O-E superintendent retires after paid leave

OPPENHEIM – A school district superintendent who had been placed on paid administrative leave in February has retired.

Former Oppenheim-Ephratah Superintendent Dan Russom retired in April, Herkimer Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Mike Vivacqua said.

Russom, who was placed on paid leave for unspecified reasons, had worked for the district for eight years.

Russom’s retirement was accepted April 17 by the Board of Education, Vivacqua said.

“He retired of his own will,” Vivacqua said.

Russom and Chris Fatta, Oppenheim-Ephratah’s former principal and former head of the D.H. Robbins Elementary School in St. Johnsville, were both placed on administrative leave after Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel and then-Interim St. Johnsville Superintendent Laura Campione Lawrence began an investigation into complaints against the men.

School officials have not disclosed the nature of the complaints.

“I can tell you no formal charges were filed from those complaints,” Vivacqua said.

Fatta resigned May 31, the St. Johnsville district said.

Russom was in the final year of his contract, which paid him $127,920 in 2012, according to public records.

Russom will be eligible to stay under the district’s health and medical insurance because he served more than six years. Seventy percent of the cost would be paid by the school district.

Russom joined the district after 27 years in Northville, most spent as a history teacher. He became high school principal in 2001 and was appointed superintendent in Northville in 2004.

The Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school districts recently merged.

The new Board of Education selected Campione Lawrence as the new superintendent in May.

Campione Lawrence was unavailable for comment for this story.

Vivacqua released no further details regarding Russom’s retirement, including specifics about compensation.