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Springs School To Hire New Superintendent

Dominic Mucci's waiver from the state to continue working in Springs was denied; Jay Finello will fill the position.

Jay Finello Credit: Patch File Photo
Jay Finello Credit: Patch File Photo
Less than a week before school is back in session, the Springs School Board of Education will hire a new interim superintendent.

A special meeting will be held at the school on Tuesday at 6 p.m. to officially hire Jay Finello, who has worked as a superintendent in several school districts on Long Island, to lead the school through Aug. 31, 2014.

Dominic Mucci, a retiree who served as the interim superintendent for the 2012-13 school year, cannot continue in the position after the State Commissioner of Education declined to sign an additional one-year waiver to allow Mucci to remain in the position.

As a retiree under the New York State Teachers Retirement System who is not yet 65 and would make more than $30,000 from Springs, the district needs the approval of the commissioner, who signed a one-year waiver in 2012. The district reapplied for another year, but got word recently that it was denied, the district confirmed in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“It is no secret that recruitment of an experienced part-time Superintendent, which is the leadership model we think is most cost-effective and appropriate for our district, is a real challenge,” board president Liz Mendelman said. “We are disappointed because continuity is important and Dom provided a very steady hand.”

Mendelman said the district revisited those who had applied for the position when Michael Hartner announced he would retire in 2012.

Finello is a veteran school district leader. Until July 1, he was the interim superintendent of the East Islip School District, a position he held for two years. He also served as the superintendent of the Huntington School District.

His appointment does not require a waiver, the district said, "because the terms of his employment agreement comply with state regulations on earnings for retirees."

Finello will receive $25,000 for the rest of 2013, and then $30,000 after Jan. 1, 2014.

Part of the agreement is that Finello move to East Hampton. The district will reimburse him up to $3,000 per month for rental expenses, they said.

“We are delighted to welcome Jay to Springs,” Mendelman said. “His experience, leadership style, and interpersonal skills are a perfect fit for our district. With the rapidly evolving environment we are operating in today – especially in the areas of staff leadership recruitment and development, the transition to new assessments through the Common Core, and the new evaluation requirements –Jay’s vast knowledge and physical presence in our community will be key to our continued success.”

In a statement, Finello said, “I consider this to be a unique opportunity both professionally and personally, and I am grateful to the Board for welcoming me to Springs.”

Mucci, who had a house in Springs, took on the part-time superintendent position July 2, 2012. The district decided to change its administration model to a part-time superintendent position.

After a series of community forums, the school board narrowed the finalists for the position down to three; Mucci, Raymond Fell, a consultant with Eastern Suffolk BOCES, and Francis Mazura, a retired assistant superintendent from the Center Moriches School District.

Mucci has more than 30 years of experience, which included being the superintendent for the Springs School District from August 1999 through August 2002. He went onto the North Bellmore school district and served as the superintendent for the Englewood Cliffs Public Schools in New Jersey, before retiring.
MARTIN DREW September 03, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Great news ; the era of the arrogance of Hartner Gonzalez and now Mucci is behind us. Now Springs School can focus on the future & it's role as a good neighbor ; leading by example . The "do what we want club" attitude is no more ; thank god for that. Eric Casale's leadership has proven worthy a the day to day administrator ; cleaning up School Street with leadership and spirit of a community that follows the law.
HVY MTL September 04, 2013 at 08:29 AM
Now all Springs has to do is get rid of Casale. He is no better than the rest. The new school board members need to realize that Casale has put a bad taste in the mouths of the Springs community. It is hard to get a warm fuzzy feeling from someone who has not been honest with the School Board and the community.
MARTIN DREW September 04, 2013 at 09:48 AM
Mr. Casale was never convicted of any wrong doing .. allegations made .. Never found conviction ..so in this great country he gets a pass... Have you realized under his leadership our Springs School students are top 10% in the state in academic achievements. His recent leadership on School Street forced the BOE to act and add parking on their campus . 24 -30 staff vehicles are now on campus instead of blighting School Street . I've been to the school many times as of recent .. The students are very connected to him . He interacts with his students well ; THEY love him and it's apparent when you witness the interactions first hand. If the GONZALEZ BOE failed to disclose his city plights ; that's on her . Casale deserves credit for his recent awareness and actions. As the day to day administrator; he has acted respectfully ; with community support and is improving status quo that previous arrogance had taken as a entitlement . Thnx to Mr. Casale for making his staff get off School Street; and obey the standing law . Hopefully the TOEH Board tables the bad proposal before them on Thursday evening @ the public hearing that would change the law and allow the parking that has blighted our historic area and compromises our Right of way... And destroys forever our scenic vistas . I think this principal has his heart in the right place . Give him YOUR support . Hopefully along with Liz Mendleman they will be the new team that gets that school back from the mess they were left with .. By Hartner / Mucci / Gonzalez... Arrogance and lawlessness is not community minded !

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