South Orangetown Central School District

BOE members at SOMS pool

Message from Board President Steven Finn

What a beautiful sight to see as the students, parents, teachers, and staff get back into the full swing of the school year!

All the hard work and preparations done over the summer have paid off. Our new Superintendent. Dr. Brian Culot. has done a wonderful job of taking on his new role. With a few hurdles thrown at him, such as making sure the new pool opened on time for our first swim meet and the high school gym floor that needed to be replaced after an unforeseen flooding issue, Dr. Culot has proven his skills under pressure. It’s great to know our school district is in such capable hands.

As the board continues our work to support the school district’s mission of elevating, engaging, and inspiring the students here at SOCSD, we know the importance of having clear goals and a timeframe as to when/how to get the job done. With the Capital Project’s work continuing, the board recognizes the importance of our role to oversee that the work is accomplished safely, in a timely manner, and with the students in mind each step of the way.

I would like to just take a moment to thank all those teachers that put in “extra” time this past month to make the transition from summer to the beginning of the school year that much easier for the students of SOCSD and their families. Life can be a juggling act and one thing I know for certain… South Orangetown Central School District is a community and culture like no other. Together we can achieve excellence!

Board Work in Progress

Administrative Appointments: The Board of Education approved the appointment of Lillian Gutierrez Rinchiera, Ed.D. as Director of Financial Services at its September 7 meeting, effective November 9.

Capital Projects: The District’s architect Lauren Tarsio (Clark Patterson Lee) and construction manager Luis Rodriguez (The Palumbo Group) presented an update on the status of summer capital projects and the Capital Improvements Bond Project at the September 21 meeting.

  • Summer 2023 construction: Bathroom renovations at Tappan Zee High School and the installation of new clocks/PA/lockdown systems at South Orangetown Middle School and TZHS are substantially complete, as are the Smart Schools projects at William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School. All projects are on or under budget. (The WOS main playground, an in-district project, remains in progress pending delivery of wood fiber.)
  • Facilities Repairs: The SOMS pool reopened in time for the Girls Varisty Swimming & Diving team to practice in home waters on September 8. Installation and curing of the new flooring in the TZHS main gym is on track for completion on or around October 10.
  • Capital Improvements Bond Project: The bidding process for Phase I, which has been approved by the New York State Education Department, is scheduled for this fall with construction anticipated for Summers 2024 and 2025. Phase I encompasses HVAC and classroom renovations at WOS and CLE, relocation of the CLE main entrance and outdoor classrooms at all four schools.

In addition, two projects were submitted for NYSED review in late September: renovation of the SOMS Nurse’s Office (Summer 2024) and Capital Improvements Bond Project Phase II (TZHS).

View the September 21 presentation here.
View information regarding the voter-approved Capital Improvements Bond Project here and the Smart Schools Investment Plan here.

Committee Memberships: Board members’ 2023-24 committee memberships, listed below, are noted in their bios posted on the Meet the Board webpage.

Steven Finn: Facilities Planning Committee
David Sansone: District-Wide Safety Team, Policy Committee
Katie Gravino: District-Wide Safety Team
Diana Korabel: Curriculum Council, Wellness Committee
Dana Stilley, PhD: Audit Committee/Finance Advisory Council, Policy Committee

Policy: Policy 4513 (Library and Resources Materials Selection) was returned to the Policy Committee for the purpose of addressing concerns expressed by community members. First readings were conducted for Policies 2832 (Broadcasting and Recording Board Meetings), 4810 (Teaching About Controversial Issues) and 6700 (Purchasing) at the September 21 meeting.

The Policy Committee plans to review the Board’s policy review process at its October meeting.

View the Policies Under Review webpage.

Upcoming Meetings/Workshops
Board of Education Regular Meeting
October 5 at 7:30PM
South Orangetown Middle School Library

Board of Education Regular Meeting/Workshop
October 19 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 at BoardPolicyOnline.

Questions? Send an email to the Board of Education at

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