Bridgehampton Board Has New Leadership

Posted on 12 July 2010


In a unanimous decision by the Bridgehampton Board of Education, Nicki Hemby was elected board president replacing Elizabeth Kotz. Kotz was elected board president last year, previously serving as vice president and as a member of the budget advisory committee during her four years on the board.

Lillian Tyree-Johnson, who was elected to the school board last year, was unanimously named vice president for the 2010-2011 school year.

“They wanted an opportunity to take the helm and I wish them the best,” said Kotz Wednesday morning.

“I feel very proud of the board in the accomplishments that we have made in the last year,” continued Kotz. “I feel proud that we have gone through the process of accreditation through Middle States, that we respectfully put up bonds and a budget that was overwhelmingly supported by the community, that through an exhaustive search we found a very good new superintendent [Dr. Lois Favre], and a new business administrator. We have created additional advanced placement courses as well. So a lot of positive things have happened in the last year through a lot of hard work.”

“I think for all of us on the board we are taking the view that this is a good opportunity for us to rotate roles and positions out of respect for the hard work we all do,” said Hemby of the change in leadership. “If I sit on the board for six years, and am only board president for one or two, that is okay. We can all gain respect for each other and a greater knowledge of what we are doing on the board which will assist us in ensuring the youth of Bridgehampton has the best opportunities and education they can get and that none of us burn out.”

Hemby said she doesn’t foresee too many challenges in the next year, but rather a school in the midst of exciting changes, with the hiring of Superintendent Favre, who will take Dr. Dianne Youngblood’s position in August, as well as new business administrator Robert Hauser, who attended his first meeting on Tuesday night.

“We have a new superintendent, a new business administrator and I am really looking forward to this transition,” said Tyree-Johnson on Wednesday.

Tyree-Johnson said she expects the biggest challenge will be incorporating new staff into the district, but was optimistic.

“As far as I can see, even in transition, Lois [Favre] has hit the ground running,” she said.

“I think we are in a good place as a board right now,” she continued. “We don’t always agree, but I don’t know we always should. We should all have our own opinions and try and work together towards compromise.”

Tyree-Johnson praised Kotz’s tenure as president, citing her work ethic, but said she felt it was important for different board members to take a leadership role throughout their term on the board.

“I don’t plan on being in this position for years,” she said, adding she expects her close relationship with Hemby will aid the school district in this year of transition.

“We work really well together,” she said.

Kotz remains the senior member on the board, with Hemby a term behind her. Douglas DeGroot, Tyree-Johnson and Ronald White were elected last year to the board, with new board members Jo Ann Comfort and Larry LaPointe joining as official members Tuesday night after winning election this May.

In other Bridgehampton School news, the board decided on Tuesday night to change its regular monthly meeting time after Kotz noted the school calendar presents a number of conflicts with Monday night board of education meetings. Hemby added, for consistency, she would like to see meeting days and times remain the same, whether a board meeting or workshop.

As of August, the board has resolved to host its regular monthly board meeting the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. with the work session scheduled for the fourth Wednesday of each month. The next board workshop will be held on Wednesday, July 28, and the next regular board meeting on Wednesday, August 11.

At the August meeting, Principal Jack Pryor announced he would present the board with a detailed report on the district’s Regents exam test scores.

During a Bridgehampton School workshop last week, Pryor said he was still compiling data, but that the number of students taking upper level math and science Regents exams has soared in the last year, with 75 percent of students taking the social studies Regents exam in global and United States history receiving a 90 or above.

Pryor said he expects the board will be “very happy” with his presentation next month.

Also at the workshop, the board approved social studies teacher Henry Meyer’s curriculum for a new Advanced Placement United States history course Bridgehampton will debut in the fall.

Jeffrey Neubauer and Patrick Aiello were also hired as special education teachers during the workshop. Both will be paid $61,806 annually in their probationary, three-year contract with Bridgehampton School.

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