The Riverhead Board of Education at its meeting Oct. 25, 2022. Photo: Alek Lewis

The Riverhead Board of Education last night accepted the resignation of its dean of students, Kenneth Coard, just a little more than a year after hiring him to fill the recently created administrative position.

Coard has accepted a position in the Amityville Union Free School District as an assistant principal, he said in a phone call today.

“I love working with the kids in that district, and staff and everything else. I’ve enjoyed my time,” he added.

“We certainly wish him the best in his new position, and he’ll be missed here,” Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said in an interview after the board accepted Coard’s resignation, which is effective Nov. 18. “He’s a part of the Blue Waves family. And he really had an impact on our students at the middle school. So we wish him the best. But certainly, you know, I always support people when they want to advance their careers.”

Tornatore said the district will start searching for a replacement for Coard, who was hired last September at an annual salary of $107,500. In an interview with RiverheadLOCAL last year, Coard said his job would entail identifying and working with students and families to overcome issues that are holding students in the district back. 

Administrators said he would also be at the forefront of the district’s implementation of “restorative practices,” a school discipline method that shifts from purely punitive measures, like suspension and detention, to healing measures that target the root of the behavioral problem. Tornatore said the dean of student position has been “incredibly impactful” on implementing the practices, which started around two years ago and are a part of the five-year plan adopted by the district in June.

“We all know the middle school years are the tough years for students, so we really wanted to put in those mechanisms of support for their success and to guide them as they enter high school in ninth grade,” Tornatore said.

As of 4:20 p.m. today, the school district is advertising to fill an assistant principal position at the middle school, according to the job board website Indeed. The district has yet to post an advertisement to fill the dean of students position. The middle school is currently staffed with one principal and one assistant principal, both of whom joined the district this past school year.

During last night’s meeting, the school board also:

  • Saw a preview of the Riverhead High School Blue Masques performance of “Little Shop of Horrors.” The musical is scheduled to play at the auditorium at Riverhead High School on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m..  
  • Approved the tenure appointments of Brooke Crescitelli, school librarian, and Karenann Volinski, teaching assistant.
  • Approved two contracts between the district and Eastern Suffolk BOCES to supply the district regional and non-public transportation services for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. The contract for the 2021-22 school year costs an estimated $745,000, while the contract for the 2022-23 school year costs an estimated $848,000, according to the resolutions. The board previously authorized a similar agreement with Eastern Suffolk BOCES for the 2020-21 school year in the estimated amount of $1,134,000.
  • Approved an intermunicipal agreement to provide bus repair and fuel to the Montauk Union Free School District.
  • Approved an intermunicipal agreement with Riverhead Town for the Highway Department to provide the district with salty sand throughout the year. The cost is estimated to be $2,600 for the whole year, based on a price of $48.00 per unit, according to District Clerk Lisa Rheaume.
  • Accepted the second reading of several new and revised board policies: 0115- Student Harassment and Bullying Prevention and Intervention; 2310-Regular Meetings; 2340-Notice of Board Meetings; 2360-Minutes; 4325-Academic Intervention Services; 5225-Student Personal Expression; 5300-Code of Character, Conduct and Support; and 9150-Staff-Student Relations (Fraternization).

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: alek@riverheadlocal.com