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Lake Placid superintendent's contract will not be renewed

Dr. Richards will continue to serve through 2012-2013 school year

Lake Placid High School

Lake Placid High School Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Superintendent of the Lake Placid Central School District, Dr. Randy Richards announced in a press release he will no longer serve as superintendent after the 2012-2013 school year.

“I intend to leave the Lake Placid Central School District at the end of the 2012-2013 school year as the Board of Education indicated that they will not be renewing my contract,” Richards wrote.

This year, the school administrator has been the target of outraged members of the community. The very public call for Richards termination stems from a February 2011 incident in which Richards had made comments in a private meeting with then Middle/High School Principal Katherine Mulderig where he referred to her and other female elementary employees as “bitchy.”

Mulderig filed a gender discrimination complaint against Richards last year and the Equal Opportunity Employment Coalition subsequently found that Richards engaged in both gender discrimination and retaliation against Mulderig, creating a hostile work environment for the principal.

On May 1, the school board approved a $65,000 budget transfer toward a settlement agreement with an unnamed individual after Mulderig had announced in April she would be leaving her position. It was later reported that she was the one that had accepted a settlement offer.

Through multiple platforms, community members rallied support in favor of Richard’s resignation since the incident with Mulderig became public.

On Dec. 21, nearly 40 Middle/High School Students gathered outside the district’s administrative services building in between classes. During the Feb. 21 school board meeting, former Middle/High School Principal Robert Schiller delivered a petition signed by 600 community members to the board asking for Richard’s termination.

The issue has also been the subject of multiple sessions of, “For the Good of the Cause,” portions of school board meetings, which opens the meetings to public comment.

The school board had also held numerous meetings that were called solely for the purpose of moving into executive session, mostly to discuss specific personnel and administration.

The release from Richards was dated June 22, the last day of school for the district and the same day as commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2012.

Richards began as school superintendent on July 1, 2010, with a three year contract. At that time, he said to the Valley News his goals were to reestablish a healthy relationship between the community and the school administration. Richards noted the difficulty the district had endured with a quick succession of superintendents in the past few years.

"It's going to be about restoring people's faith in the administration," he wrote.

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