Smithtown hires interim superintendent

Smithtown hires interim superintendent

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Smithtown school district Superintendent James Grossane addresses the class of 2016 and those in attendance during East’s commencement ceremony June 22. Photo by Alex Petroski

On June 11, the Smithtown Central School District board of education appointed veteran educator Russell J. Stewart as interim superintendent, effective July 3. Stewart joins Smithtown from the Center Moriches  School District, where he currently serves as superintendent of schools. He will be filling in for the position left by James Grossane.

“Mr. Stewart is a highly respected administrator who brings with him the professional experience, educational knowledge and interpersonal communication skills the board requires to effectively lead our school district during this transition period,” said Smithtown BOE president Jeremy Thode. 

During his nine years as superintendent of Center Moriches, Stewart successfully oversaw the introduction and expansion of a number of programs, including the implementation of a districtwide International Baccalaureate endeavor, creation of a community service involvement program for high school students and expansion of a comprehensive K-12 8:1:1 program. He was also responsible for the enhancement of school safety through various efforts, such as increased security protocols and the promotion of a positive school culture and social-emotional wellness programs. Additionally, he oversaw the successful completion of a comprehensive capital improvement project.

“I thank the board for this opportunity and am excited to work with them and confirm my commitment to the students of Smithtown,” Stewart said. “I also look forward to collaborating with the community, students, staff and my central office colleagues to create a unified vision and further enhance the educational opportunities for all students.” 

As part of his more than 30 years of educational experience, Stewart has served as principal, assistant principal, dean of discipline and chairperson for health, physical education and interscholastic athletics at Commack High School. He was also an assistant principal and principal at Western Suffolk BOCES Consortium. Stewart spent his first 10 years in education as a health and physical education teacher.

A resident of Manorville, Stewart holds a bachelor’s in health and physical education from the University of Sioux Falls and a master’s in school administration and supervision from New York University. 

The board is actively continuing its search for a permanent superintendent of schools and will keep the community updated as the progress continues.