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Board names Atkinson as Watertown High School principal

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Leslie E. Atkinson has been appointed principal of Watertown High School, effective July 1.

The Watertown City School District Board of Education unanimously approved her Tuesday.

“She was the most highly qualified candidate,” said Superintendent Terry N. Fralick. “She was a graduate of Watertown High School and was an English teacher and was outstanding as an assistant principal.”

Mrs. Atkinson taught English in the district for 10 years and then served as assistant principal for three. She will be paid $105,000 per year and has a three-year probationary period from her start date to June 30, 2016.

She succeeds Lloyd L. Peck, who resigned last spring to become superintendent of the Chenango Forks Central School District.

Mr. Fralick expressed surprise that only six people applied for the position because about 20 applied before Mr. Peck was hired in 2010.

Mrs. Atkinson said after the meeting, “It was time to move on in my career. I felt ready for more responsibility. It is a privilege and an honor to enter this next phase in my career in the school that I love as we continue to serve the children and the families in our community.”

She said she will miss working with interim principal Joseph M. McGrath, who has more than 40 years of experience in education. Mrs. Atkinson, who has lived in the north country her entire life, said she does not plan any big changes for the school next year.

“What I’m hoping for is a period of calm and a period of predictability and a period of stability,” she said.

In other business, the district had its budget hearing. Mr. Fralick explained the $66.2 million budget and 4.95 percent tax levy increase to a small audience before the board meeting. At the end of the hearing, he highlighted the musicals, teams and events the students have participated in this year. No one in the audience had questions or comments.

The budget vote and board election are from noon to 9 p.m. May 21 at the high school and North Elementary School.

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