After eight years as superintendent of the East Hampton School District, Dr. Raymond Gualtieri said he is moving on.
The time is right for a change, Gualtieri said by phone from Pittsburgh on Friday night. “I promised the board when I came that I would stay for the construction project. That was eight years ago. It’s hard to believe it took that long. But I always told them I intended to return to Pennsylvania.”
The voted to hire Gualtieri as the district’s new superintendent beginning Aug. 1, at a salary of $190,000.
“It’s always hard to leave,” Gualtieri said of East Hampton. “But it was time, and I’m getting older. I hope to retire from this job.”
And for Gualtieri, who went to high school in suburban Philadelphia, the new post outside of Pittsburgh brings him back to his roots.
Gualtieri’s youngest daughter Diana and his son-in-law David just made him a first-time grandfather to baby Julianna, now two weeks old.
The new baby, he said, sealed the deal. The move will mean he will only be three and a half hours away.
Looking back, Gualtieri said his proudest accomplishments in East Hampton include passing an $80 million bond and renovating all the school buildings. “That was the primary goal when I was hired,” he said.
Other highlights include adding Mandarin Chinese and Latin to the curriculum as well as a humanities bloc at the high school and an extended language arts bloc at the middle school. Gualtieri also established an elementary literacy committee and was a founding member of the East Hampton Educational Foundation.
East Hampton faces challenges in the form of contract negotiations next year “in a very difficult economic climate,” Gualtieri said. The school board, he said, needs to continue to support funding for the continued work of the literacy committee.
Responding to some have raised about why he would accept a salary lower than what he reportedly earned in East Hampton this year, Gualtieri said the cost of living in Pennsylvania is significantly less. “I’m looking at town houses that cost between $150,000 and $170,000. Tell me where I can buy a house for that price in East Hampton?”
Gualtieri said his new district is much larger, with more than 10,000 students and 50 administrators, two high schools and three middle schools. Goals include some construction as well as technology initiatives. Pennsylvania, he said, is just adopting exams similar to Regents.
Prior to joining the East Hampton School District, Gualtieri was superintendent in the Somerset Hills School District in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and the Wissahickon School District in Ambler, Pennsylvania.
The school board plans to hire an interim superintendent while conducting a search and interviewing “exceptional candidates” to fill the superintendent’s seat, the school board said in a statement released late Friday afternoon.