After scrambling to replace two of its four principals this summer, the Lewiston-Porter School District now must search for a new high school principal.
Principal Michael J. Gallagher has resigned to take a job as principal of Hamburg High School. Gallagher will make a base salary of $104,000 with the Hamburg School District, compared with $96,458 at Lew-Port.
Gallagher, who was appointed by the Hamburg School Board on Tuesday, said he will leave Lew-Port on Oct. 24 to start his new job.
The Lewiston-Porter Board was caught off guard at its Tuesday night meeting when Lewiston-Porter United Teachers President Jean Hennessey broached the matter in public while criticizing the board about the educational problems its zero percent budget increase for 2005-06 has created. She said it was hampering a multitide of programs, such as technology and curriculum coordination and development.
Hennessey said she did not blame Gallagher for leaving, since he was having to do a demanding job with one less person on his administrative staff.
In an interview Wednesday, Gallagher said there were "a multitude of reasons" why he was leaving the district, "but it's not because I don't like it. I love Lew-Port. I have a lot of friends there that I'll miss. It was a difficult decision, not an easy one for me to make. It was a decision I made for myself and for my family.
"I feel it is a good career move and it fits in better with my family life. Also, Hamburg is a known quantity for me. . . . I have roots there. It's where I started my administrative career. I was the assistant principal at Hamburg High School for four years before I came to Lew-Port [three years ago]. It's a nice district."
The new situation also works out better for his family life.
Gallagher also said the drive to Hamburg is shorter from his Williamsville home than the commute to Lew-Port High.
He also said he liked the timing of the Hamburg School district's vacations. "The vacation times match with my family's. "My children and my wife [who works for Erie County BOCES] have a February vacation break and so do Hamburg schools. But Lewiston-Porter doesn't. It has an Easter break instead."
Lewiston-Porter Interim School Superintendent Don Rappold said he is already advertising for a new principal. He said qualified candidates can apply through the Erie I BOCES online program called "Applicant Tracking."
The Lewiston-Porter School Board is no stranger to hiring principals. This summer it hired Tamara Larson, a BOCES administrator, as principal at Lewiston-Porter Intermediate School to replace David Livingston, who retired July 1. It also hired Assistant Kenmore Middle School Principal Vincent Dell'Oso as Lewiston-Porter Middle School principal. He replaced Jill A. Sherman, who left to become principal of Cleveland Hill High School in Cheektowaga. The only principal left from the 2004-05 school year is Lewiston-Porter Primary School Principal Margaret Beach.