East Williston superintendent to start year with new staffers

Noah Manskar
East Williston school Superintendent Elaine Kanas said the district is still adjusting to the new pandemic protocols.

The East Williston school district superintendent will start her second five-year term with three new administrators under her wing.

The district’s school board last Thursday renewed the employment contract for the superintendent, Elaine Kanas, through 2022 and appointed replacements for the three departing administrators: Assistant Superintendent for Business Jacqueline Pirro, Director of Technology David Casamento and Shari Senzer, the director of pupil personnel services.

Danielle Gately was also promoted to assistant superintendent for curriculum and personnel, a new position that gives her more authority over the district’s educational programs, the school board president, Mark Kamberg, said. Gately was previously an assistant to the superintendent.

Kamberg said the staff changes coincide with efforts to restructure the district administration to better serve its educational goals.

“Sometimes opportunities can arise out of [staff departures], and I think as a result that’s exactly what we’re seeing, and it’s going to be an incredible and exciting school year ahead,” Kamberg said.

Sydney Freifelder, a retired veteran business administrator, will temporarily replace Pirro, who has taken a job with the Hauppauge school district. Pirro’s last day is July 29.

Marc Licht will serve as interim director of technology, replacing Casamento, who will leave July 15 to become the assistant superintendent for curriculum in the East Meadow school district.

Freifelder, who is retired from the Merrick school district and most recently worked as an interim official in the North Merrick school district, will be paid $800 per day. Licht previously worked in the Mineola school district and will be paid $750 per day.

Lynn Mazza was hired as the new director of pupil personnel services at a $150,000 salary, replacing Senzer, who resigned as of June 30. The school board accepted her resignation in May.

The district will start searching for Pirro’s permanent replacement in the fall and should be ready to hire one by next spring, Kamberg said.

A new technology director should be in place soon after the start of the next school year, Kamberg said, likely with the new title of director of technology, innovation and information services.

Because the role of technology in the district has expanded so much in recent years, that person will get support from a secondary science department chairperson and a new director of middle school life, Kanas said.

Alexis Blondrage, the Wheatley School’s science research teacher, was given the former position overseeing science education in grades seven through 12. The latter job will both assist the Willets Road Middle School principal and oversee science courses for the elementary grades, Kanas said.

“It’ll give us even more attention and time to those areas to help us even do more there,” Kanas said.

The renewal of Kanas’ five-year contract, along with a raise making her salary $255,000, comes as the district starts to formulate its next five-year strategic plan, she said.

Kanas oversaw the implementation of the first five-year plan after taking over as superintendent in 2012.

“As we successfully meet those goals that we set for ourselves, now it’s a great opportunity in the next five years coming for us to continue to grow our vision, establish priorities and have those five years to work toward those as well,” Kanas said.

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