Springs School District Superintendent Michael Hartner will retire at the end of the current school year, Springs School Board President Kathee Burke Gonzalez announced at a board meeting on Monday night.
Ms. Gonzalez said that Mr. Hartner had notified the board at the beginning of the school year that he was considering retiring, despite having a year left on his four-year contract with the district. He submitted his letter of resignation to the board in a closed-door meeting last week, and the board voted to accept it on Monday night. Staff at the school were notified of his decision during the school day on Monday.
Ms. Gonzalez said that Mr. Hartner has decided to leave a year early for family reasons. His wife also recently retired.
Mr. Hartner has been the district’s superintendent for three years. Ms. Gonzalez applauded many of the changes that have taken place at the school under his brief but eventful tenure, including the renegotiating of the district’s tuition agreement with East Hampton High School, which saved the district some $3.5 million.
“Your ... attention to detail and relentless pursuit to saving the school money while maintaining the quality of education in Springs will be greatly missed,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “He will be leaving the district on strong footing.”
Mr. Hartner thanked the board for his relatively brief tenure at the district and the staff for having helped make the improvements in the district’s operations.
“No one can accomplish anything on his or her own, it requires a team,” Mr. Hartner said. “To the extent that there are accomplishments, all of these people deserve the credit.”
In addition to renegotiating the contract with East Hampton, after years of bitter public and legal battles between the districts over how much East Hampton charged Springs for its high school age students, Mr. Hartner made steep cuts in the cost of some school operations and oversaw the start of Springs School’s first pre-K program, the lengthening of the school day, improvements to traffic safety and upgrades to the district’s legal services.
The first step for the district in finding a replacement for Mr. Hartner will be to select an executive search firm to assist in the search, Ms. Gonzalez said. Executive search firms are commonly employed by school districts to narrow down the pool of applicants for a superintendent’s job from several dozen to a handful of the best suited candidates, who the board can then consider more closely. Mr. Hartner is being paid $190,000 this year.
On Monday night Ms. Gonzalez said that the board intends to involve district parents, staff and residents in the search process before it makes any choice of a new superintendent.
Mr. Hartner’s last day in the district will be June 30.