Mattituck-Cutchogue Superintendent Anne Smith recently announced she’ll be retiring in July.
Dr. Smith, who is in her fourth year as the district’s superintendent, announced the decision to faculty on Tuesday. The Board of Education is expected to vote on her resignation at Thursday night’s board meeting.
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done and I’m excited to celebrate it. It’s an unusual feeling because I still love the work.”
Dr. Smith, who cited personal reasons for retiring, is leaving one year before her contract was scheduled to end. She said the board is responsible for choosing a new superintendent and will hire Eastern Suffolk BOCES to help them conduct their search for her successor.
She began her professional career teaching in the Rocky Point School District, where she met her husband, in 1980. She eventually became the assistant principal at the district’s primary school before moving on the become a principal in the William Floyd School District.
Not long after the birth of her third child, she learned that the principal at the primary school in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District was retiring. She began in that role in August 1996. She soon was asked to add on the title of assistant superintendent, and continued to fill both roles until previous superintendent James McKenna retired and she succeeded him as the district’s superintendent.
She said her favorite part of working in the Mattituck-Cutchogue district, where all of her children graduated, is the community.
“The most important thing to me is the community and the way in which everything is approached,” Dr. Smith said. “Whether we were designing a new science curriculum at the elementary school or the agriculture program at the high school. This approach of people just rolling up their sleeves and getting involved and committing to something. It’s really a creative culture that’s always been here.”
She cited numerous achievements over her two-decade career in the district, including introducing foreign language in the elementary school this year, establishing school gardens and greenhouses, the focus on mindfulness and social emotional learning and introducing coding curriculum in the district, to name a few.
Placing a large importance on teacher development and leadership throughout her career, she said she’s also proud of the projects and work of the teachers in both schools.
One of her biggest professional accomplishments, however, was her involvement in the annexation of the Laurel school, which began during her second year in the district. “That was a big deal in my career,” Dr. Smith said of the five-year project. “It was a significant accomplishment in the district … and a big deal to bring in the Laurel community and really merge the districts.”
Pending the Board of Education’s vote at Thursday’s meeting, Dr. Smith is expected to retire on or about July 31. This allows her to be available to help with transition to a new superintendent as needed, she said.
“It’s a bittersweet, mixed feeling one has when still being so in love with their job and yet kind of looking at the full balance of what’s best overall,” she said. “It’s a journey.”
Photo caption: Anne Smith pictured in September. (Credit: Nicole Smith)