Adelaide Pecora said that she wasn’t surprised when her daughter, Adele, became a teacher. She was an avid reader. She loved to learn about anything and everything. And she came from a long line of educators.
Adelaide, who taught mathematics in the Massapequa and Baldwin school districts, noted that her own father and grandmother were also teachers. But Adele uniquely pursued administrative positions in school districts across Long Island — including Seaford, where she will become superintendent this summer.
“As she progressed and gained experience, you could just see her developing as a person of authority who could take care of situations with great ease,“ her mother said. “She is a woman of great strength … and she has a sense of humor. You can’t be a teacher without having a sense of humor and loving children.”
The Board of Education named Dr. Adele Pecora the district’s next superintendent at a public meeting on March 2. She will replace Superintendent Brian Conboy, who announced in September his decision to retire after 33 years of service, on July 1.
Pecora, 51, comes to the Seaford School District — which also serves a portion of Wantagh — from Commack, where she is the assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment. She began her career as a social studies teacher at North Shore High School and later became the social studies chairwoman in Massapequa, assistant principal of Garden City High School and director of curriculum and technology in Island Park.
Pecora has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell University, a master’s in education from Tufts University and a doctorate in education administration from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
She was selected to lead Seaford after a multi-month search. The Board of Education worked with District Wise Search Consultants to find potential candidates for the position, received input from the staff and community and conducted numerous interviews before hiring Pecora.
“The board is excited and looking forward to working with Dr. Pecora, the staff and the Seaford community to continue the work that Mr. Conboy has been instrumental in accomplishing over his long and dedicated career in the district,” board President Bruce Kahn.
Conboy said that he was looking forward to working with Pecora over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition. “I am very pleased the district was able to attract a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience to lead the Seaford School District into the future,” he said.
Pecora said she was honored and grateful to be appointed to her new position. She explained that as she learned more about the district, she became more and more impressed by the community’s commitment to the schools.
“During the interview process, it was apparent to me that we shared the same beliefs regarding teaching, learning and student growth,” she said. “I look forward to working with the board and the entire Seaford community to foster intellectual curiosity and expand student opportunities by providing an exemplary education program for all Seaford students.”
Pecora described Seaford as her new home, where she plans to work with students, staff and parents to develop educational goals. An advocate of conversational leadership, she said she would meet with each group to get a deeper understanding of what they feel works, what they think should be changed and what community traditions are most important.
“Conversations are the foundations of relationships you build,” she said. “It’s very important to take time in the beginning to become familiar with all of the stakeholders in the community and understand the values and beliefs of the people of Seaford.”
As a Massapequa Park resident, Pecora won’t travel far to her new job. A graduate of Massapequa High School, she said that Seaford district leaders have fostered a similar sense of community pride in their schools and students.
In addition to her professional and educational background, Pecora said that her experience as a mother of three children would also impact the way that she leads the district. Her eldest daughter, Alexandra, will be a fifth-generation teacher; her son, Christopher, is studying engineering at Dartmouth College; and her baby, Gabriella, is a sophomore at Massapequa High School.
Gabriella is a cheerleader for the Chiefs, and Adelaide said it would be funny to see Adele on the other side of the field at athletic events. “I think my daughter’s allegiance is to Seaford now,” she said with a laugh.