Dr. Pernick Steps Down As Schreiber Principal


On Feb. 11, 2022, Dr. Ira Pernick sent an email to parents and students, alerting them of his resignation as principal of Schreiber. He announced he would be undertaking a new position as the Administrator for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, effective March 11.
The announcement came as a surprise to students and parents, as his resignation is effective mid-year rather than July 1, a date that typically helps the administration ensure a smooth transition between principals. Currently, former Schreiber Principal Mr. Jay Lewis is stepping in, though there is an ongoing search for a principal for the 2022-2023 school year.
The Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Dr. David Meoli, is retiring at the end of the year and must be replaced. The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Hynes, wanted to bring in more support to the cirriculum office, so the new position of Administrator for the Cirriculum, Instruction and Assesment was created for Dr. Pernick. The curriculum position is currently a single-person department, and has not been running as efficiently as Dr. Hynes would like.
“This is something that I have been pushing for quite some time. It just happened to happen this year,” said Dr. Hynes.
The Administrator for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment position is unique in the sense that its daily tasks are not as defined as other committees; rather, there are long term goals the school district and Dr. Pernick both hope to achieve.
Curriculum is either designed by a teacher, instructed to be taught by a book, or determined by the NYS Board of Regents or the College Board, in the case of AP courses. The role of assessment is to ensure teachers are effectively teaching the material in accordance with the curriculum, on both large scales including student performance on NYS Regents or AP examinations, and small scales, such as the general student understanding and participation in classrooms. This can only be achieved by working with school leaders to help advance the instructional leadership of the principals.
“I want them to speak the language of the instruction and to have those sorts of conversations,” said Dr. Pernick.
In a town as academically competitive as Port Washington, one could imagine reshaping students and parents’ expectations will be especially difficult.
In speaking to students and administration members, it was clear that Dr. Pernick would be missed. Dr. Pernick has had many impacts on Schreiber since his arrival in 2011. He believed Schreiber was designed to be a very big school, which hinders communication between students, parents, teachers and their administrators.
“One of the goals I had was to make Schreiber feel smaller,” said Dr. Pernick.
He attempted to achieve this by creating school social media accounts, a school newsletter and informal parent coffee meetings, which all sought to “demystify” the intricacies of the high school experience for parents and students.
In his years at Schreiber, Dr. Pernick showed faithfulness to students and their concerns. After hearing that the two-color graduation gowns depending on gender excluded nonbinary students, it was changed to be a single color. Though the gender neutral bathroom attracts controversy, Dr. Pernick believed its presence was imperative to make students feel welcome and accepted by their school.
“We put that bathroom in the middle of the hallway. We could have put it in a corner-we wanted to make a statement,” said Dr. Pernick.
Curricular changes were made, including the expansion of certification requirements for the ENL and special education teachers in accordance with state guidelines. The INVEST program for students with autism was created under Dr. Pernick in collaboration with the District Special Education department.
“I think there are some administrators who put different systems in place and there are administrators who really connect with students. One of Dr. Pernick’s greatest strengths is his ability to connect with students and help their development not only academically, but also socially and emotionally,” said superintendent Dr. Hynes.
Dr. Pernick emphasized that the bonds he had formed with students would make this transition into the new administrative position bittersweet, as it includes a wider scope of duties, and therefore creates a less immediate connection to students.
“It’s for students. It’s not for the adults, it’s not for the glory of it all, it’s because it’s rewarding to work with students,” said Dr. Pernick.
—From The Schrieber Hich School’s newspaper, The Schreiber Times. Written by tenth-grader, Hannah Rosenberg


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