Richard Burns smiled broadly, accepting a standing ovation from the East Hampton School Board and the audience in the high school auditorium on Tuesday night as the board announced that his position as interim superintendent would now become permanent.
“I am so grateful for the wave of support, not only from the board, but from the community,” Mr. Burns said. “I’m going to give everything I can to make this school the best place on Long Island. I promise that.”
Mr. Burns has served as the district’s interim superintendent since August, following the retirement the month before of Raymond Gualtieri. He has worked in the district since 1990, first as a teacher and finally as director of pupil personnel services before taking his latest post. All five of his children have been through the East Hampton school system.
“Rich will be a dynamic, passionate leader for our district,” Laura Anker Grossman, the school board president, said yesterday. “He has enormous integrity, and an educational vision for our district. I see him as compassionate, but also demanding. He has the highest expectations of what our district can be, and what our children can achieve.”
Last summer, the district hired Raymond Fell, a consultant with the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Education Services, who helped the district narrow its list of candidates down to a field of three, based on specific wants and needs outlined in meetings with both the board and the community.
In Springs, where Mr. Fell helped initiate the same process as part of that district’s superintendent search, the list of candidates has been narrowed to three finalists, including the man who initially assisted the board in developing its criteria for a new superintendent.
Mr. Fell conducted a community forum at Springs as a search consultant with BOCES, but stepped out of that role when he decided to apply for the job.
With input from the community, the Springs School Board elected to develop a new administrative model for the district that includes a full-time principal, currently Eric Casale, a new assistant principal, and a part-time superintendent.
In addition to Mr. Fell, the candidates include a former Springs superintendent, Dominic Mucci, and Francis Mazura, a retired assistant superintendent from the Center Moriches School District.
Mr. Mucci was the Springs School superintendent from 1999 to 2002. He is now the superintendent for the Englewood Cliffs, N.J., school system.
In addition to being an assistant superintendent, Mr. Mazura has also worked as a high school principal. Since his retirement, he has been an interim superintendent for the Islip School District.
Mr. Fell had a 33-year career as a teacher and administrator in the Patchogue-Medford School District prior to his work with BOCES.
Michael Hartner, who holds the job now, leaves at the end of June.
Parents, staff, and the community will have the chance to meet and interview the candidates for superintendent at a forum next Thursday night at 6:30 at the school.