Interim Superintendent Christine Tona at a school board meeting on Oct. 13, 2020. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Central School District’s search for a superintendent has apparently concluded.

The successful candidate is not Interim Superintendent Christine Tona, who sought the position. According to sources inside the district, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, Tona yesterday told staff members she did not get the job.

Since the abrupt departure last June of former superintendent Aurelia Henriquez, Tona has been serving as interim superintendent. She was appointed to that post June 29, on the same day the board accepted the former superintendent’s resignation.

Tona did not enjoy the full support of the board going into the interim superintendent post; the appointment was made by a 4-3 vote — the same margin by which Tona’s tenure appointment as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction was approved earlier in June 2020.

Tona has retained her assistant superintendent position and has worked as interim superintendent without additional compensation.

The school board announced on the district website this week that it has commenced contract negotiations with “a candidate identified through the search process.”

School board president Laurie Downs, citing confidentiality issues, today declined to identify the successful candidate or confirm that Tona was passed over. She said she hopes the board will be able to make an announcement at its next meeting on Tuesday.

The school board in November hired McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha, Nebraska to assist in the search. The firm conducted community surveys and meetings with stakeholder groups, including students, teachers, district administrative staff, the parent-teacher organizations and Riverhead Town elected officials.

The results of the surveys and meetings were compiled by McPherson & Jacobson into a report that was posted on the district website in February.

The number and identities of candidates for the superintendent post have not been publicly disclosed by the board.

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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.