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Assistant Superintendent

Harborfields High School. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Harborfields High School Principal Rory Manning was unanimously approved for a promotion by the board of education Wednesday.

He will be taking over as the assistant superintendent for administration and human resources. Francesco Ianni currently holds the position, though he has been tabbed to take over as district superintendent as of January 2017, when the current superintendent, Diana Todaro, retires.

“Dr. Manning, I have to say has performed a truly exceptional job in his position of high school principal,” Todaro said Wednesday at a board of education meeting at Oldfield Middle School. “When we began to seek a candidate for the position of assistant superintendent for administration and human resources we immediately, without hesitation, considered Dr. Manning for this position. Following several interviews and discussions our decision was confirmed, and it was clearly evident to us that he was the best candidate for this position and there was no need for us to conduct the so-called ‘nationwide search.’”

Manning has been the high school principal at Harborfields since 2012. Prior to that he spent time at Sachem High School East as both a principal and assistant principal from 2006 through 2012. He received a doctorate in education, educational administration and supervision from St. John’s University in 2011.

“I’d like to apologize to the board, because today when the proposition to hire Dr. Manning as our assistant superintendent comes up, I’m breaking protocol and saying a resounding ‘yay,’” student representative to the board of education Trevor Jones said, prior to the unanimous vote to approve Manning. “I know my vote doesn’t count, but that’s a fantastic man sitting over there.”

Jones’ address concluded with a standing ovation, and a hug from Manning.

Harborfields High School Principal Rory Manning smiles. File photo
Harborfields High School Principal Rory Manning. File photo

Manning was praised by Jones, Todaro and members of the community for initiatives relating to educational technology that he has been a part of while at Harborfields.

“It absolutely blew me away,” Manning said about the kind words shared about his new position in the district, and the work that he’s done so far. “Trevor Jones and our students, they’re just outstanding and Trevor really speaks from his heart. It really shows. Our students, my students, inspire me to be better everyday. That’s what keeps us going on the hard days, keeps us motivated on the good days. It’s just special working with these kids and their parents, the teachers, the superintendent, the board; it’s just a pleasure to work with everybody here. They call us the Harborfields family, and it really feels that way.”

Harborfields High School received a 2016 National Blue Ribbon award nomination, a distinction given to outstanding public and non-public schools by the National Blue Ribbon Schools program with the U.S. Department of Education. Winners will be selected in September, according to a release on the district website.

“Whenever Dr. Manning talks about the fact that we’ve been nominated as a Blue Ribbon school, he always talks about the students and our teachers who do amazing work,” Jones said. “He never gives himself credit. He deserves some.”

Huntington High School. File photo
Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith are the new assistant principals. Photo by Darin Reed
Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith are the new assistant principals. Photo by Darin Reed

On July 7, the Huntington school board appointed three new faces to serve in administrative roles at different levels. The meeting took place at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium and ended with the appointment of Kathleen Acker, Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith as superintendent and assistant principals, respectively.

According to a press release, trustees approved the appointment of Acker who will serve as the superintendent for finance and management services for the Huntington school district’s administrative team. Before joining this team, Acker was a business education teacher for six years at Walt Whitman High School. Since 2010, Acker was also the high school’s principal.

But before she was in charge of overseeing 250 Walt Whitman staff members and nearly 1,900 students, Acker was the school’s assistant principal for six years. She attended Long Island University Post, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in management. She then attended Stony Brook University for her Master of Science in technological systems management. Acker, who will assume the appointed position on Aug. 3, also has an advanced graduate certificate for school district administration, which she received while attending Stony Brook.

Acker will replace Sammy Gergis starting Aug. 3 and receives a salary of $185,000 for this position. Acker is up for tenure Aug. 3, 2019.

Both DiTroia and Smith will serve as assistant principals at Huntington High School and assumed their positions on July 8. Both individuals will receive a salary of $137,041. DiTroia will also handle master scheduling duties. According to Jim Hoops, public information coordinator for Huntington school district, the assistant principal who handles those duties are required to work 10 extra days in addition to the normal school year workdays. While Smith is not replacing a current faculty member, DiTroia will replace Brenden Cusack, according to a Huntington school board meeting agenda.

Kathleen Acker will be the school’s new assistant superintendent for finance. Photo by Darin Reed
Kathleen Acker will be the school’s new assistant superintendent for finance. Photo by Darin Reed

For DiTroia, life before Huntington High School included serving as a teaching assistant for two years at Plainedge High School. For nine years, he was also a social studies teacher at William Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School in Brooklyn, followed by becoming the dean of discipline. His accomplishments include serving as the dean of students and positions as the assistant principal of Alfred G. Berner Middle School in Massapequa and North Babylon High School, respectively.

DiTroia received a Bachelor of Arts in history while attending the University of Delaware. He also acquired a Master of Science in secondary education from Queens College.

Smith attended Clarkson University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in biology and premedicine. He attended Mercy College and obtained a Master of Science.

Before the board appointed him as one of the assistant principals, Smith worked at Richmond Hill High School as a teacher and lab instructor. While working at John Adams High School, Smith served as the dean of students. He was also the assistant principal at John W. Dodd Middle School and PS 212 in the Bronx.

Smith held the positions of assistant principal and science department chairman at Dr. Richard Izaquierdo Health & Science Charter School, was a science teacher and the dean of students for PS 254, and the principal of Nassau BOCES Positive Alternative Twilight High School.

DiTroia and Smith could not wait to get to work, as they began familiarizing themselves with the high school as well as Huntington faculty and staff members only several hours after the board appointed them to assistant principal positions. DiTroia and Smith are both up for tenure July 8, 2019.