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New members sworn in for SWR Board of Education

Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting marked a lot of firsts for the Shoreham-Wading River School District. It was the first meeting for four people on the dais: board members Katie Andersen, Erin Hunt and Henry Perez, as well as Superintendent Gerard Poole, who officially began his position July 1.

“I’m looking to really listen and learn,” Mr. Poole said, adding that he has begun speaking with community stakeholders — including teachers, administrators and community leaders — to better understand the district. “Listening to find out what are some areas people believe the school district should head toward. My opinion is the school is in a great place, but what are those places we can continue to grow and build the success of the school district and the students?”

After all four people were sworn in by district clerk Janice Sues, board members filled the positions of president and vice president.

Robert Rose, entering his sixth year on the board, was elected president after being nominated by member Kimberly Roff. During the past school year he had served as BOE vice president. That position went to Michael Lewis, now in his second year with the school board.

Michael Yannucci had urged Ms. Andersen, Ms. Hunt and Mr. Perez to run for both positions. The fourth highest vote-getter in the May election, Mr. Yannucci was sworn in on election night to serve the remaining year in the term of Michael Fucito, who had served the district for 27 years.

“I’d like to just state that in an effort to move forward and have a better relationship with the community I’d welcome the nomination of any newly elected board member,” he said.

No newly elected members were nominated for either position.

Ms. Andersen, however, backed her nomination of Mr. Lewis by saying that after talking with many people she learned community members want those with more experience to guide the new board members and superintendent this year.

“I feel that he has demonstrated throughout his year on the board a positive and proactive communication,” she said. “I feel that this leadership position necessitates that. His untiring commitment to the optimal orchestration and execution of the bond work, as well as his continuously active and dedicated involvement in our school and community makes him particularly well suited for this role.”

Mr. Lewis and Ms. Roff were both elected in May 2016 and have served one year. Mr. Yannucci previously served on the Shoreham-Wading River Board of Education from 2005 to 2008.

Following the meeting, Mr. Rose said, “I’m looking forward to working with the new board members. Looking forward to watching all the construction work continue and for the work at the elementary schools finish up. And hopefully help the new superintendent work in the district.”

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Photo: New board members, from left, Katie Andersen, Erin Hunt and Henry Perez were sworn in at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. (Credit: Nicole Smith)