Keene seeks options with Ford-Johnston retirement

Keene Central School Superintendent Cynthia Ford-Johnston and school board president James Marlatt.

Keene Central School Superintendent Cynthia Ford-Johnston and school board president James Marlatt. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— There was a lot of reluctance, but the members of the Keene Central School Board accepted the retirement letter of Superintendent Cynthia Ford-Johnston at its March 20 meeting.

“Do we really have to,” joked vice president Teresa Cheetham-Palen. “We will miss you.”

The board also started to put in place their plan to replace Johnston, which featured two options: the hiring of a part-time superintendent and full-time K-12 Principal similar to what Westport Central School currently has in place, or the hiring of a full-time superintendent/principal.

“The board has been grappling with the best configuration for these positions,” Johnston said. “We are looking at whether we should maintain what we have, meld things together or re-configure.”

School Board president James Marlatt said that the board will begin seeking candidates as well as creating a search committee.

“We need to think about who should be on that committee,” Marlatt said. “We should make sure that the board, teachers, students and community are all involved in this matter.”

Marlatt said that their candidate search would be open to both options.

“All of the options are open, and we will interview candidates with that in mind,” Marlatt said, who added that the board has been very pleased with the job done by Johnston.

“She has done a tremendous job for the students, faculty, school and community of Keene,” he said.

The search will start immediately and continue through the application deadline of April 23. Johnston said that they will advertise in trade publications as well as locally.

“There are some schools around here that are laying off principals and assistant principals, so there could be someone good that is right around here,” Johnston said.

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