Home Faculty meeting School board record: homeroom teacher fired after disciplinary charges; new appointments made; policy on teaching controversial issues filed

School board record: homeroom teacher fired after disciplinary charges; new appointments made; policy on teaching controversial issues filed


The Riverhead Board of Education fired a tenured teacher at its Tuesday meeting, after a hearing was conducted by a New York State Department of Education-appointed hearing officer on disciplinary charges brought against the individual.

After a resident approached the podium ahead of the council vote to speak out against the firing and urge the council to file the point, a district attorney said the district does not comment on personnel matters. The Hearing Officer issued his final decision and award in the case on July 25.

The item was adopted as part of the consent agenda in a unanimous vote. Directors Christopher Dorr and Therese Zuhoski were absent from the meeting.

During the meeting, the board approved the appointment of 18 faculty members, including eight new positions in the district. The board also approved the appointment of Colleen O’Hara as vice principal of the college. O’Hara will be paid $149,117 a year and replaces Jeannine Campbell, who was hired into the new position of STEM director in May.

The board also named Darien Riley as the district’s NJROTC instructor replacing Charles Mahala. Dena Tishim was appointed as the district’s alternative school facilitator for one year with an annual salary of $121,500. Brianne Tully has been appointed to the position of Special Assignment Teacher – Special Education for the current school year with an annual salary of $121,500.

The board also named a new assistant purchasing officer, Allison Mancuso, who will receive an annual salary of $75,000 with benefits. Tornatore said Mancuso had to come to the district as a contracts technician due to the job classification in the civil service. Rodney Asse, the assistant superintendent of finance and operations, will continue as district purchasing officer.

The board also voted 4-1 to approve four contracts with the Heinemann Company for professional development services at Aquebogue, Riley, Pulaski and Phillips elementary schools for a total cost of $54,400, paid for through federal funds to assistance to elementary and secondary schools. Administrator Virginia Healy voted against the article.

Connelly also moved to table the second reading of the board’s revised policies on teaching controversial issues. At the last board meeting, Dorr and Zuhoski voted against the first reading of the policy.

“I would like to see this policy referred to committee, due to concerns from board members as to how best to implement this policy,” Connelly said.

As previously reported by RiverheadLOCAL, current policy on teaching controversial issues requires that they be dealt with as they arise in the normal course of teaching and not be “requested”. nor avoided”. Discussions would be “conducted in a manner that takes into account the age and developmental level of students.”

Teachers would be required to present “adequate background information” to students when discussing a controversial issue and grade students based on “objective criteria, without bias to students’ positions on the subject”, according to the amendment.

The amendment also removes the requirement for teachers to submit materials on controversial issues to a building superintendent or person designated by the superintendent for review and prior approval before presenting them to students.

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