With a new superintendent at the helm, Seaford School District administrators and Board of Education trustees said that they are looking forward to rolling out new academic programs and fostering pride in the community.
The district, which takes in students from Seaford and part of south Wantagh, has a new leader: Dr. Adele Pecora. Pecora, 51, succeeds Brian Conboy, a Seaford High School alumnus who served the district in classroom and administrative roles for 33 years.
Before he retired on July 1, Conboy said he was confident that Pecora would lead the district to success. “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 comes to the district from Commack, where she was 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.
She 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.
Pecora said she was honored and grateful to take on the superintendent’s position in Seaford. After she was hired in March, she said, she began visiting Seaford’s four schools and coming to special events in each building.
An advocate of conversational leadership, she said she met with students, staff and parents during the summer to get a deeper understanding of what they feel works, what they think should be changed and what community traditions are most important. Pecora said she planned to continue to meet with community members throughout the academic year.
“What I think is most important as a superintendent is to be an active listener,” she said. “The warmth I’ve received here in Seaford is like no other and universally, people have said this is a place like no other, in regards to its camaraderie.”
Seaford students went back to school on Wednesday.
After months of preparation, Pecora said she was ready to implement new literacy programs this year in Seaford schools.
At the elementary level, she said, the district will use the Teachers College at Columbia University Readers and Writers Workshop program — curriculum recommended by the Elementary English Language Arts Committee, after extensive research — to further assess teachers. The program includes professional development and training for staff and calls for the purchase of new books and materials for students.
Board of Education President Bruce Kahn said he was eager to work alongside Pecora and his fellow board members and trustees to implement new initiatives this year. “We must acknowledge all of our staff who have worked over the summer to get things ready for September,” Kahn said.
At the secondary level, he said, the district will roll out the Advanced Placement Capstone Program in the high school, starting with an A.P. Seminar class, which students may take in place of a 10th grade advanced English course. In January 2018, an A.P, Research class will be offered to students who have completed the seminar requirement.
Kahn said that the district would continue to emphasize the importance of using technology in classrooms this year. Students in both the middle and high school will learn to use personal devices for classroom assignments.
Within the last five years, Kahn noted, the district has expanded its computer infrastructure. The faculty-based Technology Steering Committee made this initiative possible.
“The ultimate goal will be to provide each student with a personal learning device that they could use both in school and at home,” Kahn said. “We must remember this is simply a learning tool and is used to enhance the instruction given by our wonderful teaching staff.”
School officials also said they were excited to introduce new extracurricular activities at the high school. The district will fund a science club and a kickline/dance club this year. In addition, the girls’ and boys’ varsity and junior varsity bowling teams will now be fully funded.
In the middle school, officials are introducing a robotics club. Pecora said that this program is part of the expansion of STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — initiatives.
She encouraged Seaford parents and students to introduce themselves to her when they see her in the schools’ hallways. “I look forward to becoming a greater piece of the fabric of the Seaford community,” Pecora said. “I believe in being very visible and attending all events on all academic levels.”
Julie Mansmann contributed to this story.