Strong leadership, an open-door policy, good grant writing and a vision for improving education were some of the qualities that members of a small control group said they were seeking in a new superintendent for the East Rockaway School District. Dr. Roseanne Melucci, who has been with the district for 11 years — the last five as its superintendent — announced her retirement in February.
The fairly new Board of Education, with no trustee who has served more than six years, is tasked with finding Melucci’s replacement, and it held a special session after its regular meeting on March 19 to begin the process.
“Of course we’re sad to see her go, but we shall go on,” said board President Kristin Ochtera. “We think it’s a great opportunity for our stakeholders, the board and representatives from our school community to see what direction we want to take the district.” The “stakeholders,” Ochtera said, are school administrators, teachers, secretarial and food service workers, teaching assistants and monitors, custodians, central office administrators, the PTA executive board, the student council and community members.
Ochtera explained that the board could conduct the search itself or hire a consultant — so it did both, retaining the services of Dr. Ranier Melucci, former superintendent of the Merrick schools and Roseanne’s husband.
“He offered his services as a consultant,” Ochtera said, “and the price was perfect for us: It was free.”
A consultant would normally meet with the board, post an ad for the position and then turn a handful of good candidates over to the board. In this case, however, Ochtera said, the board is establishing the job requirements and the timetable. “We’re giving him the outline of what the community says to us,” she said, “and he’s collaborating with us in finding a candidate who meets that bill.”
Ranier Melucci, Ochtera said, has a host of contacts, having been president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Superintendent Association. “We want to use him as training wheels — we’re not confident to go solo,” she said. “He has a scope of information that we can tap into.”