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Sweet Home Superintendent Gary R. Cooper has accepted the top post in the Frontier Central School District.

Cooper, 49, is expected to take over the superintendency in Frontier in early November, said Frontier School Board President Michael Comerford.

Cooper was one of three finalists for the job at Frontier, which opened up when Gerald R. Glose retired June 30.

Cooper's selection ends a nine-month quest for a superintendent that attracted 16 candidates but no finalist in the first round, and a second search that yielded 36 applications, including Cooper's. Vincent J. Coppola has been serving as interim superintendent and headed up the second search team.

"I'm excited about it," Cooper said. "This is an outstanding district with great test scores."

With 5,500 students and a $51 million budget, Frontier also is a bit larger than Sweet Home, which has 4,000 students and a $44 million budget. Cooper said he also was attracted to Frontier because he has family in the area, including his mother in North Evans.

The School Board informed Cooper on Friday that he was the top candidate, and gave him the weekend to decide. The board and Cooper have not had time to negotiate a contract this week.

The board had planned to offer the new superintendent a three-year contract with a starting salary in the $125,000 range. Cooper's salary is $122,000. Glose retired earning $107,716, plus a performance incentive of $1,050.

Cooper, who has been superintendent at Sweet Home since Aug. 15, 1991, was the unanimous choice of the Frontier Central School Board, Comerford said. Cooper said he was impressed with the board's knowledge of and dedication to education issues.

"It prides itself on teaching and learning," Cooper said.

He said he was not sure when he would be able to start at Frontier.

"Obviously I want to make sure Sweet Home is OK," he said. "I'm very fortunate. I've come from a very good employment situation here in Sweet Home."

Before joining Sweet Home, he was an assistant superintendent of the Souderton Area School District near Philadelphia.

Cooper said he plans no immediate changes at Frontier.

"It's going to be a steep learning curve for me," he said. "I'll spend a few months listening."

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