Robert Vecchio, president and longtime trustee of the William Floyd school board, will be moving into the executive director's job at the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association, where he will represent more than 100 districts on issues of educational policy.
Vecchio will take the regional post on June 30, succeeding Lorraine Deller, who by then will have served 22 years as executive director. Deller, of Baldwin, long has been one of the Island's leading advocates for more equitable funding of districts.
Vecchio's annual salary will be $140,000, the association said.
"Lorraine Deller leaves behind quite a record of advocacy — hard shoes to fill," Vecchio said in a phone interview Thursday night. "I definitely look forward to continue advocating for schools on Long Island [and] also to support boards of education in being the best representatives of their communities."
School boards have been in the news recently, amid reports of meeting disruptions over issues including student masking and instruction on race relations. The New York State School Boards Association last month reported results of a members survey, indicating that 80% had not experienced violent acts or threats of violence statewide. No regional breakdown of responses was provided.
Asked about the disruptions, Vecchio said, "I just view challenges as opportunities to excel, to remind people why local governance matters."
Vecchio recently announced plans to resign from William Floyd's board on Dec. 31, so he can begin prepping for his new job by serving temporarily as Deller's deputy. Earlier this week, the board appointed Kevin Meyer, of Mastic, a retired Queens firefighter, to fill the vacancy that will be left by Vecchio's departure.
Deller, in a phone interview Friday, said Vecchio's move should allow for a smooth transition. She added that timing was opportune as schools prepare for "a post-pandemic world."
Vecchio was appointed deputy executive director June 18 by the association's officers and executive committee, with the understanding that he would move to the top slot later.
William Floyd, one of the Island's largest districts, enrolls about 9,000 students in southeastern Brookhaven Town.
Vecchio, of Shirley, has served on the district's board for 18 years, the last 15 as president. He also has sat on the executive committee of the Nassau-Suffolk boards association for many years and has been co-chairman of the group's legislative committee, as well as a member of its nominating committee.
As accomplishments in recent years, Vecchio pointed to his district's success in raising graduation rates from 67% to 91%, and also to the development of a "top-notch" career and technical education program that, he said, has helped more students become career- and college-ready.
Vecchio worked 30 years in health care accounting for a drug and alcohol rehab center in Westhampton Beach, and recently retired as the organization's controller.