As school year looms, interim principal hired, building ‘very much still under construction’

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The Granville Board of Education was informed by superintendent Tom McGurl of the progress with construction during the summertime at Granville Junior/Senior High School during its meeting on Aug. 8.

A new interim principal at the high school and an update on summer construction at the Junior/Senior High School showcased the Aug. 8 Granville Board of Education meeting.

Beecher Baker was appointed by the board unanimously to be the principal of Granville Junior/Senior High School for the 2022-23 school year starting Aug. 29.

Granville Junior/Senior High School interim principal Beecher Baker – Courtesy of Queensbury Union Free School District

Baker, a former superintendent of the Hadley Luzerne Central School District and principal at Whitehall Central School District, was placed through two separate interview committees, according to school superintendent Tom McGurl.

McGurl provided NYVTmedia with an email shared with Granville staff after inquiries were made of where the administration was in filling the void left by Lisa Meade’s departure for Schenectady City Schools.

“Two committees comprised of teachers, administrators and support staff, as well as a parent and student representatives, conducted initial interviews with prospective candidates, and the Board of Education conducted a final round shortly after,” McGurl said.

“Unfortunately, though we wanted to fill the position with a permanent person, the interviews did not yield a successful candidate. Given the time of the year and the pool of candidates, we have moved on to an interim principal who will be with us for the entire 22-23 school year.”

McGurl continued to deliver background information on Baker’s credentials and what he brings to the table as an educator, administrator and leader.

“Mr. Baker is no stranger to Granville. He is often seen out on the football field during games as one of the officials, and his wife, Karen, is from Granville. Mr. Baker grew up in Warrensburg but now lives in Queensbury and is a member of the Queensbury School Board,” McGurl said.

“Mr. Baker has adult children, as well as a son who attends Queensbury. Mr. Baker has a strong background in curriculum, teacher development, and student accountability. Before education, he was a U.S. Army Ranger who served our nation honorably.”

With the first day of school for grades 7-12 quickly approaching on Sept. 6 (Pre-K through 6 on Sept. 8), McGurl delivered a report on construction happenings within the district, specifically in the high school building.

“The building is very much still under construction,” McGurl said. “It is moving along but we are getting close to the ‘getting nervous point.’ Admittedly, they are working. There’s painting going on, the cement work on the floors is all done, the flooring is going in this week (week of Aug. 8).

“We still need ceilings and lights and everything that goes with a classroom space,” he added. “But they should be alright with the middle school. We haven’t hit any big bumps in the road.”

When asked by NYVTmedia via email on Aug. 10 if he was concerned about being 100% completed by Sept. 6, McGurl replied: “I am cautiously optimistic. The remaining work is mostly in the area of finishes. The demolition, construction, and systems work is largely completed.”

The superintendent said priority number one is making sure the classrooms are safe, furnished and operable.

One area that piqued interest was the status of the main gymnasium. McGurl said during the meeting the floor was being renovated and required a three-week waiting period to cure.

McGurl said indoor fall sports and physical education will not be affected by the timetable for completion.

“The main gym will be completed, but the new floor treatments will still be curing. This will not impact volleyball as we have three other gyms in the district that we can utilize short-term. The junior high gym will be used during inclement weather for physical education classes,” McGurl said.

Also coming to the gymnasium, according to McGurl, are new sports banners that are on order along with a blue-gold-blue stripe on the gym walls.

“It should be a really nice improvement,” he said.