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Hempstead school trustees OK terms of superintendent Susan Johnson's contract

Superintendent Susan Johnson addresses the school board during

Superintendent Susan Johnson addresses the school board during a meeting at the Hempstead School Board. (July 12, 2005) Credit: Paul J. Bereswill

Hempstead school district trustees last week unanimously approved a finalized contract of nearly four years with superintendent Susan Johnson, after two months of negotiations.

After an executive session during Thursday night’s meeting, the school board, in a 5-0 vote, approved Johnson’s contract, retroactive to November and extending through June 30, 2016. Officials declined to disclose the terms of the contract — including compensation, benefits and procedures for termination by either party.

“I am proud to announce that the employment agreement between the board of education and superintendent Susan Johnson has been completely and finally negotiated,” said the district’s Carle Place-based attorney, Jonathan Scher. The announcement was greeted by applause from district employees, parents and students attending the meeting.

Johnson, a Hempstead graduate, came out of retirement to run the school system. Johnson said she has master’s degrees from Columbia University in early childhood education and in educational administration.

“It was a long process, but it was a necessary process,” Johnson said after the meeting. “It’s a good feeling about being CEO of a school district that I attended . . . I am truly blessed to be in front of you as the official superintendent.”

In March, the state Education Department denied a request for a waiver that would have allowed Johnson to serve as superintendent and collect a $210,000 salary from December 2012 through June 30 of this year. State law requires that retirees younger than 65 cannot make more than $30,000 in order to collect their state pensions. Johnson does not need state approval if she waives her $100,000-plus state pension.

Johnson returned to the position she held twice before after former superintendent Patricia Garcia resigned in November. Garcia is set to receive a nearly $320,000 payout until December.

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