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Story - Education

May 18, 2010 9:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton principal and assistant principal to fill East Hampton spots

May 18, 2010 9:17 PM

The East Hampton School Board on Tuesday hired Southampton High School Principal Adam Fine as the new principal of East Hampton High School and Maria Mondini, Southampton’s assistant high school principal, as an assistant principal.

Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini were suspended from their jobs by the Southampton School Board at a special meeting on Monday night for undisclosed personnel reasons, according to the district’s public relations official. The move appears to be fallout from the pair’s imminent hiring in East Hampton, which seems to have caught the Southampton School Board by surprise.

“We wanted to finish out a good year with our students and our school, but now we’re relieved it’s all over and we’re very excited,” said Mr. Fine on Tuesday after the vote.

School officials in Montauk and Springs, which send high school students to East Hampton, said they expected that both administrators were slated for the jobs by last week or earlier.

Montauk Superintendent Jack Perna confirmed that Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini were brought to his office by East Hampton Superintendent Raymond Gualtieri and Assistant Superintendent Charles Soriano last Thursday and introduced as finalists for the high school jobs.

“They called them finalists, but it was pretty apparent that these were the people they wanted to hire,” Mr. Perna said. “They didn’t say they got the job, but I got that impression, because they were the only two people they brought out here.”

Before Tuesday’s vote Dr. Gualtieri and East Hampton School Board member Stephen Talmage would not confirm either Southampton official’s candidacy before it was voted on by the board.

He also said that he extended an offer last Thursday to the superintendents of the Montauk, Springs and Amagansett school districts to meet the two finalists after “the board had narrowed down” the list of candidates for the high school positions. He offered to bring both candidates to each school sometime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. that same day, he said. Mr. Perna and Amagansett Superintendent Eleanor Tritt accepted the offer, he said, but Springs Superintendent Michael Hartner declined. “He said he was too busy,” Dr. Gualtieri said.

Dr. Gualtieri said his offer to introduce the superintendents of East Hampton’s sending districts to the finalists was in response to requests by those districts to be involved in the process of choosing new administrators.

But Springs School Board President Christopher Kelley called the process “a charade.” He said he believes that offers had already been made to both Southampton administrators by the time they were being introduced to the other superintendents.

“You would think we would have been involved a long time ago,” he said, adding that he started contacting Dr. Gualtieri in April asking to be involved in the interview process, and he suspects they might have been chosen for the jobs before then, even as early as March. “To have them introduced after the fact is just a way for Ray to say he involved the other districts.”

“They made a comment that they wanted to be involved, and so we gave them an opportunity to be involved,” Dr. Gualtieri said of Springs officials. “They chose not to be.”

Mr. Kelley said there was not enough notice given, and that Mr. Hartner was not available at the time.

Mr. Kelley also sent a letter to East Hampton School Board President Sandra Vorpahl on Tuesday, stating that he had 
requested involvement in the process numerous times and said it was his understanding that offers had been made to the Southampton High School principal and assistant principal without “consulting any of the stakeholders in the East Hampton community.”

Dr. Gualtieri said on Tuesday afternoon that Ms. Vorpahl had not yet received the letter. Ms. Vorpahl could not be reached for comment.

East Hampton School Board member John Ryan said the hiring process was kept quiet so as to not put Mr. Fine or Ms. Mondini’s jobs in jeopardy.

In Montauk and Amagansett, the superintendents who did meet Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini said they were glad to have the opportunity, though they said they would also have welcomed an opportunity to participate more fully in the process. Still, Mr. Perna and Ms. Tritt expressed greater confidence in the East Hampton School District in choosing their own administrators than Mr. Kelley.

“It’s really up to East Hampton to recruit and make decisions about who they want to hire,” Ms. Tritt said. She did not 
confirm that the finalists brought to her office were from Southampton High School, and instead deferred to Dr. Gualtieri. She also said they were referred to as finalists and not candidates.

The Southampton School Board voted unanimously at a special meeting on Monday night to suspend Mr. Fine and Ms. Mondini, based on the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. J. Richard Boyes, according to Michael Conte of Syntax, the school district’s public relations firm, who issued a statement about the suspensions Tuesday afternoon.

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how many asst principals do we need?? enrollment is down....they hired this pair because they work well together which is something our CURRANT administration does not do..principals don't talk to asst's; superintedents don't talk to ANYONE and its their way or the hwy..same thing with EHHS AD..how does he get tenure when its not even on the BOE agenda tonite?? what are the tenure requirements for our district?? 3 yrs? Do you need to have accomplished anything other than showing up the alloted number ...more
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on May 18, 10 9:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By YEAROUNDER (80), East Hampton on May 19, 10 9:25 AM
What the heck? we loved you to at SHS then you do this? low blow!
By SHlocal12 (14), Southampton on May 18, 10 9:34 PM
Really? As a high school senior representing the majority of feelings among my class, while we feel it was a low blow - Adam Fine and Maria Mondini and their oh so annoying announcement banter will not be missed.
By highschoolsenior (4), Southampton on May 19, 10 10:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
two*
By SHlocal12 (14), Southampton on May 18, 10 9:35 PM
The asking price for such great administrators was simply to be assured of a job. That price was too high for the "rulers" of the district? To see 2 great people go from the Southampton school district to the East Hampton school district because they couldn't be assured their jobs in the future is the true attrocity here. Don't blame Fine or Mondini for this, blame the school board. They failed miserably!!!
By hamptonative (1), Riverhead on May 18, 10 10:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
Look Riverhead, you're mistaken. Why would they go to East Hampton if they want job assurance - East Hampton has gone through principal after principal, administrator after administrator, for years. The only blame is on Fine and Mondini. When that dynamic duo wanted prom transportation run by the school using busses for safety, the board backed them up. This was dishonest and showed us, the students, that all that matters in the world is what job will get you the most $$$. Why should they even ...more
By highschoolsenior (4), Southampton on May 19, 10 10:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
thats true... but it'd be nice of them to finnish the year instead of leaving with a month of school left.
By SHlocal12 (14), Southampton on May 18, 10 11:20 PM
*finish not "finnish"
By jaylaw (8), southampton on May 19, 10 4:57 PM
Fine and Mondini let everyone down. Their wallets will probably be fuller for this. Southampton should be happy to be rid of them. Don't blame the School Board, they were used.
By workingmomof4 (19), Southampton on May 19, 10 12:26 AM
2 members liked this comment
What a disappointment for the students at SHS, especially the Seniors who are a month away from their graduation. I am ashamed that these two could do such a thing at this point in the school year. There is a right way to go about it and a wrong way. This was done the wrong way. As administrators you are trying to teach and lead by example. You both failed miserably. Shame on you both.
By WhalerFanForLife (12), Southampton on May 19, 10 7:44 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By highschoolsenior (4), Southampton on May 19, 10 10:13 AM
First of all people need to get there facts straight!! Adam and Maria did want to stay and finish out the year. It was Southampton Superintandant Rich that didn't want them to stay.... what is wrong with people moving on?? Why didn't they give Adam tenure?? Adam and Maria were an asset to the Southampton District and it totally sucks that they wont be finishing out the year with the Seniors. East Hampton is lucky to have a team like Adam and Maria.Good luck to you both you will be missed. For ...more
By Cherub (2), Sag Harbor on May 19, 10 10:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hopefully the BOE has made the right choice and Mr. Fine will stick around for awhile unlike all the other principals since Mr. Sarlo. EHHS needs a strong administration to come in and straighten that place out.
By montaukfd (1), Montauk on May 19, 10 4:44 PM
May 19, 10 4:34 PM
Why are so many of the readers missing the point of the entire story?! Ms. Mondini and Mr. Fine did not "abandon the students". They were forthcoming with their intentions throughout the process. The SCHOOL BOARD, in conjunction with the superintendent decided to place the administrators on leave; therefore THE MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD AND CENTRAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATION are responsible for neglecting the needs of the students, and the school as a whole, by placing Ms. Mondini ...more
By jaylaw (8), southampton on May 19, 10 4:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
Superintendent Michael Hartner has some nerve complaining and being too busy to attend. He was recommended to be hired by a former principal who was working at Springs school. He got paid handsomely for the search . A committee of teacher's were supposed to be in on the hiring process , they never were. Micheal Harnter showed up at a meeting for the public after the deal was done. The teacher's on the committee to hire a new superintendent, were told that they could spend the day at the school ...more
By bayview (147), Southampton on May 21, 10 2:18 PM
Why doesn't this story specify the salaries these two will be making? It's public record.
By bailey (52), East Hampton on May 21, 10 5:54 PM
Read the other article about them being put on leave. The salaries are listed there.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on May 26, 10 9:24 AM
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