School Superintendent Is Moving On

As Gualtieri departs, search for interim is on
Morgan McGivern

    Raymond Gualtieri, the superintendent of the East Hampton School District, will be heading to Pennsylvania at the end of July.
    Dr. Gualtieri was appointed Thursday evening to be the new superintendent of the North Allegheny School District, north of Pittsburgh, according to a release from that district.
    Dr. Gualtieri has been the superintendent of the East Hampton School District since 2003. His contract was to end in the summer of 2012, but he had made it clear last year that he was seeking another job before that.
    Yesterday morning, Dr. Gualtieri reminisced about some of the areas where he felt he had left his mark on the East Hampton School District.
    “When I got here, I could see that there was no education foundation in the district,” he said. He met with key people and, in one of his prouder moments, “pulled together the Greater East Hampton Education Foundation within a year.” The foundation offers scholarships and additional opportunities for students from Montauk to Wainscott, along with small grants for teachers.
    At a meeting on Tuesday night, the board thanked Dr. Gualtieri for his years of service with applause and a standing ovation and said something more formal was in the works.
    Charles Soriano, the assistant superintendent, who came to East Hampton along with Dr. Gualtieri from a district in Somerset Hills, N.J., pointed to Dr. Gualtieri’s part in “pushing forward” the process of “getting a community consensus on what to do about the aging and outdated facilities.”
    Prior to Dr. Gualtieri’s tenure, Mr. Soriano said, the board and the community had spent years in a deadlock on what to do about the school buildings, in particular the high school.
    “It was a large district operating as a one-room schoolhouse in its practices,” said Mr. Soriano, who is staying on but said he will not add his name to the hat of superintendent hopefuls. “Ray brought those practices up to speed.”
    Dr. Gualtieri admitted that some controversy has beset his administration — namely the ongoing litigation with the district’s former construction management firm, Sandpebble Builders, and the district’s legal fees paid to the firm of Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius. “I’ve een here eight years, and I’ve had one controversy,” he said. “I would say that’s pretty good.”
    “It started when I recommended that the board hire a high-powered New York City lawyer, instead of a high-powered Suffolk County lawyer,” he said, emphasizing the word “recommended.”
    Looking forward to his new position, Dr. Gualtieri said he has found affordable housing in the North Allegheny area, and that the cost of living is far below that on the South Fork. Also, he said, he looks forward to spending as much time as he can with his 2-week-old granddaughter, Juliana.
    “I have two daughters,” he said. “And I’ve been waiting 10 years for a grandchild.” His new digs are a two to three-hour drive from his children and grandchild in the Philadelphia area.
    In a release on Friday, the school board said that it will interview applicants for interim superintendent over the next two months, while soliciting “exceptional candidates” to fill the position on a more permanent basis.
    Dr. Gualtieri said he suspects that any interim superintendent will probably be in place for a year while the board conducts “an intergalactic search” for the right candidate for East Hampton.
    The North Allegheny district chose Dr. Gualtieri to replace Patricia Green, who is moving to Ann Arbor, Mich. Dr. Gualtieri was voted in unanimously by the school board in North Allegheny, with a five-year contract and a starting annual salary of $190,000, a cut from the $234,000 he currently receives from East Hampton.
    Under the terms of his current contract, he and his spouse can receive lifetime medical benefits from the East Hampton district.


Comments

Affordable housing with a $190,000 per year salary?  Isn't that about the equivalent to the amount the President of the United States earns per year while in office?  Additionally, I do not understand why East Hampton tax payers should have to pay for Dr. Gualtieri and his wife's health insurance for the rest of their lives, especially after he is not honoring his contract by ending his term of service a year earlier than his contract states, which is the summer of 2012.  If Dr. Gualtieri were retiring, I could understand his having life-time benefits from our district, but he is moving on to another district short of his contract terms.  Why cannot his new district write this into his contract?  Perhaps his decreased salary is based on this factor, but I for one, despite any strides he may or may not have made  in moving our district forward from an educational perspective, do not applaud him for getting a generous deal on his health insurance at our expense.  It is simply not honorable.  If he wants to end his contract early, then he should default lifetime health insurance benefits for he and his wife.  Martha N.