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District Approves New Superintendent

Glen Cove School Board voted unanimously to hire Maria Rianna, currently assistant superintendent of Smithtown schools.

The Glen Cove Board of Education voted 7-0 in favor of hiring its choice for the district's next superintendent at its meeting Monday.

Maria Rianna, assistant superintendent of Smithtown schools since 2011 and deputy superintendent of Port Jefferson schools before that, was first pick of all Board members, according to president Joel Sunshine.

The decision comes several weeks earlier than it had been planned for, in March.

"We were quite thrilled with the candidate pool, actually. Many qualified people were proffered to us, and the Board -- really all seven of us as individuals -- all had one first choice," Sunshine said. "We had a candidate that we loved and we wanted to hire her immediately."

He said she embodied the qualities both the Board and residents' input were looking for. He called Rianna "strong, smart, decisive and sensitive" and said she came highly recommended.

"But most importantly, it's the human being she is that the seven of us really appreciated," said Sunshine. 

Superintendent Joseph Laria commended the Board for "due diligence" and pledged his full support for a transition that will allow Rianna to "hit the ground running" on July 1.

Laria announced in October that he would resign effective June 30. He said he made the decision early in the year to give the Board time to find a replacement and to ease the transition.

Sunshine thanked Bob Freier and Joann Kaplan of District Wise Search Consultants, the firm hired to find candidates. Sunshine said Freier and Kaplan, who have both served on school boards before, allowed the Board to make its own decision with the proper tools and from an exemplary group of candidates.

Rianna thanked the Board for the appointment and said she was stepping into big shoes.

"I'm looking forward to working with my administrative team, with the teachers, with the community, the parents, and helping our students realize their vision as they move through the Glen Cove schools," Rianna said.

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Gene February 26, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I hope the first order of business for Her is to put a stop to the runaway spending within the district. Since 2004 the budget has gone from $52.4M to $74.1M (41% increase) while the student population has gone from 3,056 to 3,115 (2% increase).
Nassau County Concerned Resident February 26, 2013 at 03:22 PM
No the first order of business should be raising the bar on the quality of education at Glen Cove Schools. It is time for the Board of Education to step up to their mandate and provide the new Superintendent with goals for this coming year and next. This way they can evaluate her performance based on how well she met those goals.
Carla Hall D'Ambra February 26, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Agree with Nassau County Concerned Resident! There is much room for improvement in ensuring our kids are getting the education they deserve.
Nassau County Concerned Resident February 26, 2013 at 04:04 PM
and Gene one more thing the Board of Education is responsible for the budget not the Superintendent. The superintendent reports to the board not visa versa.
Heard Around Town February 26, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Congrats to Ms. Rianna on her new job. I suggest Glen Cove residents should have a buyer beware attitude. Ms. Rianna comes off as a super intelligent, proactive and has a can do attitude, but she also comes with a reputation. She has bounced around to different school districts for years, wearing out her welcome only after a short while at each and every stop. She talks a big ballgame in terms of what she plans on accomplishing and rarerly accomplishes much. I know a few people who work in the Smithtown School District and they will gladly be providing her with an escort out of town.
Micah Danney (Editor) February 26, 2013 at 07:57 PM
We have that she spent 11 years with the Port Jefferson School District prior to Smithtown: http://patch.com/A-kkbv. Do you know what specific complaints your contacts have?
Joan February 26, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Sadly this is a “sour grapes” comment from someone in a previous district other than Smithtown. Maria Rianna is super intelligent, proactive, and certainly has the knowledge to be a great superintendent. She was Deputy Superintendent in Port Jefferson in order to support the existing superintendents. Glen Cove is very lucky to be getting her. All 7 Board members of Glen Cove apparently agree.
Two roles February 26, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Let us give this woman a chance. Hopefully she will come to our district and make a lot of positive changes. The best thing that she can do is to not be afraid to make waves and ruffle a few feathers. This is precisely what must be done to bring about change in this district. Our test scores are horrible, our graduation rate is low and our taxes are high. Let us hope that if she does not perform well in her role, that the Board will not allow her to continue in the position. Of course we do not want a revolving door on the Superintendent's office as has been the case recently. However, it is time to get the finances and educational integrity of this district on track. I hope that people will realize that our district is facing some major problems and issues. We all need to attend Board meetings, speak up and be involved. Our children and our home values depend on it.
Nassau County Concerned Resident February 26, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Two roles if you believe what you wrote regarding horrible test scores, graduation rate being low and taxes high, which by the way are all true, why does the population not understand that the Board of Education needs to be accountable for all of those things and more. Only the residents and voters in Glen Cove can make this change either they get it or they do not get reelected. When was the last time you saw the board issue goals for the district? When was the last time you saw the board being held accountable? STOP ELECTING THE SAME PEOPLE.
Tom Terrific February 27, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Gene has it exactly right. It's very naïve to believe that a superintendent does not have input (and sway) in the formulation of programs and the resulting spending decisions in support of those programs. In fact, many boards actively seek a superintendent's guidance in these matters. So in that regard, I sincerely hope she takes a fiscally conservative view toward spending and taxation in the Glen Cove district. Less revenue does not automatically equate to inferior educational outcomes. It just means that the BOE and the administration must become more creative in providing the very best education within a framework that takes into account a future of dwindling financial resources. As of now, I have confidence that they are up to the task. The taxpayers have won some very important leverage in the passage of the 2011 Property Tax Cap law. With some exceptions, year-to-year revenue increases cannot exceed 2% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. If a budget is voted down twice, the district is, by law, required to hold the year-to-year tax increase to 0%. If the confidence that I have in the board and the administration is betrayed by a decision to resume a plan of profligate spending with an "I don't give a s**t" attitude toward the taxpayers," I will have no problem voting NO on the budget - twice, if need be - to force financial discipline on the district. It's the only leverage I have. It's the only leverage WE have.
Two roles February 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM
I can't speak for the why the population doesn't hold the B of E accountable nor why the same people get elected. This is precisely the reason why I wrote my plea to the community to come to meetings and be involved. If we are ignorant about the issues in this district and allow the B of E to act without accountability, we will have nobody to thank for our failing schools or our decreasing home values. Why in this community do we give total control of our lives up to elected officials who we allow to act with no community input or oversight? There is only one way that will turn out for us and it isn't positive!
Nassau County Concerned Resident February 27, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Of course the BOE seeks guidance from their Superintendent but here is the organizational chart; BOE Superintendent Adminstration Teachers Staff
Nassau County Concerned Resident February 27, 2013 at 03:27 PM
spelling correction Administration
Andres Ledesma February 27, 2013 at 03:48 PM
all very interesting points. i wish her well.
Education 101 February 27, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Herrick School District, --> Patchogue-Medford school district, -→ William Floyd school district, →Port Jefferson school district, → Smithtown school district, → Glen Cove school district -→ wait for it….. wait for it……… I’m sorry; If you are looking for educational integrity and accountability you’re not going to find it with Ms. Rianna. Best of luck Glen Cove. Mr. Sunshine it’s about to rain on your district.
Connie Minervini February 28, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Can't believe a statement if you don't sign your name to it .....be accountable for this statement. I am a parent of the Smithtown district , Ms. Rianna helped me so much with my son. ...Stop being jealous.
Education 101 February 28, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Herrick School District, --> Patchogue-Medford school district, -→ William Floyd school district, →Port Jefferson school district, → Smithtown school district, → Glen Cove school district -→ wait for it….. wait for it……… I’m sorry; If you are looking for educational integrity and accountability you’re not going to find it with Ms. Rianna. Best of luck Glen Cove. Mr. Sunshine it’s about to rain on your district. Mr. Danney if you would like specifics about Ms. Rianna I will email them to you.
Nassau County Concerned Resident February 28, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Education 101 it doesn't really matter how many school districts a professional has been with. People do move around for various career reasons. I hate to keep bring it up but the BOE of Glen Cove Schools are the folks who are utimately accountable to the children and the residents. If they don't or are unable to turn the school district around vote them out. Ask them at the next meeting what exact goals they will give the new superintendent to achieve?

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