Editorial: Godspeed, Dr. Hynes

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Superintendent Michael Hynes has handed in his resignation.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | Superintendent Michael Hynes has handed in his resignation.

Many Shelter Islanders were saddened this week to hear that School Superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes will be leaving the Island for the Patchogue-Medford School District.

In just three years, he infused the school district with energy, intelligence and dedication, along with an obvious love of Shelter Island.

Dr. Hynes has been the committed leader the Island needed to bring its school to the next step on the road to excellence.

When many other educators resisted the implementation of the Common Core standards, Dr. Hynes not only offered thoughtful comments about what had gone wrong with the rollout, but worked with neighboring superintendents to organize a forum of international educators at Stony Brook University, highlighting methods necessary to raise the level of American education.

It’s likely that effort provided him the visibility that brought him to the attention of the Patchogue-Medford School District.

They will be enriched by his leadership just as Shelter Island has been.

We understand the personal commitments that drove his decision to end the more than hour-long commute from his home to the Island, not just five days a week, but on many weekends to participate in school activities.

The Island is blessed with hardworking, intelligent and thoughtful Board of Education members who will certainly be challenged to find a replacement to fill the job. They will not settle for a place-filler looking for a cushy job to plump up their pensions for a few years before retirement. They will be looking for the same intelligence, dedication and hard work Dr. Hynes has demonstrated.

We wish Dr. Hynes Godspeed as he takes on the next challenges in his career.

Following through
Town Engineer John Cronin was back before the Town Board Tuesday, continuing to keep the issue of septic systems under discussion.

At the beginning of April, Mr. Cronin told the board that “this is not a situation that’s going to get better, it’s going to get worse without some radical changes.”

The problem is dangerous pollutants, especially nitrogen compounds.

He reported then that the typical system here removes only about 15 percent of nitrogen, while the federal Environmental Protection Agency requires that drinking water standards have nitrate levels of 10 milligrams or less per liter.

Many parts of the Island, Mr. Cronin noted, have nitrogen in drinking water much higher than that value.

The first step, Mr. Cronin had advised, is developing current data, by looking into Building Department files on the age and maintenance records of septic systems.

A couple of weeks later, Building Inspector J. Chris Tehan noted that looking through thousands of files is a nearly impossible task with the limited personnel of the department.

Mr. Cronin has come up with a solution — hire an intern for the summer to begin the process of finding out exactly what kind of septic systems and cesspools are on the Island and mapping them.

He gave a detailed plan and board members praised his ideas and the work he’s put into it.

He deserves all Islanders’ praise as well, for following up and working to improve the quality of life here.