Two top Riverhead administrators sign retirement agreements

Riverhead Central School District administrators Lori Koerner and William Galati both accepted one-time retirement incentive offers from the school district and will retire effective June 30.

Due to its “economic interests,” the school district provided this incentive to permanent, non-aligned central office administrators who have completed at least two years of service and are eligible to retire.

The Riverhead Board of Education accepted Ms. Koerner and Mr. Galati’s contracts, which were signed May 20, following the 2024-25 school budget vote Tuesday night, May 21.

Under the agreements, each retiree will be paid a severance of “one and one half month’s salary,” which according to school board president Colin Palmer, is calculated by the number of years of service. Mr. Galati has worked for the district for three years, so he will receive 4.5 months of pay, while Ms. Koerner, who has been employed for four years, will be paid for six months. Any accumulated unused vacation days will be factored in as well.

Mr. Galati began working in Riverhead as assistant high school principal in August 2021 and was promoted to executive director of secondary education, grants and student outcomes in April 2022.

In the latter role, he received an annual salary of $180,000 from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. This original agreement was extended through June 30, 2024, and came with a pay raise to $184,500 a year.

After former superintendent Augustine Tornatore’s short leave of absence and then resignation in October 2023, Mr. Galati briefly filled the position of interim superintendent, for which he received $300 a day on top of his annual salary, until he was no longer needed in the role.

Ms. Koerner’s employment at Riverhead began in 2019, when she was hired as the district’s executive director for curriculum, instruction and professional personnel. From July 2019 to June 30, 2020, she was paid $163,200 annually. 

The school district created the new title of assistant superintendent for human resources and elementary education for Ms. Koerner in 2022, and she received a significant pay hike to $201,467 per year.

Her title changed once more to assistant superintendent for elementary education and educational services, and her original agreement was extended to June 30, 2024, which came with an increase to approximately $211,666 annually, as well as 2.5% longevity payment on top of the base salary.

Ms. Koerner was reassigned to work remotely at the start of the current school year after an incident involving Rodney Parrish, former secretary to the superintendent, who called Riverhead police from the school district office on Sept. 22, accusing Ms. Koerner of harassment, according to a police report. The investigation into Ms. Koerner’s involvement in the incident has since been resolved, Mr. Palmer said.

Ms. Koerner took to social media to announce her resignation and retirement, as well as reminisce on her career in education.

“When I reflect upon the last 34 years in education serving faculty, staff, students and families as a teacher, principal, professor, executive director and assistant superintendent, all I can do is smile,” Ms. Koerner said on Facebook. “It has been a magnificent career and I am truly grateful for every opportunity and for each person who has impacted my life and my journey.”

As for what’s next, Ms. Koerner said she will continue to “inspire leaders in every field, empower teachers” and make sure “all of the children are well” through her other venture, Actually, I CAN Consulting LLC.