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Glen Cove selects new school superintendent

On Presidents Day, students who showed up at

On Presidents Day, students who showed up at Glen Cove high school walk the halls during a class change. (Feb. 18, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Maria L. Rianna, assistant superintendent for instruction and administration in the Smithtown Central School District, has been appointed superintendent of Glen Cove schools and will start in her new post July 1.

Joseph Laria, the Nassau district's superintendent for three years, during which he led it through tough financial times, will retire at the end of June, he said Tuesday.

Laria, 69, joined the district in 2010 on an interim basis. He earns a $230,000 annual salary and does not receive benefits from the district, he said.

Rianna's salary will be $223,500, not including benefits, an attorney for the district said.

Laria was not involved in selecting his successor, and met Rianna this week only to learn that she was a student of his some 25 years ago at Long Island University's C.W. Post Campus -- now LIU Post. Laria, who also has taught at Stony Brook University and Dowling College, was an adjunct associate professor there.

The toughest parts of his Glen Cove job, he said, was balancing the budget while meeting new mandates and establishing a teacher and principal evaluation system.

Glen Cove serves 3,200 students in six schools, with roughly 200 teachers.

"I think we have set the stage for the new superintendent to carry on what we've started," Laria said. "I look forward to transferring the mantle of leadership to her."

School board president Joel Sunshine said Rianna was a unanimous choice.

"We conducted an extensive search with professional search consultants and had a slate of very capable candidates to choose from," he said. "We were quite impressed with them, but Ms. Rianna stood out in all seven of our minds as our first choice."

She is passionate about students and education and has extensive experience developing curriculum and promoting staff development, Sunshine said. She observes teachers not only to satisfy state standards, he said, but "to show she is their mentor, not just their boss."

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