, but would not rule out the possibility of one of them being offered the post at a future time.

The school board's next meeting is scheduled for June 11, but LaRock said she doesn't anticipate a decision before the end of the present school year.

"It's a thought process the five of us are going to have to sit down and discuss and find out which direction we want to go," said LaRock. "We know some community members have had some concerns about our budget, so we're going to have to take that into consideration."

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