John DeTommaso, the superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District for the past eight years and an educator for 33 years, has announced his retirement, effective next June 30.
Michael Harrington, the
district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum, was appointed to the position and will take the reins next July 1.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” DeTommaso told the Herald Life. “I’m just humbled by it all. The appointment of Mike Harrington is awesome — he’s going to take the district to new levels.”
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” Harrington said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to have called this my home for 18 years.”
DeTommaso began his career in Bellmore-Merrick in 1988 as a social studies teacher at Wellington C. Mepham High School. After teaching for six years, he served as athletic director for two years, and was then named assistant principal at Sanford H. Calhoun High School.
In 2003, he left the district when he was appointed principal of Bethpage High School, where he served for six years. He eventually became the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Bethpage School District, a position he held for four years.
In March 2013, DeTommaso re-turned to Bellmore-Merrick when he was named superintendent.
“It is our great fortune that you came back to finish where you started,” Board of Education Trustee Nina Lanci said at the Nov. 4 meeting, when DeTommaso’s retirement
“During this time, DeTommaso has done an exceptional job in fulfilling the duties as our educational leader,” board President Gina Piskin said. “The growth of our district during his tenure can be measured in numerous ways and by a multitude of achievements among our students and staff.”
“The visions and changes you have brought to this district have made a tremendous impact, and we have all benefitted from your commitment,” said Trustee Janet Goller. “You are leaving behind a legacy.”
The board was careful in selecting Harrington, who began his career in 1998 as a social studies teacher in the Island Trees School District. After spending five years there, he joined Bellmore-Merrick as an assistant principal at Calhoun in 2003. Recognized for his strong leadership qualities and his focus on student-centered learning, Harrington was selected as the Mepham High School principal in 2008, serving there until 2017, when he became assistant superintendent.
“During this time, Harrington showed extraordinary leadership in all areas of school administration, including instructional oversight, personnel management, budget administration and fostering a strong school and community culture,” Piskin said in a statement on behalf of the board. “Under his leadership, Mepham High School was highly successful in supporting student engagement and academic success.
“He has proven he possesses the knowledge and ability to lead our district as we seek to provide the very best academic, co-curricular, extracurricular and student wellness experience for all of our students,” Piskin continued.
“John is irreplaceable — I am forever grateful,” Harrington said. “These last four years working directly with him, I’ve learned so much. He’s a great leader for the community and shows what it means to lead with passion and energy.”