By Tessa Raebeck
The Sag Harbor School District on Monday, July 28, appointed a new school business administrator to fill the position left open by John O’Keefe’s departure earlier this month.
The new administrator, Jennifer Buscemi, will start work on Monday, August 4, and serve a three-year probationary term ending August 3, 2017.
“I am very excited to get started in my new role,” Ms. Buscemi said in an email Wednesday, July 30.
Ms. Buscemi, who lives in Brentwood, is leaving her post as executive director for finance and operations at the West Babylon School District. She has held that position since November 1, 2011.
“I feel that my background and work experience will enable me to support the educational and fiscal goals of the superintendent and the board of education,” she continued. “I will work hard to maintain all the wonderful programs the district currently offers, while also working to expand educational opportunities for all students. In the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting and working in partnership with my new colleagues and all the members of the Sag Harbor community.”
Mr. O’Keefe started as business administrator in 2012 and left the district on July 16 for a position as assistant superintendent for business and operations in the West Hempstead School District.
At Monday’s board meeting, school board member David Diskin congratulated the superintendent and those involved in hiring Ms. Buscemi.
“That’s a very difficult thing to walk into and to do it so quickly and successfully—great,” Mr. Diskin said to Ms. Graves, who started in the district this month.
“This was someone with exceptional skills,” Chris Tice, vice president of the school board, said of Ms. Buscemi, adding that she “comes with a wealth of fabulous experience.”
“We’re very fortunate,” agreed board president Theresa Samot.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Ms. Graves outlined her entry plan, saying her focus, especially in the beginning months, would be on listening to and learning from all the various stakeholders in the community.
In her decision making, Ms. Graves said she simply asks herself, “What is best for students, fair for adults and what the community can sustain?”
Ms. Graves outlined a timeline starting in July 2014 that will begin collecting “evidence and documentation of the district’s strengths, challenges and needs.”
She said the remainder of the summer would be spent conducting interviews, reviewing documents and implementing surveys to learn more about her new district.
Ms. Graves also presented a timeline of interviews she hopes to conduct with a number of groups and individuals across the community, ranging from bus drivers and student leaders to the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and local real estate agents.
During October, with the help of the school board, she will analyze that data and prepare a report to reflect the findings, then share that report and solicit feedback from administrators, faculty and staff, and school committees.
By mid-November, Ms. Graves said she will have created a work action plan for the year with “vision, goals, objectives and measurement indicators,” and present a draft of that plan to the district’s stakeholders.
The next meeting of the board of education will be held Monday, August 18, in the Pierson library.