Riverhead schools administration turmoil continues: Superintendent and assistant superintendent resign

Riverhead Central School District Superintendent Augustine Tornatore and the district’s top business official have resigned from their positions.

The Riverhead Board of Education is scheduled to approve the separation agreement with Tornatore at Tuesday night’s board meeting. Tornatore, who has already signed a contract, has been on extended leave since October 6, which was supposed to end yesterday.

The district’s business officer, Rodney Asse, is also leaving the district, he acknowledged today in a text message sent Tuesday afternoon in response to an inquiry by RiverheadLOCAL. Asse did not respond to a follow-up message asking why he left. His district email address no longer works. An email sent to the school district’s email address bounced back as “address not found.”

Under the separation agreement, Tornatore will be paid back wages and the cost of 10 vacation days in a lump sum totaling $192,998.8, as well as $15,771.40 in pension payments. He will also receive health and dental insurance until the end of the school year or until he finds a job, the contract states. Tornatore’s salary in 2023-2024 was $256,250 per year. He was hired by Riverhead in April 2021, effective July 1 of that year.

The board’s agenda also shows that William Galati, the district’s executive director of secondary education, grants and student outcomes, who has served as superintendent in Tornatore’s absence, will continue as interim superintendent until Oct. 29. He will be paid an additional $300 per day. to his current salary for his position as interim superintendent under a contract posted on the district’s website by decision.

The school board will also vote tonight to appoint an interim superintendent effective Oct. 30. Cheryl Pedisic will take over the position and will continue until the end of the school year on June 30, if the decision is made by the school board. Before retiring in 2022, Pedisic was superintendent of Tri Village Central School District in North Shore, which has a similar student size to Riverhead Central School District, for a decade. .

Pedisic was hired last year by the Riverhead Board of Education to serve as the district’s interim director of special education and student personnel services after the incumbent left. He stayed on as a consultant to help with the transition of a new administrator hired by the district.

The board plans to vote to appoint Marianne Cartisano as the district’s acting business director to replace Assen at $1,200 per day until the end of the school year, according to the agenda. Neither the resolution accepting Asse’s resignation nor the separation agreement with Asse was posted on the district’s website as of this writing. It is not known if the district will buy out Assen’s contract. He was paid $194,750 a year.

Asse was also removed from the post of deputy purchasing agent. Christine Peters, secret office assistant and assistant purchasing agent, is promoted to deputy purchasing agent. He will be paid $82,000 a year for the balance of the year in his new role.

Two additional appointments in the business office are also on the board’s agenda for Tuesday: assistant superintendent of payroll and superintendent of employee benefits.

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