LEE -- A former North County school superintendent has come out of retirement to temporarily lead the Lee Public Schools.
The Lee and Tyringham school committees have officially hired Alfred Skrocki of Adams as the part-time interim school boss to replace outgoing Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless. Lee and Tyringham are part of Union 29, the school district that oversees the Lee school system.
On Tuesday night, the two school boards approved a per diem contract based on Skrocki's $115,000 annual salary when he retired in October following a 38-year career in the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District -- the last 14 as superintendent. The successful contract negotiations come two weeks after the committees offered Skrocki the job.
Under the 1-year deal from July 1 through June 30, Skrocki will average a three-day work week at $440 per day. McCandless is wrapping up his eight-year stint as Lee's full-time school superintendent, earning an annual salary of just over $100,000.
The committees and Skrocki say they are comfortable with a part-time superintendent after McCandless officially leaves Lee on June 30 to become the new superintendent of the Pittsfield Public Schools.
"It's a bit of a change, but we'll be OK," Tyringham School Committee Chairwoman Pam Curtin said after the meeting. "We're very lucky [Skrocki] is close by."
Given today's technology, Skrocki expects to always be within reach.
"Just because I'm not always on site, doesn't mean we can't communicate," he said referring to the school district.
Last month, the school boards began making calls to several area retired school superintendents asking if they were interested in the interim position after a failed search in May for a full-time temporary school boss.
They were unable to reach a contract agreement with John "Jack" Rizzo, head of school at St. Theresa School, a Catholic school in Honolulu. The West Springfield native was looking to finish his 25-year educational career in Western Massachusetts and be closer to his grandchild.
In hiring a local former superintendent, Lee and Tyringham school board members feel Skrocki can make a smooth transition out of retirement.
Skrocki, 61, expects he will fit in well in the Lee Public Schools.
"Lee has done an outstanding job getting themselves in a good position," he said. "The main goal going into the new [fiscal] year is to maintain the direction established by Jake and his staff."
Skrocki inherits a school system that has a current enrollment of 791 students in kindergarten through Grade 12.
It has 150 teachers, administrators and support staff, with an operating budget of $8.14 million effective July 1.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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