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Story - Education

Jul 24, 2009 12:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe School Board considers superintendent's contract

Jul 24, 2009 12:47 PM

The Tuckahoe School Board is once again facing an August 1 deadline to take action on Superintendent Linda Rozzi’s contract, and while one of the three board members voiced support for her this week, it is unclear where the other two members stand.

Ms. Rozzi’s three-year contract, which is set to expire after the 2010-11 school year, has an “evergreen clause,” meaning that it is automatically extended for one year if the board fails to vote on extending it. School Board Vice Chairman Robert Grisnik said the last remaining chance to make an active decision on Ms. Rozzi’s contract will come at its next work session, on Monday, July 27.

Two years ago, the board voted not to extend the superintendent’s contract, then reversed itself and allowed it to renew automatically. Mr. Grisnik was the only board member to vote in favor of Ms. Rozzi then, and he may be the only member in her corner now.

“I like Mrs. Rozzi,” he said this week. “I like what she’s done for the school district.”

School Board member Susan Riccardi said the School Board has not finished going over Ms. Rozzi’s contract, and she would not reveal how she intends to vote if a vote is, in fact, taken on Monday. She referred questions about the contract to Sharon Grindle, who was elected chairwoman of the board earlier this month, replacing Mr. Grisnik.

Ms. Grindle did not respond to telephone messages this week.

Ms. Rozzi also did not reply to telephone and e-mail messages sent to her this week.

She is slated to receive $150,259 in salary and $33,683 in benefits for the 2009-10 school year, according to the New York State Education Department.

In May 2007, Ms. Grindle and then-School Board President Theresa Grimaldi voted against extending Ms. Rozzi’s contract. It was the first time since Ms. Rozzi was hired in 2003 that the board had voted against her. At the time, Ms. Grindle said she was bound by confidentially and could not discuss district personnel matters in public, but both board members said their reasons were based on Ms. Rozzi’s performance evaluations. Mr. Grisnik had said Ms. Rozzi’s evaluations were positive.

Ms. Grimaldi also said at the time that she voted against extending Ms. Rozzi’s contract because she was nearing the end of her term on the board and would soon be replaced by Ms. Riccardi.

Under pressure from angry parents and teachers, the School Board ultimately rescinded its vote not to renew Ms. Rozzi’s contract and did not take a new vote on the matter. As a result of the board’s inaction, her contract was automatically extended.

Ms. Rozzi was selected in December 2002 from a field of 30 candidates who applied for the position. She replaced Interim Superintendent Dr. Richard Olcott, who filled the job briefly after former Superintendent Dr. Michael Mensch left the previous summer.

Before coming to Tuckahoe, Ms. Rozzi was principal of Tangier Smith Elementary School in the William Floyd School District and prior to that, she taught English to middle and high school students in the Bethpage School District and served as that district’s language arts coordinator and “School to Work” coordinator.

Ms. Rozzi holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in liberal studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a master’s degree in education leadership from the Columbia University Teachers College. She has also completed two leadership programs at the Harvard University Principal’s Center in “The Art and Craft of the Principalship” and “The Work of a School Leader.”

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Sounds like this board has a personal problem with the superintendent. I support Ms. Rozzi who is a wonderful administrator, loved by parents and students alike.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jul 24, 09 2:26 PM
We need to wait and see how and if the board votes on this, but I will say that I supported Linda Rozzi in her last battle with the board and I will definitely support her this time as well. My kids have thrived under her leadership and she is well-liked.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jul 24, 09 2:43 PM
the community has not been well served by this current board. we have not heard them put together a single, coherent, relevant argument against Linda or for anyone else.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Jul 24, 09 3:05 PM
I sincerely hope the board members get it right this time around and vote to extend her contract. I'm a very active parent at Tuckahoe and have seen nothing but great things from Mrs. Rozzi. I'll be there monday night to voice my support for her.
By tmarie (30), Southampton on Jul 24, 09 3:14 PM
Linda Rozzi has always acted in the best interests of the school and the community while carefully considering how those interests are intertwined. I hope the board will make their decision based on the best interests of the school and community and not let their personal opinions or beliefs overshadow those of those people they were voted to represent.
By dfgmom (8), southampton on Jul 24, 09 3:54 PM
Like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, Ms. Grimaldi lacks a brain. Her reasoning for voting against renewing Ms. Rozzi's contract sounds like something a second grader would come up with. Here's hoping that the current board members have a brain and will vote appropriately. Ms. Grimaldi is certainly not a loss to the Tuckahoe School Board.
By hamptonite (26), hamptons on Jul 24, 09 5:42 PM
It seems two members of this Board, along with Mrs. Grimaldi, have something personal against Mrs. Rozzi. I hope the room is packed on Monday night with support for Mrs. Rozzi.
By missmac (3), southampton on Jul 24, 09 6:49 PM
Interesting that all of the dissenters appear to be women. In the AKC (American Kennel Club) world of legal documents, show entries, Best In Shows... members of that gender would be referred to as bitches. Perhaps Ms. Rozzi is too effective and efficient for these individuals.
By hamptonite (26), hamptons on Jul 24, 09 9:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Linda Rozzi has done nothing but great things for Tuckahoe. I think everyone that kept up with last year's board issues will see that once again personal vendettas are clouding the judgment of these board members. I can't figure out how these moronic people have been selected as the voice of our school district and hope that this repeat of bad decisions will bring the Tuckahoe community together to vote them out and replace them with a board that has the education of our children as their top and ...more
By ijkL (2), southampton on Jul 24, 09 9:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am a former parent at Tuckahoe that has since moved- my children were there for 6 years. Mrs. Rozzi has ALWAYS been an incredible addition to the school and was wonderful with my kids. The politics in incestuous schools such as Tuckahoe are unbelievable.

Linda is a great person- and I will never forget how kind she was to us when we were there. The school board members who are and were against her (I know them and they are pretty crass and abrasive) are exerting what little power they ...more
By eastendlocal (28), southampton on Jul 25, 09 1:07 AM
2 members liked this comment
"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards. " Mark Twain
By Avatar (15), Westhampton Beach on Jul 25, 09 10:47 AM
2 members liked this comment
Mark Twain was right on. Excellent post, Avatar. Now everyone needs to go to that meeting on Monday and bring everyone you can from the district.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jul 25, 09 11:08 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 28, 09 12:20 PM