March 21, 2012 | 07:50 PMBayport-Blue Point school superintendent Anthony Annunziato has been offered a position as superintendent of Smithtown school district when Edward Ehmann retires at the end of this school year.
Smithtown Board of Education President Gladys Waldron said in a phone interview Tuesday that while Annunziato has not yet signed a contract, the contract process has started.
"He is the final candidate," she said. "... The board has been checking on all of his references and we have just completed that. We are still in the process of confirming and going over contract language with him so nothing has been finalized yet."
Waldron confirmed that Annunziato has been to the Smithtown schools and met with the district's stakeholders and unions.
"He is one of the people that really met almost every piece of the survey criteria," she said. "He has fantastic references and he has just done a great job in his former places. His interaction with the board was pleasant so hopefully everything will work out and we will be finalizing the contracts."
Annunziato has been superintendent at Bayport-Blue Point schools for almost seven years and was previously the president of the board of directors for the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association.
While declining to name the candidate in a phone interview Tuesday, Trustee Joanne McEnroy said she is happy with the board's decision.
"We are all very, very excited about the new person that we hope to vote on and confirm," McEnroy said.
Waldron agreed that Annunziato would be a great match for the board and the community.
"He is a man of experience and that is very helpful to a district. He seems to be a man of intelligence, integrity, and ethics. That is my gut feeling," she said. "It's very difficult looking for someone, it's almost like looking for a husband again … each time you are looking for someone you go out with a different reason."
McEnroy said the superintendent search could not have been completed without help from Western Suffolk BOCES, which advertised the position, screened candidates and brought the best ones to the BOE.
Annunziato faced criticism last March when he reportedly made comments published in Newsday saying that if a cap were to be placed on school superintendents' salaries, many would leave the state once their contracts expired. Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who earns a salary of $179,000 — had proposed that school chiefs make no more than $175,000 annually.
Annunziato, who is paid $242,550 annually in Bayport-Blue Point, according to www.findthedata.com, later clarified his comments about the salary cap, adding he would not leave Bayport-Blue Point school district for another Long Island district.
Annunziato was out of his office Wednesday and unavailable for comment to discuss what made him change his mind.
Ehmann declined to comment on the superintendent hiring.