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SAU 36 Superintendent placed on paid leave

Pat McLean, left, principal of the Lancaster School and Ellen Turcotte, principal of the Whitefield School, quietly wrote lists and shared notes at Monday night’s WMRSD school board meeting in the WMR High School library after the board voted unanimously, 6 to 0 — without explanation — to place SAU #36 Superintendent Dr. Lou Lafasciano on paid administrative leave until further notice and also asked these two elementary principals to direct Central Office affairs on its behalf. (Photo by Edith Tucker) (click for larger version)
December 02, 2009
WHITEFIELD — The seven-member White Mountains Regional School District school board voted unanimously, 6 to 0, at a special Monday night meeting to place Superintendent Dr. Lou Lafasciano on paid administrative leave until further notice.

Whitefield School principal Ellen Turcotte and Lancaster School principal Pat McLean will direct Central Office affairs on behalf of the board, the motion stipulated.

Chairman Greg Odell of Dalton said that the board would have no further comment.

Cathy Warren of Carroll was not at the meeting, which had been scheduled the previous Monday, to begin scrutinizing the proposed 2010 budget.

The meeting began without Supt. Lafasciano on hand at 7:10 p.m., 10 minutes late, apparently because the board had held an off-site executive session.

The board voted immediately to go into another executive session that lasted for half an hour.

When the board returned to public session, the motion placing Dr. Lafasciano on leave was immediately made and passed.

Following the vote, school board member Heather Boudle of Lancaster left to go to work, and the remaining board members listened attentively until 9:35 p.m. to budget presentations from three Directors: Marie Fay, Student Support Services; Rick Vashaw, Buildings and Grounds, and Jeremy Noyes, Information Technology.

The board voted at 9:35 p.m. to return for another executive session.

Shortly after 10 p.m., Dr. Lafasciano did not answer his home telephone in Whitefield, and he did not respond to a message requesting a comment.

Now in his third year serving as SAU #36 superintendent, Dr. Lafasciano was hired for by the WMRSD school board on May 21, 2007, chosen on a 5 to 1 vote from a pool of three finalists, with only school board member Lynne Holland voting "nay."

Dr. Lafasciano was then the outgoing superintendent-director of curriculum, instruction and assessment at the St. Johnsbury (Vt.) School, a position from which he resigned on April 2.

His SAU #36 contract called for $95,000 plus benefits in the first year of his three-year WMRSD contract, $97,500 in his second year, and $100,000 in 2009-2010. Prior to his post in St. Johnsbury, Dr. Lafasciano served over 10 years as a principal and district administrator for K-12 students in the Stafford School District, starting in 1995.

Before that, he served 10 years as principal of the Bethlehem Elementary School.

Dr. Lafasciano earned a doctorate in education in 2003 from the University of Vermont; a certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational administration in 1996 at UNH; a masters of education in 1984 from Plymouth State College; and two bachelor's degrees, the first in political science earned in 1978 from SUNY at Oswego, and the second in 1980 from Plymouth State College.

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