Former Riverhead admin takes SWR principal job

Students attending Briarcliff Elementary School in the Shoreham-Wading River School District will see two major changes upon returning to school in September.

Patricia Nugent has been chosen as the building’s new principal, school officials announced at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. Ms. Nugent joins the district from Riverhead Middle School, where she served as assistant principal. She had also served for a short time as interim principal at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School.

She’ll replace Jane Ruthkowski, who resigned after three years in that role to take a principal position in the Hauppauge School District.

The roof restoration project at Briarcliff is also nearly complete. The school’s multi-purpose room, which serves as a gymnasium, and connected library have been unoccupied since a ceiling tile fell in the multi-purpose room in February and the building’s roof was deemed unsafe.

Superintendent Steven Cohen said Tuesday that the roof decking is complete and roofing materials are expected to be delivered and installed in the next few weeks. The electric and plumbing work are also slated for completion in the coming weeks.

Scaffolding and construction fencing will be taken down in time for the start of school, and the district is awaiting word from the state Department of Education on when the library and multi-purpose room can again be used.

“Briarcliff is well on its way to being ready to go,” Dr. Cohen said.

In other school board news, the fire hydrant project at the middle school is finished, Dr. Cohen said. A new hydrant needed to be installed in the back of the school because the hose line connected to the fire hydrant at the front of the building couldn’t supply enough water. As part of that project, the asphalt work is done, drainage basins have been cleaned and parking lot stripes have been painted.

District officials also announced that director of student services William Bushman will take a leave of absence from his position for one year to serve as the new assistant superintendent for human resources, a position that was established by the board Tuesday.

A deputy superintendent position was also abolished at the meeting, though nobody has filled that role in recent years.

The next school board meeting is Aug. 23.

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