Officials mum on principal shuffle

The Riverhead school board voted Tuesday to move Patricia Nugent —- who has been interim principal at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School — back to an assistant principal position, and move interim Phillips Avenue assistant principal Rita Moloney back to her old position as a literary coach July 1.

So does this mean that former Phillips Avenue Principal Thomas Payton will be headed back to that school?

Superintendent Diane Scricca would say only, “Mr. Payton already is a principal at the Roanoke Avenue Elementary School.”

The board in January voted to reassign Mr. Payton, who had been principal at Phillips Avenue since April 2005, to the Roanoke Avenue Elementary School, and appointed Ms. Nugent, who had been the assistant principal at Phillips Avenue, as the school’s interim principal. Board members then moved Ms. Maloney from a literary coach position into Ms. Nugent’s former position as assistant principal.

Dr. Scricca at the time said only that Mr. Payton had been “assigned to work with the principal at Roanoke Avenue.”

School officials never publicly gave a reason for the apparent demotion. But when the district listed administrative salaries in May, as required by the state, it listed six elementary school principals, even though there are only five elementary schools. Moving Ms. Nugent back to an assistant principal position brings that number back to five.

Tuesday’s school board meeting was the last of the current board, as the new school year starts July 1, and the board will have its organizational meeting at the first meeting in July, by which time more information is expected to be disclosed.



The school board said goodbye to 21 faculty members, one transportation director, one superintendent and two board members.

Dr. Scricca was given a plaque commemorating her retirement after three years in the district and 38 years in education. Deputy Superintendent Nancy Carney will replace Dr. Scricca in July.

Plaques also were presented to outgoing board members Mary-Ellen Harkin, who served 12 years on the board, and Christine Prete, who served six. They lost their re-election bids in May, and will be replaced in July by Amelia Lantz and Jeff Falisi.

Also retiring is transportation supervisor John McCormick, who has been with the district for 22 years. He has received numerous awards over the years for his work with the district. He will be replaced in July by Amala Cain, who is currently director of transportation for the Southampton school district.

Also honored were the 21 retiring teachers and other faculty members, seven of whom have been with the district more than 30 years, including popular high school science teacher Bob Jester, with 37 years, and Phillips Avenue elementary school teacher Ellen Schnable, who put in 37 years.

Others with more than 30 years include high school teacher Mary Twomey, with 34 years; Aquebouge elementary school teacher Kathleen McNary, with 33 years; Phillips Avenue teacher Janice Mackey, with 30 years; special education teacher Lorraine Miller, 30 years; and special education teacher Pamela Nomandeau, with 31 years.

The board also approved a change to its retirement incentive agreement, which will allow retiring teachers to split their incentive payments over two years, if they choose. This will lessen the first-year budget impact, officials said.


The board on Tuesday awarded two contracts totaling just over $1 million that are designed to bring the district’s doors and bathrooms into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The contract awarded to North Star Concrete for toilet upgrades totaled $529,024 and the contract to M.H. Kane Construction for door hardware upgrades totaled $484,500. Both submitted the lowest bids that met the bid specifications, officials said.

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