Riverhead Superintendent of Schools Dr. Aurelia Henriquez. Photo: Maria Piedrabuena

Riverhead School Superintendent Aurelia Henriquez has resigned her position.

The board of education accepted her resignation this afternoon at a special board meeting called to approve a contingency budget for the 2020-2021 school year.

Henriquez’s three-year tenure at the helm of the Riverhead Central School District comes after district voters this year shot down both a capital expansion plan and, for the first time in 14 years, a proposed operating budget — and at the conclusion of a school year that saw unprecedented disruption in a global pandemic.

The board voted 7-0 to accept a separation agreement. Her resignation is effective June 30.

Board president Greg Meyer read a joint statement from the board and the superintendent, in which he said the superintendent cited “certain irreconcilable differences” and the best interests of her family as the reasons for her resignation.

The board then voted 4-3 to appoint Assistant Superintendent Christine Tona as interim superintendent.

Henriquez could not immediately be reached for comment.

The superintendent’s impending departure had been widely rumored in the school community and on social media during the past two weeks.

Henriquez came to Riverhead from Brentwood, where she had spent her entire career in education prior to the move. She had served the district, the largest in Suffolk County, as assistant superintendent for 10 years before coming to Riverhead.

“The challenges we face as a district are multifaceted. Our school finds itself at a critical juncture and the selection of a superintendent is the most important role of any BOE,” Riverhead Central Faculty Association Greg Wallace said in a statement.

“The position of the RCFA is that it is parmount the incoming board  conduct a formal search using BOCES or a firm that specializes in finding highly qualified candidates for this crucial role; which is not a process past boards have always followed when faced with a superintendent vacancy.”

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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.