Leadership shifting at two school districts

Leadership shifting at two school districts

Diana Todaro stands with Francesco Ianni, who was named her successor. File photo

Change is in the air in Harborfields and Cold Spring Harbor school districts.

Superintendent Judith Wilansky, who has served Cold Spring Harbor for the past eight years, and Superintendent Diana Todaro, who has been at Harborfields for 14 years, and lead as superintendent for three, announced their retirements this past week.

While Cold Spring Harbor has just begun the search for a new superintendent, Harborfields has already named Todaro’s successor: current Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Resources,
Dr. Francesco Ianni.

Todaro’s contract had been extended through June 2017 by the school board, however, she said she wanted to “accelerate the timeline in order to mentor my successor within the upcoming school year and provide the opportunity for a smooth transition,” according to a statement.

Wilansky has had an unprecedented run at Cold Spring Harbor, being the first female superintendent for the district and holding the second longest term in the history of the district. She has been at Cold Spring Harbor since 2000 as a central office administrator.

Cold Spring Harbor Superintendent Judith Wilansky is leaving her position next school year. Photo from Karen Spehler
Cold Spring Harbor Superintendent Judith Wilansky is leaving her position next school year. Photo from Karen Spehler

“I’ve been here long enough to see children go through their entire school career,” Wilansky said in a phone interview. “I was at the middle school’s winter concert recently and it dawned one me that I would miss their graduation, and that’s what I’ll miss the most — seeing these kids graduate and having the opportunity to watch them grow up.”

Wilansky said she’s most proud of Cold Spring Harbor schools for meeting the needs of all students in the district because “that’s what a public school is designed to do.”

She also said she spoke to the board about what she thinks a good search project should look like, but has no idea where the decision will land on her replacement. Her final day as superintendent will be June 30, 2016.

President of the Cold Spring Harbor Board of Education, Robert Hughes, said Wilanksy was an important asset to Cold Spring Harbor and will be missed.

“She has been a steady hand at the helm,” he said in a phone interview. Todaro began her career at Harborfields as a student teacher at Oldfield Middle School.

“For the past 14 years, it has truly been my pleasure to be in the Harborfields school community,” Todaro said in a statement. “It has been my distinct honor to be the superintendent of Harborfields Central School District. I am confident that the district will continue to excel and be recognized as a leader of the state.”

Board member Nicholas P. Giuliano said Todaro has been dedicated to every student that has walked through the buildings of the district.

“She has every reason to be proud of her achievements and we, as a district, are lucky that so many of her achievements were accomplished for our children.”

Ianni brings years of experience in Harborfields, working as assistant principal at the high school for four years, and has been in his current position since 2013.

“I am humbled by the board of education’s confidence in my ability to lead our prestigious district,” Ianni said in a recent statement. “We are fortunate, at Harborfields, to have benefited from the successive leadership of our exemplary superintendent, and I hope that, in collaboration with the board of education, a strong administrative team, superior teaching staff, knowledgeable parents, and of course, outstanding students, our tradition of excellence will continue.”

Ianni will take over for Todaro in January 2017.