Carney to take helm as super

04/29/2010 12:00 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO
Diane Scricca (left) and Nancy Carney at the Riverhead school board meeting Tuesday night, after Ms. Carney was voted in as the next superintendent of schools, taking Dr. Scricca’s place.

Nancy Carney will be the Riverhead School District’s new superintendent on July 1, when current superintendent Diane Scricca retires.

The school board on Tuesday unanimously appointed Ms. Carney to the superintendent post, despite some rumblings during the past few weeks over the way the selection was made. The board also was unanimous in accepting Dr. Scricca’s retirement.

Ms. Carney came to the district about six years ago, serving as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction until last year, when she was promoted to deputy superintendent.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be accepting this position,” Ms. Carney told the board Tuesday. “I absolutely love this district. I’m going to give my heart and soul to what I do as the superintendent of schools. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us.”

“She’s an excellent instructional leader and I have every confidence that she could continue what we’ve started,” Dr. Scricca said of Ms. Carney in an interview with the News-Review last Thursday. “This isn’t a change; this is a succession. When you assign someone to a deputy post, you’re designating the person as the heir apparent.”

Board member Ann Cotten-DeGrasse had been critical of the process of appointing someone to the superintendent seat without advertising the opening. But, she said, she had no problem with appointing Ms. Carney.

“I thought the job should be posted. However, I don’t have any reservations at all about Nancy Carney becoming out next superintendent,” she said Tuesday. “I’m voting to support Ms. Carney’s appointment.”

Dr. Scricca’s retirement comes at the end of her third year as Riverhead superintendent. She had frequently said she planned to stay here a long time.

But that feeling obviously changed.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the last three years, really maybe more than I would have thought,” she said Thursday. “But it’s really difficult to battle every single day, and we’ve won most of the battles, but it takes a lot of joy out of the daily job.”

Dr. Scricca, who clashed frequently with the teachers’ union on layoffs, restructuring and disciplinary actions, isn’t planning to work in another district, but rather will pursue teaching at colleges while “working with national organizations in trying to close the achievement gap,” she said.

In her retirement letter to the board, Dr. Scricca noted that during her tenure, the district made gains both in academic achievement and in curbing spending.

“While we have strengthened our schools, we have been most responsive to our taxpayers by providing three budgets that have been fiscally responsible to them,” she wrote. “This year, we will have one of the lowest increases on Long Island.”

“We could not have asked for a better successor to Dr. Scricca than you,” board member Chrissy Prete told Ms. Carney.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of the work that we do here in the Riverhead district, of our students, of our faculty, and I’m just so excited about the future,” Ms. Carney said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ms. Prete also said she felt that “Dr. Scricca has done more in three years than any other superintendent in the past 15 years.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

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