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Lew-Port hunt to fill top post under way

After being without a school superintendent for 26 months, the Lewiston-Porter School Board finally has kicked off a formal search for a new academic leader.

The board hopes to appoint someone to the district's top post by the end of the school year.

The last Lew-Port superintendent, Whitney K. Vantine, left the district in August 2005 to take a job on Long Island.

Since that time, Assistant Superintendent Don W. Rappold -- who normally handles district finances, personnel and building operations -- also has had to take on the role of academic leader with the title of interim superintendent. He has told the board from the start he isn't interested in the superintendent's post permanently.

The job could pay "up to $160,000 a year," depending on the experience and accomplishments of the selected candidate, board President Robert L. Laub said last week.

"We're offering a salary of up to that amount because we want to attract some very good, very talented people . . .," Laub said. "The board would like the new superintendent to start work here by July 1."

He said that could happen earlier, depending on how the search process goes.

The board started the search in mid-October, sending out colorful brochures to universities in the state that offer education administration programs and by taking out ads in publications that are circulated to people who might be possible candidates.

Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Education Services School Superintendent Clark Godshall, who is helping with the search, also has sent information to all BOCES operations throughout the state.

Laub said the word also is being spread out of state, but he added, "The bulk of our advertising is being done here in New York State."

The board set Dec. 14 as the deadline for candidates to submit their applications.

"At that point we'll begin the screening process with Dr. Godshall" and come up with a list of top candidates, Laub said.

Stakeholder groups that represent people who have a serious interest in the school district -- "like people from the teachers union, the community, the administrative staff" -- will have a chance to meet those candidates and provide input to the board, the board president said.

Speaking for the board, Laub said, "It is our intention to offer a choice and have a public process in helping select a superintendent."

e-mail: pwestmoore@buffnews.com

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