UTICA — The North Fork Local School District board of education hired a new middle school principal at its Monday meeting.

The board formally accepted a letter of resignation from middle school Principal Marcia Rutherford and approved Shawn Wilhelm to take her place.

Rutherford spent four years as principal of Utica Middle School. She told the News that she had taken a job with another district, but declined to say where.

“My family and I agonized over this decision,” said Rutherford via email. “During these four years, I grew personally and professionally and was supported by every facet of the district; from the custodians to the board. I have made friendships that I hope will last far into the future. The work we did together is significant and I only pray the next administrator carries them farther.”

Wilhelm will join the district after 23 years as a high school math and engineering teacher at Highland High School. He has a bachelor’s in mathematics from Malone University and master’s in curriculum and instruction from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and educational leadership from the American College of Education.

The new administrator said that student improvement will be his main priority.
“I know there’s work to be done here. I’m ready to dig in and make sure the students are ready to go,” said Wilhelm. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to help them be as successful as they can be.”

“The (hiring) committee really enjoyed talking with him,” said Hartley. “He’s kid-centered, kid-focused. He had some great ideas on things we could be doing.”

The board also gave its approval to enter into a contract with BSHM Architects for pre-bond issue and programming services. The company will help administrators make plans for the construction of a new middle school.

Hartley said the district is at the very beginning stages of the project. BSHM will serve as a consultant as the district develops future facility plans and the board will chose a contractor to complete the project at a later date. Hartley told the News he does not anticipate starting the construction phase of the project until 2025.

Hartley wasn’t sure of the exact year the current middle school was built, but said it was some time in the 1950s or 1960s. Pipes are starting to rot through, there’s asbestos in the building and the facility doesn’t have the electrical capacity to keep up with updates in technology.

The board also:

•Accepted resignations from elementary Teacher Hannah Broseus, high school math Teacher Brian White, middle school Intervention Specialist Andrea Minnich and Paraprofessional Aide Maralou Lyons. Lyons will be retiring.

•Approved the employment of elementary Teacher Chandra Gardner, middle school science Teacher Bethany Watson, middle school math Teacher Cassidy Rexrode, high school computer science Teacher Jennifer Trost, Instructional Aides Melissa Woodard, Shawn Sapp and Spencer Kendall and Custodians Sylina Elliotte and James Wilfong.

•Approved the purchase of a 2019 Ford Transit van from Mathews Ford at $28,084.50.

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Katie Ellington: 740-397-5333 or katie@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @kt_ellington