New Suffolk School District

New Suffolk appoints Phil Kent as principal and superintendent

A longtime Riverhead school administrator will be taking on a new role in Southold Town next month. 

New Suffolk school board members unanimously appointed Phil Kent as district principal and superintendent at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Mr. Kent officially retires as principal of Aquebogue Elementary School at the end of this month. He is expected to begin working at New Suffolk on the first day of classes Sept. 4 , board president Tony Dill said.

The administrative position had been vacant since former principal and superintendent Nancy Carney announced her resignation in early July. The board approved her resignation at the July 12 board meeting.

Mr. Dill said he and the board received multiple recommendations for Mr. Kent.

“We talked around and did some investigation and came to realize that it would be virtually impossible for us to find a candidate better qualified for this position than Phil Kent,” Mr. Dill said at the meeting. “I don’t think anyone has any second-thoughts whatsoever.”

Mr. Kent has met with board members to discuss his role in the school and has scheduled individual meetings with each teacher, Mr. Dill said.

Mr. Kent thanked board members for appointing him to the position.

“I certainly look forward to working, moving forward with the kids,” he said. “Please let me know if I can do anything.

Board member Lauren Grant said the board is lucky Mr. Kent was available to fill the vacant spot and is eager to work alongside him.

Mr. Kent worked at Aquebogue Elementary School for 16 years and in the district for almost 25, according to previous reports. One of his mentors, Dick Malone, current superintendent for the Oysterponds School District, supervised him during his first full-time teaching job in Southampton, he said.

Ms. Carney retired from her role as superintendent of the Riverhead Central School District in 2017 prior to coming to New Suffolk last September.

Mr. Dill said she has plans to sell her home and move to the west coast by the end of August. Ms. Carney’s decision to resign came as a “surprise” for Mr. Dill, he said, but given her family developments it was understandable.

“She is extremely excited about it,” he said. “I think, had it been for personal family matters out of her control, she would have been out there sooner.”

Ms. Carney was not present at the board meeting and did not immediately respond to an email inquiry for comment.

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