Hewlett-Woodmere Deputy Superintendent Dr. Peter Weber, who also serves as the school district’s business administrator, will retire on June 30, 2016. He will be the third administrator to step down in one year. Superintendent Dr. Joyce Bisso and Jeff Malis, the director of athletics, health and physical education, both retired in June. Bisso was succeeded by Dr. Ralph Marino Jr., and David Viegas replaced Malis.
“The shift from assistant superintendent to deputy simply reflected the same philosophy,” Weber said. “There are bumps in the road when leadership changes. With a large turnover in senior staff district-wide, I’ve worked to offer my experience so that Dr. Marino and the administration will build on a firm foundation.”
Weber has worked for the district since 2004. The school board accepted his resignation at its regular board meeting on Nov. 18.
Though he is retiring from education, Weber anticipates keeping himself busy. “Colleagues who have completed long careers have repeatedly shared the common theme that it’s better to ease into retirement than to wake up one morning and find yourself with nothing to do,” he said. “While I expect the pace of work in the district to continue unabated until my retirement, I’m also looking forward to working with my successor as early as June. Then, after a short vacation, I expect to select part-time work in another field.”
Weber began his career as a general science and biology teacher in the Valley Stream Central High School District in the early 1970s. From 1978 to 1985 he was the business manager in Valley Stream District 30. He served as assistant superintendent for business for the Lawrence School District from 1985 to 1992.
Before Weber came to Hewlett-Woodmere, he was the executive director of the New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal, and the chief financial officer of the Uniondale-based insurance company Wright Risk Management Company Inc. from 1992 to 2004.
Weber said that the diversity of his career path – from education to business o administration — was the secret to his success at Hewlett-Woodmere. “The Hewlett-Woodmere School District has provided the opportunity to focus on long-term issues and provide the necessary resources to meet our shared commitment to prepare children to succeed in a rapidly changing world,” he said. “Every staff member is a teacher, and as a result I have welcomed the opportunity to learn. I believe that experience has guided me to make better and more informed decisions during my tenure.”
That financial expertise will be missed, said Board of Education President Scott McInnes. “I think Peter will be remembered for the incredible financial condition he is leaving the district in,” McInnes said. “Not only were we able to navigate some very difficult times during the Great Recession with no measurable impact on our programs or services, but we will also be fiscally healthy long after he is gone.”
The district will begin its search for Weber’s replacement in January, Marino said. “Our goal is to select a candidate by spring 2016,” he said. “We are seeking a candidate who demonstrates strong leadership and knowledge in all aspects of school finance, including transportation, grants, facilities and food service, among others.”
To his successor, Weber offered some advice: get out of the office to listen and learn. “Having expertise in one’s field is certainly important,” he said. “The ability to put that knowledge to effective use comes first with developing a deeper understanding, then combines the willingness to explore creative options. I’ll miss the opportunities, the friendships and, yes, the challenges. I expect to quickly forget the late-night meetings and the surprises hatched in Albany every spring.”