Veteran educator John V. Dolan, who has worked in three Suffolk County districts over the past 20 years, has been named the new superintendent of the East Islip system starting July 1.
The school board chose Dolan, 53, of Oakdale, at a special meeting Tuesday night, board president Steven Behan said Thursday. He was selected from a pool of 15 candidates.
Dolan has "one of the best reputations as one of the hardest-working principals on Long Island," Behan said. His devotion to education and love for his students make him a "perfect fit" for the district, which has about 3,900 students, he said.
Dolan said his starting base salary is $207,000 and his contract is three years.
Linda Rozzi, his predecessor, resigned effective June 30 to become superintendent of the Babylon school district. She will have completed two years of her five-year contract, she said Thursday.
Rozzi expressed appreciation to the school board, staff and students' families.
"We have accomplished a great deal together in a relatively short time," she said in an email, mentioning an improved graduation rate, more Advanced Placement course opportunities and realignment of elementary school grades.
Dolan, who grew up in Stony Brook, earned a degree in social science from Stony Brook University, a master's in business administration from Adelphi University and administrative certifications from Dowling College.
He said he has always enjoyed working with kids.
"I absolutely love seeing the lightbulb go off when a child learns something in a classroom, on a stage, in a music or art situation, or on the field," he said.
Dolan began his career in the Patchogue-Medford school district in 1987, where he taught seventh- and eighth-grade social studies. In 1989, he transferred to Patchogue-Medford High School to teach economics.
He said he never planned to become an administrator. "That happened completely by accident" in 1998, he said, when he was offered the dean of students position at Saxon Middle School.
Dolan was named assistant principal at Smithtown Middle School -- now Smithtown East High School -- in 2001. He was promoted to principal of Smithtown West High School in 2004. For the past five years he's worked as principal at Sachem North High School in the Sachem school district.
He said his students know him for his 10 simple rules to live by, including "Stay to the right," "Be polite," "Keep it clean" and "Hug your parents." At assemblies, he would have students stand and repeat the rules after him.
Behan noted that the district was hit hard by the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment program, losing a total of $18 million. That program was introduced five years ago to address a $10-billion statewide budget deficit.
"We worked hard to keep taxes low over the last two years. We think John can keep that going," Behan said. "He has an MBA. That's going to help the school district."