Featured Story

Riverhead BOE to begin interviews with superintendent search firms

The search for Riverhead Central School District’s next superintendent is on.

According to a series of notices published by the district clerk Tuesday, the Board of Education is slated to meet for three special meetings starting Thursday to begin interviewing potential superintendent search firms.

Christine Tona, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, was appointed in a split 4-3 vote to serve as interim superintendent in July, following the sudden resignation of former superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez.

Dr. Henriquez submitted a letter of resignation in late June and in a statement, said she was reigning over certain “irreconcilable differences,” and in the best interests of her family.

Ms. Tona has been serving in both roles without receiving additional compensation, district officials have said. Her 2019 salary was $183,382 according to SeeThroughNY.net.

The public notices did not specify which three search firms the district is planning to interview and Board of Education president Laurie Downs was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

The meetings, all scheduled to be held in executive session, are set for Nov. 12, Nov. 13 and Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. and will be conducted virtually.

District officials said the meetings will not include any public agenda items and the Board of Education is not planning to take any public action.

The school board in late August issued a request for proposals for a superintendent search firm. At that meeting, board member Virginia Healy said it would likely be before Christmas before the board selects a firm.

According to a separation agreement between Dr. Henriquez and the school district, she will continue to receive her salary through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, the district has agreed to pay 80% of her health insurance premium through June 30 next year unless Dr. Henriquez accepts a position that offers insurance elsewhere.

Dr. Henriquez had been an assistant superintendent in the Brentwood School District before she was hired in May 2017 to replace Nancy Carney.

In January 2019, the school board approved a two-year extension for her contract in a 4-2 vote, with board members Laurie Downs, Brian Connelly, Elizabeth Silva and Therese Zuhoski in favor and Susan Koukounas and vice president Christopher Dorr rejecting the proposal.

Dr. Henriquez earned $224,000 in 2019, according to the SeeThroughNY website.

A public Board of Education meeting will be held Tuesday night in the High School Auditorium. Due to pandemic restrictions, maximum capacity is limited to 50 people and the meeting will also be streamed online here: