Dr. Scricca may retire

Diane Scricca

Riverhead School District Superintendent Diane Scricca may be retiring this summer, the News-Review has learned.

She has asked the school board for a waiver that would allow her to retire at the end of June, school board member Ann Cotten-DeGrasse told the paper.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse also said a majority of the seven-member board is looking to promote someone in-house to the superintendent position without seeking other candidates.

Reached Monday, Dr. Scricca said she is considering retiring, but added that “I have not put in any retirement papers.”

Dr. Scricca was hired in May 2007 and will complete her third year as superintendent of the large district at the end of June. She has asked the school board to grant a waiver to a contract clause that requires six months’ notice before retiring, Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said.

The superintendent would not comment on the waiver issue.

“I’m not going to speak to that,” she said. “This is personal business and Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse should not be speaking to the paper about personnel issues.”

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said Dr. Scricca asked to retire either June 30 or Aug. 31 and the board has informally agreed to the June 30 date, since that marks the school year’s end.

School board members were told of Dr. Scricca’s intent by phone about a week ago, Ms. Cotten-Degrasse said, adding that the board then met in executive session last Thursday to discuss issues surrounding the potential retirement.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said she could not disclose the name of Dr. Scricca’s potential replacement because the matter was discussed in executive session, which is not open to the public.

But, she said, she’s going public with the news of the retirement because several residents had already asked her about it, and because she doesn’t think it’s an issue that should be kept in-house.

“People in the community have called me and had all the particulars already, so somebody’s talking,” Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said.

“I think the community is already mad at us because they feel we weren’t really listening to them on the bond issue, and some of the comments by board members afterward further inflamed them,” Ms. Cotten-Degrasse later said, citing a recently defeated schools expansion plan.

And though the school board member is against hiring a new superintendent without advertising the position, she acknowledged that such a move would not be illegal.

“My thought on this is, you once again seem to be bypassing the whole community by not advertising the position,” she said.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse is a former Riverhead teacher and former president of the Riverhead teachers’ union, which has been at odds with Dr. Scricca over many issues since her hiring.

Earlier this year, the board granted a two-year extension to Dr. Scricca’s contract. The extension runs through June 30, 2013, and does not provide for changes in salary or benefits, which will have to be negotiated later. Dr. Scricca took no increase in her $219,660 salary this school year, but did get six additional paid vacation days.

Dr. Scricca boasts more than 38 years in the educational field, starting as a teacher in the New York City school system and serving as deputy superintendent in the Malverne School District prior to coming to Riverhead. She also was an assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and grants in the Glen Cove district, and the principal of Elmont High School.

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