The Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of Jill Gierasch as the district’s new superintendent at a special meeting Thursday afternoon. Board member Barbara Talbot was absent from the meeting.
Ms. Gierasch is currently the deputy superintendent of the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District and is entering a five-year contract beginning Aug. 1 and effective until July 31, 2023.
“We felt like she was highly qualified but also like she would fit really well and work seamlessly with the people who were already here, and that was important to us too,” board member Barbara Wheaton said.
According to the Mattituck School District, Ms. Gierasch has been working in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District since 2009, first as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction before becoming deputy superintendent in 2015. Prior to that she was an elementary school assistant principal in the Three Village School District, an elementary school principal at the Sachem School District during which she was interviewed by
the New York Times, and then was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and staff development (grades K-5) in the Sachem School District.
She began her career in 1989 as an elementary teacher in the William Floyd School District and later became an elementary teacher in the Bayport-Blue Point School District before beginning her administrative career.
“She’s from a small town and she seemed to like that,” Board of Education vice president MaryLynn Hoeg said. “We all felt she’d be a good fit in Mattituck and she was very experienced and very knowledgeable on everything — from budgets to curriculum. She kind of covered the gamut with everything that’s involved in being a superintendent.”
Ms. Gierasch will be replacing current Superintendent Anne Smith, who is retiring next month after working in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District since 1996, where she began as the primary school principal.
Soon afterward she also served as assistant superintendent, and continued to fill both roles until previous superintendent James McKenna retired and she succeeded him as the district’s superintendent in 2014. She is retiring one year before her contract was scheduled to end.
Dr. Smith said she will be working closely with Ms. Gierasch in July and August to ease the transition.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Board of Education for their support and the confidence they have shown in me,” Ms. Gierasch said in a statement. “I am honored and so pleased to have an opportunity to work in such an amazing school district and community. I look forward to getting to know and work with the Board, administrators, staff, students, parents, and community residents as we focus on the academic, social and emotional growth of all students. My goal is to ensure that all students have the tools and resources needed to achieve their fullest potential.”
The board began searching for a new superintendent this past winter, and was presented with 23 candidates. Working with Eastern Suffolk BOCES they got the number down to eight candidates that the Board of Education interviewed.
From there they narrowed the search down to three candidates. Each candidate then met with members of the administration, teaching staff, Civil Service Employees Association, Parent Teacher Associations and Parent Teacher Student Associations, school board president Charles Anderson said.
“She stood out to everybody,” Mr. Anderson said. “She was heads and shoulders above everybody.”