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Oct 20, 2014 4:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe School Superintendent To Leave District In December

Oct 22, 2014 10:24 AM

Tuckahoe Superintendent of Schools Joseph Chris Dyer has accepted a similar position at an upstate school district and will resign from his current position in December.

Mr. Dyer, who joined Tuckahoe’s one-school district in August 2010, announced his departure to faculty and staff on Monday afternoon. He will officially take the helm of the four-school Susquehanna Valley School District in Conklin, near Binghamton, on January 5.

His departure will leave Tuckahoe’s top administrative role vacant while the district is mired in uncertainty, particularly regarding the fate of a proposed merger with the Southampton School District, and where Tuckahoe will be able to afford to send its high school students next year if the merger proposal fails.

“It has been an honor to serve as the Tuckahoe School principal and as the Tuckahoe Common School District superintendent,” Mr. Dyer said in a statement this week. “What is different is that the Susquehanna Valley Central School District is very close to where I am from, in Pennsylvania.”

In fact, when Mr. Dyer took the job at Tuckahoe, he never sold the family home in Pennsylvania, which is near the New York border and a short drive from his new school district.

“My opportunity to be with family is even more important today than five years ago,” he said. “This decision to serve closer to my home has been before me for a few years, and the potential positive outcome of the merger made the decision easier. The opportunity to serve another family-oriented community that values children and educational opportunity, as a pathway to quality of life for all, was instrumental.”

Mr. Dyer was making an annual salary of $158,000 at Tuckahoe.

This week, he said the Tuckahoe Board of Education would be working with the Eastern Suffolk County Board of Cooperative Educational Services to find an interim superintendent while the outcome of the proposed merger is decided by the voters.

When Mr. Dyer leaves, the future of the district will lie largely with the three-member School Board and the result of November 18 straw votes on the proposed annexation of Tuckahoe by the Southampton School District.

The idea of merging the two neighboring districts has been discussed for several years, and the two districts commissioned a joint merger feasibility study two years ago. Last year, the study was approved by the state, and the two districts put the prospect to a straw vote in each district to see if it should go to a full public referendum. In the straw votes, Tuckahoe residents approved the idea, while Southampton voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposition, which would have raised their taxes.

The straw votes next month will be the first of two possible public referendums on a reconfigured annexation plan. If each of the two districts separately approves the proposal in the straw vote, the merger would move to a final official vote by the combined school districts in January, with majority approval required.

If the November straw vote fails, Tuckahoe will most likely need a new permanent superintendent to fill Mr. Dyer’s shoes and to focus on the future of the financially strapped Tuckahoe district.

If the merger is approved, an interim administrator would be needed for six months until July 1, when the Tuckahoe School District would be dissolved.

Tuckahoe Board of Education President Bob Grisnik was not available for comment on Tuesday.

At the Southampton Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, board members said they were surprised to hear about Mr. Dyer’s pending departure on Monday afternoon and said that they have reached out to Tuckahoe officials about future plans. They also said they hope to use the opportunity to explore extending shared services, possibly even administrators, between the two districts.

“We are willing to discuss it,” Board Vice President Donald King said. “Hopefully, they will take advantage of our open door.”

This week, Robert Strick, the Board of Education president for the Susquehanna Valley School District, said the district is happy to have Mr. Dyer joining its team, noting that there had been an extensive search for the right fit for the 1,500-student district. The appointment was approved on October 15, although Mr. Dyer said his new salary has not yet been negotiated.

“We were impressed with Mr. Dyer’s experience and his insight into planning improvements for our school district,” Mr. Strick said. “He shared with us some philosophical thoughts, as well as some specific thoughts, on his ideas for developing our curriculum and the district. We thought his experience and philosophy made him a very good fit for the needs of our district.”

This week, Mr. Dyer said he is glad for the new opportunity and looking forward to the change.

“I am honored to serve the Susquehanna Valley Central School District as superintendent of schools,” he said in a statement. “The opportunity to build strong relationships with students, families, and experienced administrative and instructional team members is a privilege. I look forward to listening to, learning from, and leading our community team members in providing the best possible service for all children. I intend to uphold the positive values that are the pride of Susquehanna Valley.”

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funny this article does not mention that if the merger goes through this time Southampton's taxes will still go up.
Shared services have not worked yet with Southampton and Tuckahoe what makes Southampton feel it would work now. An important point regarding this merger. If the two districts can't work out shared services how are they going to pull off a merger between the two districts?
By Apri1 (8), Southampton on Oct 22, 14 11:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
April, there will no longer be two districts that need to cooperate, there will only be Southampton.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Oct 22, 14 2:29 PM
Sorry to see him go. Best of luck.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Oct 23, 14 2:55 PM