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Hammond appoints interim super

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HAMMOND — The Hammond Board of Education appointed Randy C. Richards, Winthrop, as interim superintendent Tuesday night at a salary of $475 per day.

Mr. Richards, former Lake Placid Central School superintendent, replaces Douglas H. McQueer.

School board members decided Sept. 18 to proceed with hiring Mr. Richards. The unanimous decision to appoint him was made with no further discussion Tuesday. About a dozen people attended the meeting. No one spoke during the public comment period.

Mr. Richards will serve as full-time superintendent until a permanent leader is hired, which is anticipated by July 1.

The search for a permanent replacement will begin this month, according to district officials.

Within the next couple of weeks, Mr. Richards said, he plans to meet with parents to discuss concerns over the new Common Core curriculum.

Mr. Richards, who appeared with the school board Tuesday night, said he already has met with teachers.

“I am pleased to be here and manage the district during some of the most challenging times in education,” Mr. Richards said. “My first week was interesting, and I was pretty overwhelmed by the response from the teachers. Hammond prides itself on having a family atmosphere here, and that to me seems pretty obvious.”

Mr. Richards said his main concern over the next few months will be focusing on communication between teachers and the administration.

He was critical of what he described as recent “surprises in the media” concerning news reports of the superintendent search and a possible merger with Morristown Central School.

The teachers “were caught unawares, and it was really quite embarrassing for the district,” Mr. Richards said. “I will stress for good communications and accurate reporting. We can’t control the reporting, but I will meet with the reporter who ran those stories to see if I can establish a relationship with her and set some ground rules. I don’t mind the reporting, but let’s be objective here.”

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