O-E district head out on paid leave

ST. JOHNSVILLE – Oppenheim-Ephratah Superintendent Dan Russom and St. Johnsville’s D.H. Robbins Elementary School Principal Christopher Fatta were placed on paid administrative leave of absence Thursday, according to the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel will serve as interim superintendent at Oppenheim-Ephratah until further notice, according to the Facebook page of the newly merged Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville schools.

The Facebook page stated Michel placed Russom and Fatta on administrative leave “until further notice.”

“Further information will be released if and when appropriate,” the Facebook page stated.

Michel could not be reached for comment this morning.

The Oppenheim-Ephratah Board of Education appointed Michel as the district’s interim superintendent Thursday night, the Facebook page stated.

Russom declined to comment on the matter this morning.

The announcement on the Facebook page states the leaves of absence “are not related to students or any financial improprieties.”

Russom had previously expressed interest in serving as the superintendent for the newly merged Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville school district.

The decision on the merged district’s superintendent is expected to be made after the seven new school board members are elected March 19.

Michel has been involved with the merger process. He made recommendations and is expected to make further recommendations during the search for a new superintendent of the merged district.

Oppenheim-Ephratah residents voted to merge with St. Johnsville on Dec. 11. St. Johnsville residents voted to approve the merger in December 2011.

Residents of the merged district voted Tuesday for a seven-member board, and decided that members will serve three-year terms.

The new district will begin on July 1.

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