Smithtown appoints new school superintendent

Nesaquake Middle School is one of three middle Nesaquake Middle School is one of three middle schools in the Smithtown Central School District. (Feb. 20, 2012) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

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Bayport-Blue Point schools chief Anthony Annunziato is leaving the small but affluent district to lead the much larger Smithtown school system.

Annunziato, former president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, was appointed Tuesday in a unanimous vote of the Smithtown school board. He takes over on July 1, replacing the retiring Edward Ehmann.

"He's a very good fit for Smithtown," school board president Gladys Waldron said of Annunziato. "He's a complete package."

Annunziato will lead a district with a budget more than triple his current one and five times as many students. Bayport-Blue Point has a budget of $63.7 million, five schools and enrollment of about 2,500. Smithtown, with a $212 million budget, has 14 schools and about 14,000 students.

In a statement, Annunziato said he was "saddened" to leave the post he has held for seven years, but "privileged and honored" to be hired by Smithtown.

"It is my hope to bring together the stakeholders of the Smithtown School District and community for the purpose of finding ways to work together," he said.

Annunziato's salary is to be determined. He and Smithtown officials are negotiating terms of a three-year contract, Waldron said.

School board vice president Theresa Knox said the sides are close. "I would expect that all this will be signed and done very shortly," she said.

She acknowledged Annunziato's salary probably will be higher than the $219,555 drawn annually by Ehmann, but added that Annunziato has more experience than Ehmann had when he was hired in 2007. Ehmann, a 37-year Smithtown employee, had never been a superintendent before taking the job.

"I think we're also paying for . . . [seven] years of superintendent experience," Knox said, referring to Annunziato's term in Bayport-Blue Point. "We need that . . . He knows budgets inside and out."

Annunziato's $242,550 annual salary in Bayport-Blue Point ranks 34th among Long Island superintendents. Ehmann's is 68th.

Smithtown has weathered a succession of problems. It will close its Nesconset Elementary School in June due to budget cuts and enrollment declines. Smithtown teachers have worked without a contract for nearly two years; negotiations are ongoing.

"You really got the sense he wanted to be here," Knox said. "He wanted the challenge of the larger district."

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