Greenport School District staffs new pre-K program

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08/21/2014 12:00 PM |
Joseph Tsaveras. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Joseph Tsaveras, the principal for both the pre-K and kindergarten programs, speaks at Tuesday’s board meeting. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

The Greenport school board approved several new hires for the district’s new pre-kindergarten program.

Jenellen Skuggevik and Heather Petretti will serve as the school’s pre-K school’s teachers. Both appointments were unanimously approved during the school board’s meeting Tuesday night. 

Ms. Skuggevik and Ms. Petretti were hired as three-year probationary teachers at starting salaries of $26,000, according to the resolutions. Their names may be familiar to those in Southold Town, as Ms. Skuggevik is the wife of outgoing Greenport High School principal Leonard Skuggevik, and Ms. Petretti is married to Mattituck High School principal Shawn Petretti.

Joseph Tsaveras, principal for both the pre-K and kindergarten programs, said 39 people applied for the positions and 10 were interviewed.

Mr. Tsaveras said each candidate was asked to talk about their ideas for keeping children engaged learners.

“We want kids to have fun and want them to come back every day excited to learn new stuff,” he said. “That’s what it should be all about.”

During his presentation about the new pre-K program, Mr. Tsaveras said 29 students have enrolled and another bus has been added to ease overcrowding and accommodate the additional students. Although Greenport’s pre-K program will run for a full day, from 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., five days a week, Mr. Tsaveras said its first week will be only half-days, with an 11:30 a.m. dismissal.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Greenport resident and former school board member Gary Charters asked why no one from the school board was on the hiring committee for the pre-K teachers.

“I’d like to see the board return to being on the hiring committee — no matter who or what the position for the candidate is,” he said.

School board president Dan Creedon acknowledged Mr. Charters’ concern, saying that although the board is involved with administrative hires, it hasn’t been on hiring committees for teachers. In addition to hiring two pre-K teachers, the board also hired teacher assistant Amy Gammon at a salary of $30,000, and aides Patricia Walden and Kara Heinman, with starting salaries of $15,000, according to the resolutions. The contracts go into effect Sept. 1.

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