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Riverhead administrator, Lori Koerner, tapped for new assistant superintendent role

Riverhead Central School District’s executive director for curriculum, instruction and professional personnel may be promoted to an assistant superintendent role at the district’s Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

According to a meeting agenda, the board will consider adjusting the job title for Lori Koerner, who has served in the executive director role since she was hired in 2019.

Under the resolution, Ms. Koerner’s new title would be assistant superintendent for human resources and elementary education, a position that doesn’t currently exist, according to the district’s organizational chart.

“She’s brought so much to the table and has great ideas,” superintendent Augustine Tornatore said in an interview Monday. “I want to reward people for their hard work and recognize employees putting in time and effort to support the district.”

Mr. Tornatore said when he arrived in the district last summer, he took note of “overlap” in the administration. “I’m trying to streamline the cabinet so people have specific roles and responsibilities,” he said, to reduce conflict and confusion.

He said the promotion recognizes the work Ms. Koerner, who has a doctorate in education, is doing in HR.

“She’s put in effort to recruit and retain the best people,” he said.

In addition, Mr. Tornatore said she’s played a role in unifying the four elementary schools and Pulaski Street in terms of curriculum, helped roll out a social-emotional learning program and taken the lead on restorative practices that shift discipline methods away from traditional methods like detentions and suspensions.

“It’s a three-year rollout for the full implementation but will hopefully help reduce the suspension rate, reduce conflicts between students and set students on a better path,” the superintendent said, adding that he hopes in turn, the graduation rate will start to grow as well.

Her salary would rise from $169,793 to $199,472 and according to a copy of the amendment, “all references” to her previous title would be updated to reflect the change.

The promotion is one of several adjustments on Tuesday’s agenda.

The board will also vote to formally accept the resignation of assistant superintendent Sam Schneider, who has been on administrative leave since October and was hired to serve as an assistant superintendent for business in East Hampton last week.

In the wake of his resignation, the board is set to vote on adjusting the job title of Faith Caglianone from “acting” to “interim” assistant superintendent of finance and operations. 

Ms. Caglianone was the second person hired to fill the role in Mr. Schneider’s unexplained absence and she has been working to formulate the district’s 2022-2023 budget. Her rate will remain at $100 per hour, according to the resolution.

Mr. Tornatore said Monday that as soon as that adjustment is approved, the district will advertise for the position, interview and hire a candidate.

Several new business items will be up for discussion Tuesday, including a resolution to abolish one full-time position within the administrative tenure area of Director of ENL and World Languages 7-12 effective at the end of the school year for “purposes of economy and/or efficiency.”

The resolution would move to excess the least senior administrator in that department, identified as only Employee No. 10132 in the agenda.

The superintendent declined to elaborate on that change but acknowledged that it’s a budget-related measure and part of his effort to streamline operations districtwide.

Also on Tuesday’s Board of Education agenda:

• Six retirees with a combined total of 134 years of service to the district will be recognized. They are: school bus monitor Edna Atkins (17 years), computer lab assistant Bernice Brown (40 years), cook Jack Hackal (29 years), custodian Daniel Ramirez (28 years), senior office assistant Luanne Rocco (20 years) and guard Camille Shouder (17 years).

• Approve a $12,100 contract with Addiction Educators, LLC to provide two full school day student presentations and one parent/community evening presentation on drugs, vaping and other addictive behaviors.

• Approve a contract with Identity Theft Guard Solutions, Inc. for data breach response services at a cost not to exceed $20,959.50.

• Approve NJROTC field trips to participate in a drill meet in Passaic, N.J. on March 26, participate in the first annual Sterling NJROTC drone meet in Somerdale, N.J. on April 10 and participate in Basic Leadership Training at the Boy Scout Camp in Baiting Hollow from April 29 to May 1.

• Accept a donation of books from the Riverhead Town Anti-Bias Task Force.