After receiving 150 applications from across the country and state, Sag Harbor resident Donna Denon was named the new assistant principal of Sag Harbor Elementary School by the district at a business meeting held Monday night. Denon is a veteran of the local education scene, having worked in the Southampton School District for 25 years.
Above: A headshot of Denon, Malones successor at the Sag Harbor Elementary School.
For the first 12 years of her career, Denon was a kindergarten teacher. The Southampton School District, however, later recruited Denon for the pre-kindergarten program where she served as coordinator for several years. In her free time, Denon is a member of the Sag Harbor Ladies Improvement Society and Early Education Initiative Committee for the Shinnecock Reservation. In addition to living within the district’s borders, Denon’s children were brought up in the Sag Harbor school system and will enter ninth grade this fall.
According to Sag Harbor School Superintendent Dr. John Gratto and elementary school principal Matt Malone, Denon’s previous work overseeing a pre-kindergarten program and her familiarity with the school made her an ideal applicant as the district looks to establish a pre-k in the 2010-2011 school year.
Denon was selected as a top candidate by a committee comprised of teachers, parents and district administrators, including Malone. The committee sifted through the applications and after several screenings agreed upon two viable candidates who were interviewed by Gratto.
“She is a well-established member of the community … and I think that is very important for parents, especially elementary school parents. They want to feel that they can approach someone with their concerns,” noted Gratto on the selection.
As per her contract with the district, Denon is on a three-year probationary period with an annual salary of $114,000. She can officially begin working for the district as soon as August 31, although Southampton School District has the ability to retain her as an employee until September 25. Denon, however, is confident she will be able to start in Sag Harbor by August 31.
The first day of school, however, is scheduled for September 9, giving Denon only a little over a week to settle into her new position.
“The first thing we have to do is get through opening day,” remarked Malone. “Then we can spend some quality time sharing ideas about the school … But I have faith that she will be brought up to speed very quickly.”
Of her first weeks at the school, Denon said, “I think in preparation for the job I will be an observer and a listener to see what happens at the school … I hope to be a face to greet the children and their families in the morning … I just want to be available so that people can get to know me.”