New Suffolk School Superintendent Robert Feger will retire at the end of June after 47 years as an educator, seven of them in New Suffolk.
“I will really, really miss this school,” he said after helping tabulate election results Tuesday night. “For me, being here was really putting the cherry on the sundae of my career. It’s time for someone new to take the reins.”
Mr. Feger, a Greenport resident, began his career in New York City, teaching for 19 years at Brooklyn Technical High School. After moving to the East End in 1984, he served as principal of Hampton Bays Junior-Senior High School and acting principal and acting superintendent in the Southold School District. He took on the part-time position in New Suffolk in 2005.
Tuesday night he jokingly described his retirement from New Suffolk as his “third-and-a-half retirement.”
Mr. Feger was The Suffolk Times’ Educator of the Year in 2009 for his lifetime’s work and also for helping New Suffolk develop creative classroom solutions to a student population boom that year.
“His true delight is to nurture the development of his faculty and, at New Suffolk, he has accomplished that to a remarkable degree,” New Suffolk school board president Tony Dill said at that time. “For each year of his tenure, the school has grown a bit stronger, whether it is in terms of enrollment, curricular enhancements, staff capabilities or parent involvement.”
“He’s one of a kind. He’s a very fair and honest person. I think he’s the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back,” said district secretary Maria Gizzo, who was at the school Wednesday while students took a trip to Suffolk County Police Headquarters in Yaphank. “The kids have always been his number one priority.
“People all have a story about what he’s done for them, especially in New Suffolk,” she added. “We’re like a family here because we’re so small. He’s been the head of the family since I’ve been here. I’ve looked to him for guidance. You can’t fill his shoes. No one can.”
Mr. Dill said Tuesday that the board has been aware since March of Mr. Feger’s decision, which was made public at a school board meeting May 8.
“We’ve already begun the search process,” he said. “We plan to announce his replacement before the end of June.”