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Southold High School welcomes new principal Terence Rusch

Southold High School will have a new principal next month. 

Terence Rusch, currently an assistant principal at Division Avenue High School in the Levittown School District, will begin his new position July 1. He will replace current principal William Galati, who has been appointed principal at George W. Hewlett High School in Nassau County. 

Mr. Rusch, 33, said he’s excited to become a part of Southold’s tight-knit community.

“My first goal is to just get to know the students,” he said. “That was one of the driving factors for me, that it was a tight knit community and I’d have the opportunity to get to know people, to know every student at graduation, to get to know families.”

Mr. Rusch, who currently resides in Bayside, Queens, said he’s also looking to continue providing enrichment opportunities for Southold High School students. He has plans to move east before the school year begins. 

“You do a lot of research when you’re applying for positions about districts and the community and it’s just a district that does everything it can to help their kids — to help them progress and it has families in the community as a whole that support everything the district’s doing,” he said.

Mr. Rusch noted that Southold’s size makes it different from Division Avenue, where he has worked since 2014. Before becoming assistant principal there in 2016, Mr. Rusch was the high school’s special education chairperson. 

Before that, he was a special education teacher for six years at Great Neck Middle School. He also coached volleyball within that district. 

His most formative job, he said, was one of his first, working at a camp called the Anchor Program with students and adults with disabilities. 

Mr. Rusch graduated from Chaminade High School, where he played hockey and volleyball.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and composition from Fairfield University, a master’s degree in childhood education and teaching students with disabilities from St. John’s University and an advanced certification in educational leadership and administration from Queens College. 

“For me, it’s always been about how can I expand my ability to help more people,” he said. “As a teacher, you have your classroom and your teams; as chairperson, I had my whole department. It was always about how can I help more and more people.”

Mr. Rusch was approved by the Board of Education at its May 23 meeting after being unanimously endorsed by the selection committee — a group of eight or nine stakeholders, including a student, parent and middle and high school teachers — according to Superintendent David Gamberg. 

“We’re very excited,” Mr. Gamberg said. “I wish Mr. Galati the best of luck in his new endeavor, and I think Mr. Rusch will fit in very well with the Southold learning community. I think the students appreciate his enthusiasm and the staff very much welcomes his energy and interest in making the best out of what we have here.”

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