O-E superintendent, St. Johnsville principal placed on leave; Michel appointed

February 1, 2013
Updated 8:48 a.m.
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— Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School District Superintendent Dan M. Russom and St. Johnsville Elementary School Principal Christopher Fatta were placed on administrative leave Thursday by Patrick Michel, superintendent of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES.

On Thursday night, the Oppenheim-Ephratah Board of Education appointed Michel as its interim superintendent.

Michel, on Facebook, said he wanted to "assure parents and members of the public that the circumstances surrounding Mr. Russom’s leave, and the leave of Mr. Christopher Fatta at the D.H. Robbins Elementary School in St. Johnsville, are not related to students or any financial improprieties."

The moves regarding Russom and Fatta were announced Thursday afternoon on Facebook of the merged Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District, but officials said further information would only be released "if and when appropriate."

Prior to coming to St. Johnsville Elementary School, Fatta was the building principal under Russom at Oppenheim-Ephratah when that district initially rejected the proposed merger in December 2011 after a heated campaign that included allegations of impropriety by both sides. Fatta took the St. Johnsville job the same month as that initial vote, replacing Laura Campione after she was promoted to district superintendent in St. Johnsville.

While O-E voters turned down the initial merger plan, St. Johnsville overwhelmingly voted in favor, and O-E residents later reversed course and voted in favor of the proposal in 2012.

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