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School Board hires 3 new principals

The North Tonawanda Board of Education has hired three new principals to replace three administrators who retired Saturday.

Superintendent Vincent J. Vecchiarella said the board has hired Karen Cuddy-Miller from the Niagara-Wheatfield Central School District, Richard Jetter from the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District and Wendy Richards from Buffalo Public Schools to fill the vacancies.

They will replace Drake Elementary School Principal Jan Presser, Spruce Elementary School Principal Nancy Teubner and North Tonawanda Middle School Principal Richard Barone.

Cuddy-Miller will be paid $84,653 next year to be in charge of Ohio Street Elementary School, while Principal Janet Matyevich, who was at Ohio Elementary this past year, will take the helm at Drake Elementary.

Jetter will receive an $86,228 salary for 2007-08 to take over for Teubner at Spruce Elementary, and Richards will move in as top administrator at the middle school at an $85,000 salary.

The three new administrators will start July 16, Vecchiarella said. He said the three have a lot of administrative experience.

He said Cuddy-Miller most recently was the assistant principal at Errick Road Elementary School in Wheatfield and before that served about 18 years as a special education teacher in the Williamsville Central School District.

Jetter was the assistant principal at Franklin Middle School for the past four years and was an English language arts teacher before that.

Richards was an assistant principal at Buffalo's Grover Cleveland High School for five years and also worked at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. She also was a special education teacher in Buffalo and for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Vecchiarella said the district did an extensive search for the new principals. He said the district advertised and actively looked for candidates in various ways, including through the New York State jobs Web site, college and university placement offices, The Buffalo News, and by sending notification to area school districts. He said 140 people inquired about the positions.

A 13-member screening committee made up of administrators, teachers and parents reviewed the applications, interviewed candidates and made a list of finalists. From the group of finalists, Vecchiarella said he made his recommendation of the candidates for each principal position to the School Board, which approved them at its June 12 meeting.

"I'm excited about working with these people," Vecchiarella said. "They have a lot of knowledge and are very caring, kid-oriented individuals who will fit well with our administrative team as we address the district goal, which is to improve academic achievement for all students.

"I believe they have what it takes to make North Tonawanda a premier school district," he said.

As for the retirees, Vecchiarella said Presser and Teubner both retired in 2005 and then continued to serve the district for two more years. Presser is a 39-year veteran who worked as a teacher and as a principal. Teubner had a 40-year career carrying out similar tasks. Barone is retiring after serving North Tonawanda schools for 13 years.

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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