By Dave Dahl
A new interim superintendent started Wednesday in the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District.
Sylvia Root is assuming the top post until June 30. The School Board appointed her during a special meeting Tuesday night.
Superintendent Paul Connelly remains the superintendent of record until his vacation ends June 30. His status beyond that point is uncertain, said Allison Duwe, the board’s president.
“We do not now know what the district’s relationship with Dr. Connelly will be,” she said afterward.
Since Connelly’s vacation started May 4, Theodore Welch, business administrator, has served as interim superintendent. Welch will return to his usual duties, which include overseeing transportation.
If Connelly leaves at the end of June, Root may remain in the post. Board members will name a search consultant if necessary.
“If and when Dr. Connelly is no longer the superintendent of schools, then a search will be conducted,” Duwe said.
When asked whether the board plans to remove Connelly, Duwe would not divulge the board’s opinion of his performance. She stressed finding an interim superintendent became necessary because of Connelly’s comments in the news media and the board’s desire to let Welch resume his normal responsibilities.
The board took action because “there have been enough public comments made by Dr. Connelly,” she said.
Connelly has accused the board of wanting to dismiss him because he has been applying for jobs.
Duwe denied the board wants to terminate his employment for that reason.
Before hiring Root, board members received advice from a search consultant, David O’Rourke, superintendent of the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.
Root has worked for several districts as an interim superintendent since retiring in 2005. She most recently held that title in the Holland Central School District and previously held that post in the Potsdam, Cattaraugus-Little Valley and Oxford districts and the Warren County School District in Pennsylvania.
She served as the Potsdam Central School District’s superintendent until her retirement. Her career also included stints as a part-time mathematics professor at Corning Community College and a mathematics teacher, assistant principal and principal in various districts.
Root earned her administrative certification from Brockport State College and a master’s degree in mathematics secondary education from Elmira College.