New principal named for OESJ High School

ST. JOHNSVILLE – The Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville High School has a new principal, according to an official.

OESJ Central School District Acting Superintendent Thomas Gallagher said the district approved a new high school principal, David Slater, to replace former principal Ronald Smith.

Gallagher said a special meeting held Aug. 1 led to the board picking Slater out of three candidates.

“It was very close,” Gallagher said

The board approved Slater unanimously Thursday. He is expected to start sometime between now and Sept. 2.

“He may start this week; we may find that out sometime this week,” Gallagher said.

Slater comes to the high school after working two years as grades K through 12 principal at Charlotte Valley Central School in Davenport, Delaware County. Prior to this, Gallagher said Slater served as a math teacher and as an administrative intern at Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School in Cobleskill.

During the Aug. 1 meeting, Gallagher said the board discussed the three applicants until 10:30 p.m. After members of the school’s faculty and members of the community chimed in, Slater came out ahead.

Slater will be paid an annual salary of more than $82,000, with Gallagher saying Slater was a good match for the price.

Smith resigned in late June after a leave of absence for undisclosed reasons. According to Gallagher, in June, Smith sought opportunities elsewhere. Through the terms of his agreement, Smith was to be paid his salary up until Aug. 3.

Ted Kawryga was formally named the acting principal of OESJ High School in June after he was chosen to temporarily fill in for Smith.

Gallagher said Kawryga would assist the new principal during the transition. He did not say how long that arrangement would last.

In other news, the board approved a new director of facilities.

Michael Catalina was chosen July 31 to replace Dan Parker, who stepped down that day. Catalina started Aug. 1, and will receive a yearly salary of $49,900.