Some parents are displeased with the decision to move the well-liked principal to the elementary school, but the superintendent said the plan has been in the works for months.
Two parents voiced concern over at the East Hampton School Board meeting on Tuesday night. He will join current principal Gina Kraus at and Assistant Superintendent Charles Soriano will replace Malsky at the middle school.
Abby Fleming, who has a daughter at the middle school, said, “I’ve worked with Mr. Malsky, and I’ve seen him work with students. I’ve found him to be excellent at what he does,” she said, “He’s a middle school principal. My grandmother used to say, if it’s not broken, why fix it.”
Fleming said she had attended budget meetings and wondered if the board was putting what’s best for the children first. “I found out yesterday it’s been decided. If I had more time, I could’ve gotten signatures from parents and kids in the school saying we want Mr. Malsky to stay,” she added.
Interim Superintendent Rich Burns — who signed his official contract at the meeting to become on July 1 — thanked Fleming for her tribute to Malsky, and said his quick response would not honor her question.
"We’re moving the district forward, and we’re trying to place our administrative team in the best places for our students,” said Burns. “The process took over the past two months, and the decision was made so that it was transparent and clear. I recommended and felt very strongly that this is the way it should move forward,” he said.
Diane Smullen, who also has a daughter at the middle school, said that This is a time of upheaval in student’s lives as they become young adults, she said. “A lot of parents feel that keeping Keith there would be a good thing for the kids; and it’s about the kids. I don’t think everyone found out about it until yesterday.”
In an interview following the meeting, Burns elaborated further on the rationale for the moves. “We’re best utilizing our talents. Each person has their own unique styles and propensities,” he said.
The new titles for Malsky and Kraus are under discussion. “I have to sit with each of them. It might be principal and principal,” he said, “I want to make sure for Keith that it’s a lateral move, and the title honors his position.” Both Malsky and Kraus will be on “equal footing.” According to Burns, Malsky will focus on administration, management, and discipline, while , will concentrate on curriculum and instruction.
Burns also stressed the need for the board to be open with the public with these decisions. “A lot of boards make these changes on June 28, and we want everyone aware of it before the summer. I respect the teachers too much,” he said, “I want to give due respect to the teachers, students, and parents. Middle school is a very special place.”
Burn said Soriano, in his current role, has been involved with curriculum, instruction, mentoring new teachers, and dealing with complex legal issues. “He has a wide breadth of knowledge and experience. He wanted to go back to the building level, he’s excited,” Burns said.
Meanwhile, Daniel Hartnett, the current assistant principal at the elementary school, will return to his former role as a district bilingual social worker. “When he moved up, we lost a bilingual social worker. We have one, and we need another to meet the diverse needs of our population,” Burns said.
At the meeting, Kraus was positive about the changes. “Dan has been phenomenal. I understand he needs to be moved in the best interest of the district,” she said, “I’m looking forward to working with Keith as a partner and part of our team in the best interest of the kids.”
The administrative changes are accounted for in the . “They were within the adopted budget, administrators are moving to different roles,” he said.