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Personnel Changes Focus of West Hempstead School Board

School board addresses trustee resignation and replacing high school principal at Tuesday's meeting.

The departures of a school board member and high school principal were the main focuses of Tuesday’s meeting of the West Hempstead Board of Education. 

While some of the discussion touched upon the new tax cap legislation and modified bus routes, most of the talk revolved around the shuffling of personnel and the ongoing search for a principal for West Hempstead High School. Last month, the that Frank Viteritti, who had served as the principal since November 2009, will not be returning in the fall.

“[West Hempstead] has had five high school principals since I’ve been here," said Loraine Magaraci, a parent and West Hempstead alum. "What about hiring someone internally?"

“Our goal is your goal… we want to appoint someone for the long term,” replied Superintendent John Hogan, who added that the district is filtering through a growing stack of resumes.

The board itself went through several personnel changes for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year.  After three years of being in charge, Pamela Lotito stepped down from her role as president of the board.  Walter Ejnes replaced Lotito, who will continue to serve as a trustee, while James Mariano was elected to the position of vice president that Ejnes had previously occupied. The district's new deputy clerk, Theresa Bryant, and treasurer, Diane Castonguay, were also sworn into their posts. District Clerk Kathryn Girolamo also took the oath of office.

Discussion quickly turned from board additions to a single subtraction.  For undisclosed reasons, Trustee Anthony Brita from the board of education.  Ejnes sent praises and well wishes from the board, who is deciding whether to leave the position vacant until the May election, appoint someone, or hold a special election.

Residents also questioned the restrictions of the tax cap recently passed in Albany and the redrawing of bus routes for the district. The board also mentioned that they will be more vigilant this year about monitoring the use of the district's sports fields, hoping to alleivate some of the

Some community members who commented at the meeting also made it clear that they intend to keep a close eye on the board's progress over the summer.

Barbara Hafner, a resident and president of the West Hempstead Education Association (the teachers' union) stressed the importance of teamwork and respect from the board going forward. She sent a stern message regarding the “body language and eye-rolling” she witnessed during meetings.

“You are the show and we are the audience,” she said, “…and I don’t want to see that.”

The next business meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7:30pm at the administration building on Chestnut Street.There will also be a policy meeting July 19, that will begin with a public session at 7 p.m. leading into the main meeting at 8pm.

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