CANTON — The Catholic elementary schools in Gouverneur and Canton will be sharing a school principal, after a search to replace the retiring Michele Meyers failed to find another qualified candidate.
Michele Lallier has spent the past two years employed as principal of St. James School in Gouverneur and will now also serve as interim principal of St. Mary’s School, 2 Powers St., Canton.
“We’re thrilled to have her on board,” said the Rev. Bryan Stitt, pastor of St. Mary’s Church, Canton. “We’re going to evaluate (the arrangement) as the year progresses.”
The Diocesan Education Office has approved the shared principal position.
Mrs. Lallier, who resides in Gouverneur, plans to split her work time between the two facilities, he said. St. Mary’s School has about 50 students enrolled in grades nursery through sixth while St. James has roughly 100.
“She is doing great things over there,” Rev. Stitt said, referring to St. James School.
While six people had applied for the principal position at St. Mary’s School, Rev. Stitt said none had all of the necessary qualifications. He noted that a resident of Budapest, Hungary was among the applicants.
Sharing a principal will help facilitate more collaboration between the two schools, including exchanging ideas among teachers and shared staff development days, he said.
In addition to Mrs. Lallier’s new position, Terry Feuka has been hired to serve as vice principal at St. Mary’s School.
St. Mary’s School has been working to increase enrollment. Two more combined classes have been added and now include nursery and pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first, third and fourth grades and fifth and sixth grades. The second-grade class will be one grade level.
The school also offers a latch-key child care program before and after school.
Originally from Central New York, Mrs. Lallier has an accounting degree from SUNY Canton, a bachelor’s degree in business education from SUNY Oswego and a master’s degree in reading and language arts from Marygrove College, Detroit, Mich. She also taught fourth grade at a Catholic school in Clarkston, Mich.
THE GIST OF IT
n WHAT: Michele Lallier, Gouverneur, will serve as principal of St. Mary’s School, Canton, and St. James School, Gouverneur
n ADDITIONAL HIRE: Terry Feuka will serve as vice principal at St. Mary’s School