New year brings changes at schools

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse is the new president of the Riverhead Board of Education, and Greg Meyer is the new vice president.

Both were elected by board members in a split vote during Tuesday’s organizational meeting of the board, as the official school year starts in July.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse replaces Angela DeVito, who was nominated for president but lost to Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse in a 4-3 vote. Board member Kathy Berezny and newly elected board members Amelia Lantz and Jeff Falisi voted for Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse (who also voted for herself), while Ms. DeVito had her vote along with those of Tim Griffing and Greg Meyer.

In the vote for vice president, a position previously held by Chrissy Prete, who lost her re-election bid in May, Mr. Meyer and Ms. Berezny were nominated. Ms. Berezny had the support of Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse and Ms. Lantz, as well as herself, but Mr. Falisi joined the other members of the seven-member board in supporting Mr. Meyer.

New super

Tuesday’s meeting also was the first official meeting for Nancy Carney as superintendent. Ms. Carney, who had been deputy superintendent, replaces Diane Scricca, who resigned as superintendent after three years in that position.

“It’s an extremely exciting time to be a leader in the district,” Ms. Carney said Tuesday. “I love this community. I really believe we’re on the cusp of new and exciting things, and I’m looking forward to being here for many, many years.”

Filling Ms. Carney’s position as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, which was the position she held before being named deputy superintendent, was Lois Etzel.

Dr. Etzel had held the position of K-12 science director. She also is a former Westhampton Beach High School principal. The K-12 science director position has yet to be filled.

Official logo

The board adopted the Blue Wave logo as its official logo Tuesday, but that set off a debate about whether that means school groups like booster clubs will now need board approval to use the logo.

“We have several policies that do limit the ability of outside individuals or groups to use the school logo; does the adoption of this mean people have to come to us for permission to use the logo?” Ms. DeVito asked.

“I would assume so, if it’s official,” Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said.

“No,” Mr. Griffing interjected. “As long as it’s a Riverhead School District entity, it’s fine.”

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse said the board would still need to approve the logo usage, even if an entity in question was related to the district, setting off a short exchange on the board.

“Why would we want booster club to have to come to the board for approval to use the logo?” Mr. Griffing asked.

“Because you have a policy that states it,” Ms. DeVito replied.

“Well there shouldn’t be,” Mr. Griffing said.

“It was never enforced because we never had an official adoption of the logo,” Ms. DeVito said.

“Then it still shouldn’t be enforced, because it’s just more paperwork,” Mr. Griffing said.

The board decided to adopt the logo first, and then talk to its legal counsel at its next meeting about who can use it.

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