South Orangetown Central School District

Sent via SchoolMessenger email on July 3, 2023

BOE Class of 2023 graphic

Message from Board of Education President Dana Stilley, PhD.

This has been quite a year. When I reflect upon it, I can’t help but be proud of all the heavy lifts our Board of Education has pushed through:

  • We bid farewell to a superintendent, hired an interim superintendent and held a successful search for a new superintendent of schools utilizing a candidate profile developed through focus groups and surveys of students, staff, families and community members.
  • We navigated the budget development process with a new business official and our 2023-24 budget, which supports robust programs and services to meet the academic, social and mental health needs of all our students, passed with 70% of the vote in May.
  • We engaged in important conversations about safety and security for which our community provided substantial input through public commentary, emails and participation in our March forum. Ultimately, the Board achieved consensus to move forward with enhanced security staffing across all four schools, starting in September.

Meanwhile, the South Orangetown Central School District has continued to deliver high-quality educational and support services to its nearly 3,000 students so that they may achieve their fullest potential. Our Class of 2023 graduates are entering the workforce, enlisting in the military and enrolling in an impressive array of colleges and universities to further their education.

We should be proud of what we have done together, as a Board and as a school district community!

CLE retirees 2023

The Board of Education proudly recognized the contributions of our retirees, Milestone Members and dedicated volunteers at the annual Districtwide Celebrations on June 3. Among those recognized were outgoing Board of Education members Steven Peña, who served the final 16 months of a previous member’s term, and Leon Jacobs, who first joined the Board in 2006 and has served in a leadership capacity and on numerous committees during his 17-year tenure. Thank you, Steve and Lonnie!

BOE farewell to Ileana Eckert

At its June 15 meeting, the Board thanked Interim Superintendent of Schools Ileana Eckert for her dedicated service as the District completed its Superintendent Search process this year. Eckert was succeeded by Brian Culot, Ed.D., SOCSD’s new Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1.

BOE with 2023 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

The Board also heard a presentation from Tappan Zee High School Youth and Government Club members and honored Class of 2023 Valedictorian Matthew Tobin and Salutatorian Dylan Handelman (pictured).

Board Work in Progress

Administrative Appointments: The Board of Education unanimously approved the following administrative promotions and appointments:

  • Rudy Arietta was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, effective July 1.
  • Joseph Lloyd, Ph.D. was promoted to Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, effective July 1.
  • Derrick DiRienzo was appointed Assistant Principal for Cottage Lane Elementary School, effective July 24.

Capital Projects: Summer capital projects are underway throughout the District. For detailed information, including temporary building closures due to construction, see the District’s June 20 communication.

Policy: Following final readings, the Board reviewed and unanimously readopted revised Policies 6300 (Fund Balance), 6691 (Capital Assets Accounting) and 6830 (Expense Reimbursement) on June 15. First readings were conducted for Policies 4328 (Home Tutoring), 4513 (Library Materials Selection) and 8130 (School Safety Plans and Teams). Drafting of a new policy governing school volunteers remains in progress.

Video streaming: At the June 15 meeting, Director of Technology George Brady presented the Board with an overview of considerations regarding livestreaming of future meetings. Next steps include legal consultation and logistical planning, to include budgetary, staffing and/or equipment needs. View the presentation.

Upcoming Meetings/Workshops
Board of Education Annual Reorganization Meeting
July 6 at 8:00AM
South Orangetown Middle School Room 309

Board of Education Meeting/Workshop
July 20 at 7:30PM
South Orangetown Middle School Library

Meeting dates, times and locations are subject to change. Be sure to check the District’s e-Backpack webpage for the most up-to-date information.
Board meeting agendas, minutes and audio are posted online at BoardDocs.
Board policies are posted online at BoardPolicyOnline.

Questions or comments? Send an email to the entire Board of Education at

The “Board Brief” is a monthly communication from the South Orangetown Central School District Board of Education.