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Frank Pugliese begins new role as SWR H.S. principal

A new school year often comes with new hires. For Shoreham-Wading River, this year brings the appointment of a new high school principal.

Frank Pugliese, who spent the last decade as an assistant principal in the Half Hollow Hills School District, began his new position Aug. 1 after being approved by the Board of Education June 20.

“Shoreham was on that shortlist of places where, if the opportunity ever did present itself, I was absolutely going to put in,” Mr. Pugliese, 45, said. “It was just one of those places where I knew you would be able to do your job because everyone else was going to want to put you in the best possible position. When you look at the success that’s been here — academically, athletically, in the arts — why wouldn’t you want to come here?”

Mr. Pugliese joins a new administration team, which includes rehiring Michael Winfield as the high school’s assistant principal.

Mr. Winfield held this same position in the district before leaving in June 2014 to become an assistant principal for the sixth grade at Hempstead Middle School. He will now replace Kevin Vann, who was recently made principal at Albert G. Prodell Middle School.

Additionally, Gerard Poole began his position as the district’s superintendent of schools on July 1. Mr. Poole, of Mattituck, has taught in the Riverhead School District and most recently served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Freeport School District,

“It’s kind of secure in a way, in that you’re in it with a team,” Mr. Pugliese said. “Certainly not saying if all those pieces were in place that that wouldn’t equally be good. But to know you’re coming in with some other new people, you can kind of make your mark together, is reassuring.”

Before working at Half Hollow Hills, where he was assistant principal at Half Hollow Hills West for four years and at Half Hollow Hills East for six, Mr. Pugliese served as an administrative dean at Ward Melville High School.

Earlier in his career, he taught social studies at Commack High School and Goochland High School in Virginia. He also coached numerous sports teams, including football, baseball and softball.

“I loved being in high school,” he said. “And then I loved teaching high school. The coaching aspect, coaching a couple of seasons each year, it always just felt comfortable. When I had some time in the classroom and started to see the impact of administrators and what good administrators could do, I knew that was going to be the direction I eventually wanted to go in.”

Mr. Pugliese holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the state University at Albany, a master’s in science degree in curriculum and instruction from Radford University in Virginia and school district administrator certification from SUNY/Stony Brook.

Mr. Pugliese said his main goal for his first year as principal is to learn about the culture of the district and community at large.

“A very wise principal told me you listen 10 times as much as you speak,” he said. “So it really is going to be about learning the culture, talking to students, talking to teachers … It’s going to be acclimating and becoming part of the community. Not just an employee at the high school, but really integrating myself and getting to know everyone as well and as quickly as I can.”

Photo caption: Frank Pugliese pictured at his office. (Credit: Nicole Smith) 

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