School Board names new superintendent

The Shelter Island School Board hired the district’s new superintendent at its Monday night meeting. Dr. Michael Hynes will begin the transition to the superintendent position on May 17, working with interim Superintendent Robert Parry to learn the ins and outs of the school before he takes over on July 1.

“It’s an absolute honor and a pleasure to have you here with us,” Board President Rebecca Mundy told him after the board officially voted to hire him. He will be paid $730 a day on the days he comes in. When he becomes full time, his salary will be $175,000.

Dr. Hynes, 40, lives in Center Moriches with his wife Erin and their three children. He is currently the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Plainedge School District in North Massapequa, where he’s been since 2008. He is responsible for the districts’ K-12 curriculum and professional development, instruction and student assessments.

After taking a seat at the School Board table offered to him by Mr. Parry, Dr. Hynes said, “I look forward to all the work that we have to do, and to me the most important thing in my first 100 days is to meet with as many people as humanly possible, to get to know each and every one of you.”

The hiring of a superintendent ends a process that began almost exactly one year ago, when, on May 10, 2010, then-Superintendent Sharon Clifford announced her resignation, effective at the end of the school year. About a month later, on June 14, the board hired Mr. Parry on an interim basis until the board could find a replacement. The board hired a search consultant, School Leadership LLC, in October to help find a replacement, and after a public forum in November, discussions with students, staff, parents and an online questionnaire, the search attracted 89 applicants. The board eventually decided on Dr. Hynes.

Dr. Hynes told the Reporter that he had a “100-day plan” for the start of his superintendency, a two-pronged approach: “The first objective is to maintain and establish quality relationships. I want to meet with over 100 families in the first 100 days — and not just the families themselves, but everyone who’s part of the Shelter Island community.” He plans to do that through scheduled public meetings and coffee hours, both before and after school. “Everyone will have the ability at some point to reach out,” he said.

The second objective, he said, is “a comprehensive organizational review of the internal structures we have in place,” including how the district houses student information, the budget development process and how the district communicates with the community, among others.

Dr. Hynes said he was excited to start working at Shelter Island: “You don’t see too many K-12 school districts anymore that are housed in one building, so it’s a great educational and professional opportunity.”

He said the school’s small size reminded him of his undergraduate experience at Bethany College in West Virginia. “What really made that experience meaningful is that you have the opportunity to forge those relationships and get to know everybody. That’s harder to do in a larger district, and that’s what makes Shelter Island so endearing.”

Prior to working in the Plainedge district, Dr. Hynes was an elementary principal in Center Moriches. The school received recognition as a New York State “Rapidly Improving School District,” meaning state assessment scores improved very quickly. It also won recognition as a “High-Performing/Gap-Closing School” because the test results of special education students had improved to the point where they were on target to perform as well as the general population students, Dr. Hynes told the Reporter.

Dr. Hynes started his career as a substitute teacher in the South Country Central School District in East Patchogue in 1997 and began as a teacher the following year. He also worked as an elementary school teacher, an assistant principal and middle school principal in that district.

Dr. Hynes received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Bethany College, and a master of science degree in elementary education, a professional diploma in school district administration and a doctor of education degree from Dowling College.