Brother Gary Cregan, who served as principal of St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington for 16 years during one of the Catholic academy's biggest expansions, has announced his immediate resignation and replacement.
Cregan's departure was confirmed in a letter to parents and students dated Aug. 17, in which the 64-year-old educator expressed a wish "to refocus my life with less responsibilities." Cregan added that he would remain on campus until Friday, working on the transition with his successor, Brother David Migliorino, principal of Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
An official of the Franciscan Brothers, the religious order that oversees St. Anthony's, said in a separate letter that Cregan "feels that it is necessary to resign for personal and health reasons."
Meanwhile, one of Long Island's longest-serving public school administrators, James Hunderfund, superintendent of Malverne schools, announced Wednesday he is stepping down at the end of the school year, June 2020. Hunderfund's career in teaching and management spans 50 years, including 13 as Malverne's school chief and 12 as top executive in Commack.
Hunderfund, 76, said in an interview that age was a factor in his decision, but that he looked forward to his last 10 months in office,
"We're going to have a great school year," Hunderfund said. "We're opening our new wing at the high school — that's a $20 million project."
Cregan, in a separate interview, said health concerns led him to conclude that he might not be able to devote "full energy" to his task of directing a school with 2,400 students and 160 faculty members. He did not elaborate, but voiced confidence that Migliorino would bring a "new vision" to St. Anthony's that would help raise it "to the next level."
As his accomplishments, Cregan listed expansion of the school's college-level Advanced Placement program, with a total 33 courses, along with construction of a Romanesque chapel and 144,000-square-foot student center and athletic facility.
St. Anthony's is a coed Roman Catholic college preparatory academy founded in 1933 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn. Brother Gabriel O'Brien, superior general at the Brooklyn headquarters, said in an Aug. 16 letter to the high school's faculty and staff, "We are grateful to Brother Gary for his 16 years of service as principal."
O'Brien's letter added that he met with Cregan that same day at the request of the principal who, he said, "asked for and received permission to resign as principal of St. Anthony's High School, effective immediately." O'Brien went on to say that, when he told Cregan that Migliorino would succeed him, the principal "expressed his delight knowing that Saint Anthony's will be in great hands."
In Malverne, the school board president, Danielle Hopkins, thanked Hunderfund for his service and dedication and wished him "nothing but health and happiness in his retirement." The district serves a diverse enrollment of about 1,700 students in Hempstead Town, and Hunderfund is widely credited for boosting academic performance there.
"Dr. Hunderfund has made tremendous strides in our district by redefining our standards and traditions and bringing our schools, curriculum, students and community together to excel at levels that surpassed our expectations," Hopkins said in a prepared statement. "He will leave behind difficult shoes to fill as we seek someone to take our district to even greater heights."