Superintendent Harriet Copel is leaving Shoreham-Wading River

12/07/2010 9:04 PM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Harriet Copel announced Tuesday that she will not seek another term once her contract expires at the end of July.

Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Harriet Copel announced Tuesday that she will not seek another term once her contract expires at the end of July.

“In order to plan appropriately for my future and that of my family, I’ve decided to pursue other opportunities and therefore I will not request an extension of my contract,” she said at the beginning of Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting at Prodell Middle School.

Dr. Copel has been at the helm of the district since 2005 after previously serving as an administrator in Queens.

The board voted 4-3, with opposition from Leo Greeley, Mike Fucito and Bill McGrath, to accept Dr. Copel’s statement and to begin the process of a superintendent search.

The board could still consider Dr. Copel as a possible candidate.

“They would have to ask me to be a part of the search,” Dr. Copel said.

Since Dr. Copel didn’t resign, Mr. McGrath said he opposed the resolution because it’s “premature to begin a superintendent search.”

“I think there are positions the board needs to consider before we can decide to implement a search,” he said.

Board president Jack Costas and vice president Marie Lindell said the resolution will allow the board to hold a meeting to define the process of selecting a superintendent.

“We need to do this soon rather than later,” Ms. Lindell said. “I suggest we make a meeting as soon as possible with a public forum to discuss the process of how we should go about starting the superintendent search.”

Dr. Copel said she made her decision this past weekend and might consider seeking another superintendency, retiring from her 38-year public education career or seeking other employment.

“I can do anything I want,” she said. “I’ve had a wonderful run in Shoreham-Wading River. We’ve accomplished many things.”

Dr. Copel’s contract expires on July 31.

It’s been a rocky road for the superintendent in a district with a long history of taxpayer dissatisfaction. The district’s budget was failed on the first go-round three times in her tenure and the schools twice ran on a contingency budget. Dr. Copel also had a difficult time getting a bond to upgrade middle school facilities passed, having to bring the plan to a vote a second time before gaining taxpayer approval.

A special meeting to consider extending her contract was postponed last month.

jennifer@northshoresun.com