Controversy continues to swirl around the firing of Cooperstown Junior/Senior High School principal Karl O’Leary.

“I never received a negative evaluation,” O’Leary said during an interview with CNY News while discussing his employment history since graduating from SUNY Oneonta in 2002.

O’Leary was hired in July 2021 and let go on March 18th. His employment lasted fewer than nine months. He was the fourth consecutive Cooperstown principal to stay less than a year.

Cooperstown Superintendent Sarah Spross has not said publicly why O’Leary was let go. In a statement she said, the “process prohibits me from answering” questions about employees.

In a phone call Friday to the principal’s office, the woman who answered the phone and did not give her name said, “Mr. O’Leary is unavailable for the foreseeable future.”

O’Leary, 42 years old, is also not saying why he was fired. “What I’m allowed to say is that I’m a public school employee and I can not comment on any personnel matters.”

When asked if he was still being paid, O’Leary said, “I would have to direct that to the Superintendent of Schools, Ms. Spross.”

There has been public discussion of O’Leary’s employment history. The record shows he moved upstate after teaching English for 15 years on Long Island. He then had a series of short-term assignments, internships and in 2020 was laid off because of Covid budget cuts. There is no record of any unprofessional behavior or mismanagement.

Spross said O’Leary’s dismissal was not a “distraction” for students, faculty or staff. And there was “no safety issue.”

The school board is expected to discuss the situation during its next regularly scheduled meeting April 20th.

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