Riverhead BOE promotes assistant principal to new executive director role as assistant superintendent formally resigns

Riverhead assistant superintendent Christine Tona officially submitted her resignation to the Board of Education Tuesday night after receiving word that she was hired in the upstate Mahopac school district.

Superintendent Augustine Tornatore and members of the board thanked Ms. Tona, who stepped up to serve as interim superintendent — at no additional compensation — in a year marked by an austerity budget and reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe the district owes you a great deal of gratitude for everything you did last year and all the other years you’ve been here,” board member Chris Dorr said Tuesday.

Mr. Tornatore said it was a “bittersweet” moment. “We will certainly miss you but we do want to wish you the best on your journey … we know you’re going to do amazing work at Mahopac,” he said.

While the board will not replace Ms. Tona’s assistant superintendent role directly, they voted 5-0 Tuesday to approve a contract to promote William Galati to serve in a new role as executive director of secondary education, grants and student outcomes.

Mr. Dorr abstained from the vote and Therese Zuhoski was absent from the meeting.

Mr. Tornatore has said that the role would encompass some of Ms. Tona’s duties related to curriculum currently.

According to the resolution, the probationary appointment would begin July 1 and expire June 30, 2026. Mr. Galati’s salary would be $180,000 annually, an increase from his current salary of $135,809 as assistant principal at Riverhead High School.

Mr. Galati began working in Riverhead in August and prior to that, served as a principal in the Hewlett-Woodmere Union Free School District. 

His experience also includes nine years as principal of Southold Junior-Senior High School and he had worked in the William Floyd School District in several administrative roles. His career began as a science teacher.

Tuesday’s appointment and resignation still leave the district without a permanent business official, after former deputy superintendent Sam Schneider resigned in March amid an investigation that officials have not elaborated on.

Faith Caglianone has been serving as an interim business official, helping the district formulate its 2022-2023 spending plan that was adopted Tuesday night.

The Board of Education last month also promoted Lori Koerner, who had been the executive director for curriculum, instruction and professional personnel, to the newly created role of assistant superintendent for human resources and elementary education.