Copiague school superintendent Charles A. Leunig will retire Aug. 31 and be replaced by Associate Superintendent Kathleen Bannon, the district announced this week.
Leunig, 57, said in an interview Tuesday that he began contemplating retirement more than a year ago. "You just know when the time is," he said. "We've made gains and we continue to go in the right direction."
The 36-year educator was named Copiague superintendent in 2008. He joined the district in 1994, rising from the position of director of personnel.
Bannon, 59, has served as the district's associate superintendent since 2012. A former principal of elementary schools in Copiague and Valley Stream, she began her teaching career with an 11-year stint in the classroom at Brentwood's North Elementary School.
"The Board of Education takes great pride in our ability to hire from within to fill management positions with the district," said Board of Education president Brian J. Sales in a statement released by a district spokeswoman. "We are fortunate to once again find an exceptional candidate within the ranks of our current administration to lead our district into the future."
Bannon's salary has not yet been set, a district spokeswoman said. Leunig's 2013-14 salary was $251,565, according to records, with total compensation, including benefits, of $330,240.
Bannon steps into the top job as officials for the district, which serves about 5,000 students, decide how to proceed after residents last fall voted down a $69.4 million bond measure that would have addressed overcrowding and aging facilities.
During Leunig's tenure as superintendent, according to the district statement, Copiague's Regents diploma rate rose to 93 percent and the Advanced Placement Program was recognized by the College Board three times, including as Small School District of the Year in 2012.
Student academic, athletic and extracurricular programs were expanded, according to the release, with the inclusion of a science research program at the high school and middle school.
But the district's 74 percent graduation rate in 2014 trailed the statewide average of 76 percent, according to the New York State Education Department. And 22 percent of Copiague students graduated with Regents with Advanced Designation, a higher level of diploma, behind the statewide 31 percent.