The Riverhead Board of Education at its Jan. 23, 2024 meeting. Photo: Alek Lewis.

The Riverhead Board of Education has hired another interim administrator to fill a new job in the district’s business office, as the interim superintendent continues a reorganization following the departure of former Superintendent Augustine Tornatore.

The board appointed Faith Caglianone as the interim assistant to the assistant superintendent for business until the end of the school year. Caglianone will be paid $700 per day and is expected to work “two to three days per week,” according to her contract passed by the board on Tuesday.

Caglianone was Riverhead’s interim business official during the creation of the 2022-23 budget. She is currently the assistant to the school business administrator in the Sag Harbor Union Free School District, according to the school’s website, and was a former business manager in the Shoreham-Wading River School District, according to her LinkedIn.

“This is part of our restructuring for the school district,” Interim Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said. “It is also to help streamline the processes, to bring better efficacy to what we are doing, and it is a cost effective measure.”

“This hiring is part of the district’s efforts to restructure the financial operations of the school district,” Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business Marianne Cartisano said. “It allows us a much needed focus on accounts receivable, which is the other side of our annual budget. We will focus on the district’s residential billings, alternative educational placement buildings and other municipal contract billings.”

The board passed the hiring contract 6-0, with board president Colin Palmer absent. 

Cartisano was hired by the district after the district’s previous assistant superintendent for business, Rodney Asse, resigned at the end of last year. Asse had been “administratively reassigned” at home with full pay and benefits since October, the day he told a reporter he was leaving the district. That same day, former Superintendent Augustine Tornatore resigned.

The school board has already begun reorganizing part of the school district’s administration. Earlier this month it created a new assistant superintendent position for human resources and changed the titles of top administrators. President Colin Palmer previously said the school board hired Pedisich, the retired longtime superintendent of the Three Village Central School District, as interim superintendent “specifically to restructure things,” not just to “hold down the fort.”

During its Jan. 23 meeting, the school board also:

  • Recognized the contributions of Walt Stewart of Riverhead, who died last year at age 98. Stewart was a physical education teacher who coached football, wrestling and tennis at Riverhead High School. The high school’s auxiliary gym and wrestling gyms were named in his honor during a ceremony last Wednesday. Emily Chizever, Stewart’s daughter, and her husband, Richard, received copies of the plaques posted in the gyms in Stewart’s memory at the school board meeting.
Emily Chizever, the daughter of coach Walt Stewart, and her husband, Richard, pose with the Riverhead Board of Education and Interim Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich as they hold copies of plaques dedicated to Stewart hanging in the Riverhead High School gym. Photo: Alek Lewis
  • Approved the tenure appointments of teaching assistant Corinne Gengler, school social worker Alicia Phillips and school psychologist Dr. Jo-Ann Tavano-Foss.
  • Accepted the retirement of district Transportation Director Leslie Moore. Moore will be retiring at the end of the school year after 28 years working in the school district, where he began as a bus driver. 
  • Was presented an overview of the effects of the district’s updated transportation operations from the district’s routing management consultants, Transpar, and Transportation Director Leslie Moore. The board was presented with results of a survey from parents on the new bell schedules and experience with transportation at the beginning of the school year. The changes in bell times have buses arriving and departing with greater on-time consistency, they said, although a survey of parents showed that the previous bell schedule worked better for some families (34%) compared to the new bell schedule (19%). Both bell schedules have worked well for the plurality of families (42%), while 5% of families said neither bell schedule worked well, according to the survey. Next school year, the district will be implementing new routing software and GPS tracking systems to allow parents to have a greater amount of information about the location of their child’s bus.
  • Was presented an overview of the Riverhead Middle School’s advisory program, which is in its pilot year. Principal Joseph Pesqueira is asking the board to allow the school to continue the program, which guides students to learn personal and interpersonal skills.
  • Honored student athletes on the varsity girls volleyball, varsity girl’s tennis and varsity boys golf teams.
The Riverhead varsity girl’s tennis team with coach Vic Guadagnino. Photo: Alek Lewis.
Riverhead’s varsity girl’s volleyball team with coach Rose Horton. Photo: Alek Lewis.
The Riverhead varsity boy’s golf team with coach Steve Failla. Photo: Alek Lewis

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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: