Riverhead School District

Riverhead school board member Ann Cotten-DeGrasse steps down

Riverhead Board of Education member Ann Cotten-DeGrasse confirmed Monday she has decided to resign after serving for a total of eight years, citing board member quarrels and violations in procedure.

The retired educator said in a letter of resignation to the board that she’s decided to resign because she believes the Board of Education has “acted contrary to New York State Education Law and the Open Meetings Law in appointments made outside of the regular BOE meetings.”

“I have struggled with my conscience, but do not wish to be a party to these appointments,” she said in the letter, which she shared with the News-Review. “Dissention among school board members has also played a major role in my decision to resign.”

Her resignation letter also states: “I wish you success in your efforts to get the board back on track.”

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse didn’t immediately return a message seeking additional comment.

Her resignation is expected to go into effect following Tuesday’s school board meeting, the agenda states. Her decision comes one month after the district held its annual school board election in which five people ran for three open seats.

The Board of Education has a few options to fill the remaining year of her three-year term, which include holding a special election, appointing someone, or keeping the seat vacant until the next election in May.

Ms. Cotten-DeGrasse’s tenure on the school board started when she was first elected in 2008.

The former school board president stepped down in 2014 to pursue a Democratic primary for Riverhead Town supervisor. After losing the primary, she decided to run again for school board in 2015 and received the most votes in that election.

She was hired as a business teacher by the district in 1966 and served as president for the Riverhead Central Faculty Association before retiring in 1997.

Superintendent Nancy Carney and school board president Sue Koukounas didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

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File photo: Ann Cotten-DeGrasse. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)