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Superintendent's Corner

October 2019


The October 15th Board of Education meeting is my final Board meeting as Port Jefferson ‘s Superintendent of Schools. On July 5th, 2016, I sat at my first Board meeting, which actually was my first day of work in the district, as the interim superintendent. I was excited about this new venture and the opportunity to work for the students and residents of Port Jeff. As you know, the interim label was dropped after a few months and now, 3 years and 4 months later, I am saying goodbye and thank you. This has been a wonderful experience. I have worked with very talented and dedicated colleagues; Port Jeff employees who care deeply about the students we serve. I have also met caring and supportive parents, families and community members who care deeply about children and public education.

October 31st is my last day here. It will be bittersweet. Although I am excited about the new journey that life will take me, I will truly miss the Port Jefferson School-Community. I thank the Board of Education for having confidence in me and for giving me the privilege of serving this community.

I am excited about the future here in the Port Jefferson School District. Jessica Schmettan is an energetic and bright leader who keeps children first and foremost in her decisions. We have a strong leadership team, an outstanding instructional staff, a dedicated non-instructional staff, supportive parents and truly amazing students. I’m looking forward to hearing about all of the great things happening in The Port Jeff School District in the future.

October is Board of Education Recognition Month in New York State. The Port Jefferson Board of Education is comprised of a very supportive and dedicated group of volunteers who consistently put children first in their decisions. They work many hours and attend many meetings for no compensation in order to provide governance and oversight of the Education in our school-community. They are very deserving of our recognition for their tireless efforts on behalf of our students, staff, and residents.

Our Homecoming Weekend, October 4-6, was very successful. Our Pep Rally on Friday afternoon was student-led and filled with energy and pride. Saturday’s events were very well-attended. Our parade was great, the new Pre-Game event was well-attended, fun-filled, and well-received. The football game was also very well-attended and our team performed very well in front of our hometown crowd.

There were so many people involved in making the weekend an enjoyable, organized, engaging, and safe experience for everyone who participated. I’d like to start by thanking Jae Hartzell, Paul Braille, Village Trustee Kathiann Snaeden, Mayor Margot Garant, for their efforts to initiate a new Homecoming experience for the Village and school district. Our collaborative work resulted in a fun event between the parade and the game. Trustees Tracy Zamek and Randi DeWitt were also integral to the start of this new experience. Our administrators, teachers, staff and students were involved, not only in the pre-game event, but in all aspects of the Homecoming events of the weekend and I am very appreciative of all of their efforts.

Our Board of Education passed a motion to revise our District’s Beliefs. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our residents who took the time to comment on the draft of these beliefs throughout the month of September. This is critical work as it sets the foundation for district decisions that will be made in the future. They will be referenced during the work of the School- Community Partnership when applicable.

Our first School-Community Partnership Meeting is being held on October 29th at 7 pm in the high school library. We encourage residents to attend to provide a variety of perspectives about the evolution and direction of Education in our school-community. In addition to our announcements about the meeting on our website and Facebook, we have a postcard being mailed home that includes this information. Additionally, on the postcard we also remind residents about the opportunity to receive School Messenger notifications even if you don’t have children attending our school district.

Our Port Jefferson Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony is October 18th. Our inductee this year is an alumnus of the Class of 1982, Edward McMullen. Our honoree is the United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019