Veteran Riverhead elementary teacher Gary Karlson has been named assistant principal at Aquebogue Elementary School.

Veteran Riverhead elementary teacher Gary Karlson has been named assistant principal at Aquebogue Elementary School.

Karlson, a Wading River resident, has been a teacher at Roanoke Avenue and Phillips Avenue schools over the past 18 years. During his Riverhead teaching career, he has prioritized the social-emotional health of students, worked to increase student engagement in curriculum and collaborated with the Parent Teacher Organization on schoolwide initiatives, the school district said in a press release.

“During his time in Riverhead, Mr. Karlson has demonstrated leadership, innovation and a positivity that extends to students, parents and staff members,” School Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez said. “We are pleased to have him as our new assistant principal.”

Karlson fills a vacancy in the position created by the resignation last month of Vanessa Williams, who took a job as a principal in another district.

Aquebogue Elementary also has a new principal at the helm this year. Bryan Miltenberg of West Sayville, former assistant principal at Islip Middle School started in that post last month. Longtime Aquebogue principal Phil Kent retired at the end of the last school year.

“Working in Riverhead for the past 18 years, I have long known about Aquebogue Elementary School’s dynamic, collaborative, child-centered, and team driven culture,” Karlson said. “When the opportunity arose to continue that tradition while nurturing a safe, respectful, and responsible atmosphere it was a personal and professional dream come true,” he said. “I cannot wait to integrate myself fully into the Aquebogue community by working alongside other members of the team to support our students, staff and school community as a whole.”

Karlson was vice president of the Riverhead Central Faculty Association from 2013 to 2019 and has been an officer of the Riverhead Special Education Parent Teacher Association since 2009. In addition, he has been a trustee on the board of the Association for Habilitation and Residential Care in Suffolk since 2017.

Karlson holds a master’s degree in pre-K-6 education from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, a certificate in special education for birth-21 from Long Island University/Brentwood, and certificates in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and School Building Leader from St. John’s University in Oakdale.

Photo caption: The Riverhead Central School District has named Gary Karlson as the new assistant principal at Aquebogue Elementary School.

Photo courtesy of the Riverhead Central School District

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.