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Wyandanch High School principal reassigned as district reviews incident

Paul Sibblies, principal of Wyandanch Memorial High School,

Paul Sibblies, principal of Wyandanch Memorial High School, in a 2018 photo. Credit: Barry Sloan

Paul Sibblies, principal of Wyandanch Memorial High School since 2009, has been reassigned and ordered off school property while the district reviews a recent incident, the district announced in a letter to parents Wednesday.

The letter from Superintendent Gina Talbert said Sibblies' administrative reassignment was made in "an abundance of caution" to allow the district and its attorney "to review the circumstances of a recent school related incident."

Meanwhile, an assistant principal, Noel Rios, has been placed in charge of the high school, Talbert said. The building enrolls about 800 students in grades 9-12.

"We have an expectation that all students will graduate on time and we must remain committed to that goal," Talbert stated.

Sibblies retains his annual salary, which is $176,000, according to state records.

In accordance with privacy rules, the district provided no additional details other than to describe its review as an "investigation."

Sibblies, reached by phone, denied any inappropriate action during the incident in question but referred all specific questions to the superintendent.

"As principal, my first priority is the students' safety, period," Sibblies said.

In March, the district announced that Sibblies had been honored at a Black History Month Program sponsored by Babylon Town. At that time, a district official described him as "a remarkable role model for the scholars within the high school and the younger scholars in the middle and elementary schools."

This week's administrative shifts at the high school come as a Hempstead-based education group has proposed opening a charter school in Wyandanch, and SUNY trustees are scheduled to consider potential approval Thursday.

SUNY staffers have said the charter school could benefit Wyandanch students by providing high-quality instruction without charge to their families. Talbert and other local school officials have responded that the charter school could hurt their district financially by collecting tuition payments from the district for students it attracts.

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