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OBEN Transitions to New Leadership at its Helm

The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District Board of Education has appointed Dr. Francesco Ianni as the next Superintendent of Schools during its Board of Education meeting, November 17.  Dr. Ianni will join the District on January 1, 2021 after Dr. Laura Seinfeld, in a planned retirement after 30 years of service in public education, leaves the District on December 31 to pursue the next level of her career as an educational leader at the college level.

Dr. Ianni brings extensive experience from the Harborfields Central School District where he has served as Superintendent of Schools for the past four years. He began his career as a high school mathematics teacher before advancing to various administrative roles including assistant principal, principal, Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Services, and Deputy Superintendent of Schools. At Harborfields, Dr. Ianni was instrumental in creating a clear vision and mission that helped the District successfully navigate through many initiatives, including full-day kindergarten, a successful one-to-one technology program and capital bond projects.  His idea of providing “a world-class education one child at a time” has been the focus and the drive that has brought Harborfields to the next level of achievement. He has been extremely influential in the analysis of data as a tool to drive instruction, thus enhancing the educational experience for students across grade levels. Dr. Ianni has taught as an adjunct professor at New York University and St. John’s University, and speaks Italian, his native language, as well as Spanish. 

Calling the appointment an “exciting” moment, Board of Education President Ms. Laurie Kowalsky welcomed the community to the livestreamed meeting and briefly explained the superintendent search process, noting, “The Board initiated its search upon receiving the results of a communitywide survey which asked for the characteristics the community wanted to see in its next superintendent. Over 470 community members, teachers, staff, and students responded. We looked at 69 candidates and Dr. Ianni emerged as the unanimous choice of the Board.”

Later in the evening, the Board made the motion to appoint Dr. Ianni and it was approved by the five Board members that were in attendance to welcoming applause. Dr. Ianni, who attended the meeting with his wife, Anna, and son, Vincenzo, later said of his appointment, “I want to thank the Board of Education for its confidence in me to lead the District into new levels of performance. I look forward to getting to know the faculty, staff, and students, and the culture of the District, so we can have a seamless transition and continue on a solid path of excellence.”

Dr. Seinfeld, who has served the District as Superintendent since 2013 and previously as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for five years, offered congratulatory words and well wishes to Dr. Ianni.

“I want to commend the Board of Education on its selection and I pledge to you that we will have a very smooth transfer of leadership,” Dr. Seinfeld said. “Dr. Ianni, I wish you only the best because this is an amazing place to be and you are so fortunate to have landed here.”

As Dr. Seinfeld passes the baton, she leaves behind an impressive list of accomplishments that has elevated the District on many levels.

Under her 7/12 years as Superintendent, Dr. Seinfeld built a committed and visionary leadership team. She consistently reinforced among the faculty the importance of the three “Rs”— rigor, relevance, and relationships — and made them keenly aware of the extraordinary responsibility they have as educators, ingraining in them to “know thy impact” on their students. During her tenure, student achievement reached new milestones with Advanced Placement scores exceeding the Nassau County average. Also under her leadership, the District fully implemented its one-to-one technology initiative, completed a  capital bond project for the high school fine and performing arts wing, constructed a new artificial turf athletic field for JV and varsity teams at James H. Vernon School, facilitated digital and ergonomic upgrades to the high school library and a re-design of the cafeteria. Dr. Seinfeld is also known for her community book clubs that brought all segments of the community together to share insights about the written word. Her message to “choose kind” is tightly woven in the fabric of Oyster Bay-East Norwich and is the cornerstone of her legacy as an inclusive, caring, and effective educational leader. Dr. Seinfeld has oftentimes said she “bleeds purple and gold,” and her unwavering focus and success on leading the District through the COVID-19 pandemic and planning for the re-opening of schools speaks volumes of her dedication,  commitment and love for the students, parents and staff of  Oyster Bay-East Norwich.

Dr. Ianni and Dr. Seinfeld

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Laura Seinfeld joins Dr. Francesco Ianni, who was appointed as the next Superintendent of Schools, effective January 1, 2021.