P.J. Gelinas Junior High School Principal William Bernhard will take Alan Baum’s place as Ward Melville principal in August. Photo from Three Village Central School District

By Rita J. Egan

Some junior high school graduates will see a familiar face among staff members at Ward Melville High School in September.

P.J. Gelinas Junior High School Principal William Bernhard will take on the role of high school principal when Alan Baum moves to the school district’s administrative office to start his new position as executive director of secondary curriculum and human resources in August.

“This is a truly wonderful community where the primary emphasis is on our kids.”

— William Bernhard

Bernhard has been principal at Gelinas for four years and has worked for the Three Village Central School District for 21 years. Before becoming principal of the junior high school, Bernhard said he was a math teacher and mathematics chairman in Ward Melville. He also has lectured at Stony Brook University’s mathematics and applied math departments for more than two decades. His work at SBU earned him the State University of New York’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching for the academic year 2016–17.

The Stony Brook resident said he was excited when he heard he was going to be the new principal at Ward Melville.

“This is a truly wonderful community where the primary emphasis is on our kids,” Bernhard said. “I look forward to working with the school’s outstanding faculty.”

Working with exceptional co-workers is something Bernhard is familiar with, and he said he will miss the staff members at the junior school.

“There are amazing people at Gelinas who do so much for students,” he said. “They have inspired me.”

Three Village Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said Bernhard’s previous experience in the district will be an asset in his new position.

“Mr. Bernhard is a dedicated leader who is able to make strong connections with parents, students and staff.”

— Cheryl Pedisich

“Mr. Bernhard is a dedicated leader who is able to make strong connections with parents, students and staff,” she said in a statement. “Given his previous work at Ward Melville and passion for education, we are confident that he will enable our district to continue the tradition of providing an excellent education befitting the Three Village community.”

In his new role as high school principal, Bernhard said he hopes “to continue to strengthen the academic program of this historic institution.” To help him with these goals, Baum offered some advice.

“Ward Melville is a great institution filled with incredible students and amazing staff,” he said. “Be sure to include them in your decision-making process and never lose sight of your objective: To help provide a well-rounded, enriched educational experience for all students. Stay open-minded, be fair and, above all, enjoy this professional opportunity to grow.”

The Three Village school district is currently searching for a replacement for Bernhard. In his new role, the principal said he looks forward to seeing Gelinas students in the near future.

“I will be waiting for you at our wonderful high school to take on exciting new endeavors,” he said. “Keep the spirit of Gelinas alive by practicing kindness and wisdom.”

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