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Long IslandEducation

Herricks hires new schools superintendent

Dr. Fino Celano is photographed in his office

Dr. Fino Celano is photographed in his office on Dec. 23, 2014. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Fino Celano, an assistant superintendent of schools in Garden City for a decade, has been named superintendent of Herricks schools, effective July 1.

"I'm extremely excited," Celano said during a telephone interview. "My entry plan is to establish a relationship with key members of the school community and analyze the strengths and needs of the school district."

Celano, 58, an East Williston resident, replaces John E. Bierwirth, who plans to work for an international testing company when he retires June 30, after 14 years. Celano will be paid $245,000 a year, compared with Bierwirth's $278,739.

Herricks board of education president Jim Gounaris said in a phone interview that Celano stood out from among two dozen candidates for the top post in the district, which has about 4,000 students and consistently ranks among the leaders in test scores on Long Island.

"I think what attracted us to him was his thoughtful and genuine concern for students and their educational needs, and the intelligent responses to many of the difficult questions we asked of him," Gounaris said. "He'll ensure Herricks is at the pinnacle of public education in the state."

The Brooklyn-born Celano graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie with a bachelor's degree in history in 1978. He earned his master of arts in reading education in 1985 from Manhattan College, obtained his certificate of advanced study in educational administration from Hofstra University in 1990, and in 2009 received his doctorate in educational administration and supervision from St. John's University.

Celano began his teaching career in Poughkeepsie in 1978 and later taught in the Bronx. In 1985, he became a teacher at Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, where he was later selected to be assistant principal at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore. He became principal there in 1997.

In July 2003, Celano joined the Roslyn school district as human resources assistant superintendent. His responsibilities included budget preparation, contract administration and collective bargaining.

Celano became Garden City's assistant superintendent for personnel in September 2005 and is responsible for supervision, mentoring and guidance to district principals and department directors, among other duties.

Garden City Superintendent Robert Feirsen cq said of Celano's departure, "We are saddened to see Dr. Celano leave our district, but delighted for him in his new role."

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