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Principals

Irene McLaughlin to take the reins of new post in November

Northport High School Principal Irene McLaughlin is stepping into a new role as the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources.

At the Northport-East Northport school board meeting on Sept. 10, board President Andrew Rapiejko announced McLaughlin’s new role. He said both he and the board were “very excited,” and to that, the audience offered a long round of applause.

McLaughlin is just as excited.

Northport High School Principal Irene McLaughlin. File photo by Rohma Abbas
Northport High School Principal Irene McLaughlin. File photo by Rohma Abbas

“I’ve had chances to pursue administration roles in other districts, but I didn’t want to,” the principal said in a phone interview this week. “Northport is such a great place for teachers, students, and parents, and I wanted to stay here.”

McLaughlin has been at the district for 31 years. She kicked off her career with the district straight out of college as a part-time health education teacher at Northport Middle School in 1984. From there, she worked at Norwood Avenue Elementary, Fifth Avenue Elementary and Pulaski Road Elementary schools until she became a teacher at the high school in 1992. She was promoted to principal of Northport High School in 2003 from assistant principal. This year marks the start of her 13th year as principal of the school.

“I will miss the high school,” she said. “Even when I worked at other schools, I was coaching here. My roots are deep here at the high school.”

McLaughlin is following Rosemarie Coletti, who stepped down from the position in June of this year. Lou Curra is currently the interim assistant superintendent of human resources.

“I am looking forward to getting more involved in district wide decisions,” she said. “I want to expand my scope, and learn more about how the entire district works and not just the high school.”

The responsibilities for assistant superintendent of human resources include recruiting, hiring and maintaining the nearly 1,000-person staff of the Northport-East Northport school district.

McLaughlin’s official start date is November 2, however she said that if the process of finding a new principal for the high school takes a bit longer, she may stay at her post past the beginning of November.

“I want it to be a smooth transition for the students and staff,” she said.

McLaughlin moved her family to the district when they were young because she said she knew Northport was a special place for kids to grow up. She currently resides there with her daughter, Kelly. Her son Michael graduated from Northport High School this May.

“My love for the district is really evident,” she said. “I am committed to the success of the district, and making an impact on more than just the high school.”

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Port Jefferson Middle School has a new interim principal. Photo by Caroline Biondo

A familiar face will guide Port Jefferson Middle School as the district searches for a new principal.

At a school board meeting on Tuesday night, members approved Leonard Bozza to serve as interim principal effective July 1. The board resolution stipulates that Bozza will be in the role for no more than 100 days, and will be compensated $600 for each day.

According to a Wednesday letter from Superintendent Ken Bossert, Bozza was previously an interim assistant principal in the district and an interim high school principal. Before stepping into those roles at Port Jefferson, he had retired from his position as the Longwood High School principal.

The district is searching for a permanent replacement for outgoing Principal Antonio Santana, who announced earlier this month that he would not return for the 2015-16 school year, instead going to work for a Nassau County high school beginning in July.

Santana’s news came about three months after the high school principal, Matthew Murphy, announced his own departure at the end of the current school year, saying he was going “to pursue other educational opportunities.”

Murphy and Santana had been hired together three years ago to jointly replace Roseann Cirnigliaro, who had served as principal of both the middle and high schools.

Despite the pair’s coinciding resignations, the district has said the two schools will retain separate principals. Officials have already filled Murphy’s spot — Christine Austen, the Pre-K to grade 12 assistant principal, will take the helm of the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School.

Until a permanent middle school principal is chosen, parents can reach Bozza at the school’s main office, at 631-791-4431.