File photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead Middle School has a new principal.

Joseph Pesqueira of Smithtown was appointed to the position by the Riverhead Board of Education in a special meeting last night.

Pesqueira succeeds Stephen Hudson, who was named principal at Phillips Avenue School following the retirement of Debra Rodgers last month.

Pesqueira will be paid a base salary of $168,000, according to the resolution approved by the board in a 4-1 vote. Trustee Chris Dorr voted no without comment.

The meeting was held via Zoom. Trustee Virginia Healy was present for the meeting but experienced internet connectivity problems. Healy’s audio and video feeds went out before the vote was called. Trustee Therese Zuhoski was absent.

Pesqueira’s appointment is effective today and continues through July 14, 2026, according to the board agenda. At the board’s organizational meeting last week, Assistant Principal Laura Arcuri was named interim middle school principal, effective July 11.

Pesqueira, 35, comes to Riverhead from the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district in Nassau County, where he has worked since July 2016. He was K-12 supervisor for social studies, career technologies and service learning until August 2021, when he was elevated to the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, according to the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Schools website.

Pesqueira’s previous experience includes teaching high school social studies in New York City public schools, where he also served as social studies department coordinator at Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics for four years, according to his Linked-In profile.

He holds a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from St. John’s University, a master’s degree from Stony Brook University and a bachelor’s degree from Marist College, according to the Linked-In profile.

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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.