Dr. Scricca will retire as schools super

04/23/2010 12:00 AM |

Superintendent Diane Scricca in a hallway in the Middle School
in January. Dr. Scricca is retiring July 1 after three years
with the district.

Diane Scricca will retire July 1 as superintendent of the Riverhead School District, and deputy superintendent Nancy Carney appears poised to take her place, Dr. Scricca told the News-Review on Thursday.
The school board will vote Tuesday, April 27, on Dr. Scricca’s resignation “for purposes of retirement,” which will be immediately followed by a vote on a resolution appointing Ms. Carney, Dr. Scricca said.
Dr. Scricca was hired by the district in 2007.
“We’ve accomplished a lot in the last three years, really maybe more than I would have thought,” she said. “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 has had several run-ins with the teacher’s union over layoffs, restructuring and disciplinary measures in her years with the district. She also took some heat in the months before and after February’s $123 million schools expansion referendum, which was defeated handily.
But she oversaw several achievements in the district, which she highlights in her resignation letter, acquired by the paper.
“Student achievement results have risen dramatically and for the first time, the district is a ‘district in good standing’ as awarded by New York State,” she wrote. “We have focused on developing professional practices at every level from how the District Office is managed, to how the union conducts business in our schools, to how teachers interact with their students.”
She also touts in her letter the success of the district’s STAR Academy for at-risk students, a strengthened literacy program and improved hiring practices that “focus on the best candidates rather than resorting to nepotism and cronyism.”
And she applauded school board members for providing three “fiscally responsible” budgets since 2007.
Dr. Scricca isn’t planning to work in another district, but rather pursue teaching at colleges while “working with national organizations in trying to close the achievement gap,” she told the paper.
Ms. Carney, previously an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, was promoted to deputy superintendent last year.
“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, expressing certainty her understudy’s appointment is secure. “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.”
But Tuesday’s vote on Ms. Carney might not be unanimous.
School board member Anne Cotten-DeGrasse, in a story published in the News-Review April 15 on Dr. Scricca’s possible retirement, said she disagreed with the board’s plan to hire in-house without interviewing other applicants.
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Read more in the April 29 edition of the News-Review.