Along with freshly sharpened pencils and blank notebooks, the new school year will also bring several administrative changes to Comsewogue schools.
Special education teacher Robert Pearl will be the new principal at Norwood Elementary School, replacing longtime leader Leah Anesta, and James Hilbert, a John F. Kennedy Middle School social studies teacher and part-time dean, will become the new assistant principal at JFK.
The Comsewogue School Board of Education officially approved Pearl and Hilbert on Monday night, along with some other personnel changes, such as giving 15 educators increased work hours for the upcoming school year, with 10 teachers promoted to fulltime positions.
Pearl served a stint as interim principal from September to December, when Norwood Principal Leah Anesta took a leave of absence to care for an ill parent. Now she is retiring, after being with the district for more than 10 years.
Pearl, who has lived in the community for almost two decades, has said he would like to increase the elementary school’s involvement with parents and the community.
Hilbert’s hiring is part of a more complicated switch.
Comsewogue was operating with a dean at the middle school and one at Comsewogue High School, both part-time officials who had teaching responsibilities. Starting next year, to create more flexibility, those dean positions are being replaced with full-time assistant principals.
Bill Bodkin is retiring as the high school’s dean of students after many years, and is being replaced by two assistant principals: Jinu Mathews, who is already on board, and one more who has yet to be hired to replace Pearl, who entered the high school position upon Anesta’s return but will soon leave to once again step into her shoes.
The middle school already had one assistant principal, Theresa Etts, in addition to part-time dean Hilbert, so there will now be two of those full-time staffers at that school.