Mattituck high school lands new principal

Patrick Burke spent the last two decades immersing himself in the Riverhead school district and community, starting as a social studies teacher and becoming a coach, advisor and finally the principal of Pulaski Street Intermediate School.

Starting July 1, the well-regarded educator and administrator is diving into a new community and position as the principal of Mattituck-Cutchogue Jr. Sr. High School.

“It’s been an amazing, truly amazing ride,” Mr. Burke said. “It has been filled with so many great experiences and so many wonderful memories. I look at my bulletin board behind me, and there are constant reminders and it’s bittersweet to be honest.”

Mattituck-Cutchogue superintendent Shawn Petretti sent a letter to the community May 23 announcing the resignation of principal Micheal Hansen and welcoming Mr. Burke to his new position.

“He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with a proven ability to connect with students, staff and families,” Mr. Petretti wrote. “He is known for his collaborative approach to promote the common goal of improving opportunities and increasing success for all students.”

In 2001, Mr. Burke joined Riverhead as a high school social studies teacher. He also became a successful cross country and basketball coach for the district, as well as a class advisor.

Mr. Burke holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in social science and a masters degree in history from Stony Brook University.

In 2015, after getting his advanced building- and district-level certifications through Stony Brook University, he became the assistant principal of Riverhead High School. Then in 2017 he was appointed assistant principal of Pulaski Street Intermediate School and has been the principal there since 2020.

“I have to say, this community is incredible,” he said. “The people have truly been just a beautiful part of my career.”

Among Mr. Burke’s proudest achievements during his tenure in Riverhead are helping improve Pulaski Intermediate School’s status on the state list of schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) — which identifies the lowest performing schools in New York — as well as overseeing the Run to Remember or “R2R” — a race held in memory of members of the Riverhead school community who have died.

“This is not the work of one, this is the work of many,” Mr. Burke said. “I think what I’ll take to Mattituck is that we can do almost anything, as long as we’re working together and collaboratively. That’s what I will take as a learning experience and as a guiding opportunity going forward.”

Riverhead’s interim superintendent of schools Cheryl Pedisich reflected the mood of the Riverhead community in a letter to district parents sent out on May 29.

“This is a bittersweet moment for our Riverhead School District community,” she said. “Of course, we wish Mr. Burke all the best in this new position. However, we are sad to say goodbye, as he has been a dedicated and respected educator and administrator in our district for the past 23 years.”

Ms. Pedisich’s letter closed with the district’s next steps in finding a new principal for Pulaski Street Intermediate School.

“We will be working with Mr. Burke and the administrative team at Pulaski to ensure continuity and a smooth transition, as we move from this school year to the next,” Ms. Pedisich wrote. “We will keep the community updated through this process.”

Mr. Burke feels very fortunate and humbled to join the Mattituck school community.

“I really am looking forward to becoming a future Tucker and I’m looking forward to being a part of the Mattituck family,” Mr. Burke said.