Watertown names new school superintendent

Watertown schools select new superintendent
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 12:29 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown City Schools have a new superintendent.

Dr. Larry Schmiegel will take over in May, nearly one year after Patti LaBarr announced her retirement.

“I think it was done properly,” school board president Jason Harrington said.

Harrington believes the board did it right when choosing its next superintendent.

The search began when LaBarr announced she was retiring in June of last year.

“It’s been somewhat of a long process,” Harrington said, “but we wanted to do it right, and that meant involving the community, the teachers, and the students.”

Schmiegel was chosen for the job. He’s the principal at a high school in Key West, Florida but is from Chittenango and has worked in the Syracuse and Oswego city school districts.

“He’s excited to come back,” Harrington said, “and his two boys are excited to come up and face the north country winter.”

Harrington says the board used a lot of feedback from the community when making its final decision between Schmiegel, Robert Finster, and Tom Jennings.

During a Q and A session in January, all three faced the public.

“We took the feedback from the community and we each individually weighed in our opinion with the public’s comments,” Harrington said. “In terms of Dr. Schmiegel, I think what stood out about him, is he’s a visionary, he’s young and energetic.”

The district has had two interim superintendents since LaBarr left in August. Roger Adams was appointed to the role in late January. He’ll stay in that position until Schmiegel starts on May 1.

“I think he will help Dr. Schmiegel transition into his new role,” Harrington said.

Schmiegel will be formally appointed at a special board meeting on Friday evening.