OLEAN — The Olean City School District Board of Education has offered a former Salamanca school superintendent and Olean High School assistant principal its soon-to-be-open superintendent position.
The board agreed to offer Rick Moore the position on Thursday and expects to formally appoint him May 31 pending a successful contract negotiation, board President Michiko McElfresh announced in a statement Monday. The board expects Moore, who would succeed the retiring superintendent, Dr. Colleen Taggerty, to begin Aug. 1.
Moore, who was not immediately available for comment, has been the superintendent of Belleville Henderson Central School District in Jefferson County for the last 10 years. In addition to serving as OHS assistant principal, he was previously superintendent of Salamanca City Central School District and middle-high school principal for Otto-Eldred School District in Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from St. Bonaventure University in 1999.
“(The board) sincerely appreciate(s) the efforts of all committee members who provided input to the board that was so instrumental in our final decision,” McElfresh said in a statement. “Thank you again for your help and for your anticipated support of our new superintendent.”
McElfresh declined to comment any further, citing ongoing contract negotiations.
Taggerty deferred comment to McElfresh, but added her role is to “welcome Mr. Moore back into our Husky family and assist with the leadership transition.”
Moore had been publicly named a superintendent finalist for at least four other districts this spring, including at General Brown, Peru and Trumansburg central school districts, as well as Patagonia Public Schools. In late March Moore withdrew his application to Trumansburg and Peru chose to name an interim superintendent and not hire any of its three finalists, according to various media reports.
Moore was terminated as Salamanca’s superintendent in October 2007. The decision fell under a no fault clause, and the board did not elaborate on its decision.
While Moore was superintendent of Belleville Henderson in March 2016, parents of a student filed a $10 million notice of claim against the district alleging they were subjected to “a series of malicious acts” after reporting alleged racial bullying, according to an article published by the Watertown Daily Times. Jeffrey J. and Michelle L. Remington alleged that after reporting abusive behavior from parents at sporting events, including the alleged use of a racial slur, they and their son were subjected to pattern of harassment from school officials, according to the article. A notice of claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.
A source with knowledge of the Olean search said both issues were brought up during Moore’s interview process, but those involved with the search were satisfied with Moore’s answers and did not believe the issues were relevant to the decision-making process. The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said Moore told interviewers the notice of claim had been resolved.
McElfresh again declined comment when asked about the notice of claim against Belleville Henderson.
The Olean board did not publicly announce Moore as a finalist before offering him the position. In 2008, the last time the district conducted a superintendent search, the district announced two finalists and held public question-and-answer sessions with both. The board eventually hired Taggerty, then an assistant superintendent at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES.
When asked why the board did not hold a public forum with finalists, McElfresh said the board had a different search consultant, Dr. Alan Pole of Castallo & Silky LLC, than used in 2008. She added the board had several committees interview finalists, one of which was a committee of Olean residents. The board also conducted an online survey and held a luncheon to get feedback on the kind of superintendent the community wanted.
The board will continue to negotiate a contract with Moore. During portions of meetings with Pole that were open to the public, the board agreed it would be most comfortable offering its next superintendent a three-year contract with a salary between $150,000 and $175,000, and that prefers the next superintendent live in Olean.