Superintendent Announces Retirement

After 10 years in the position, Sheldon Karnilow will retire at the end of the summer.

After a 43-year career in education--the past 10 as superintendent of Half Hollow Hills--Dr. Sheldon Karnilow announced his retirement at the Board of Education meeting Monday night, effective Sept. 1, 2011.  

The main reason, he said, was to spend quality time with his out-of-state grandchildren.

“As my grandchildren reach each milestone in their development and I am not there to witness them – the first day of pre-school, their first dance recital, the first steps of another grandchild or the ability to be there when my latest grandchild is born – I stop and reevaluate those things that truly matter in my life,” Karnilow said.

"While I still feel young and vibrant, there are things I want to accomplish personally and professionally. I've had a 43-year career as an educator (I started at age 11)," he joked. 

Karnilow added: “I realize that everything that has been accomplished during my tenure in Half Hollow Hills would not have been possible without the major contributions of our supportive Board of Education and without our incredibly talented team of assistant superintendents, faculty, support staff and parents who do everything possible to strengthen our amazing school district and its wonderful children.  It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the community with which I have been associated for over 40 years.”

Also at the board meeting Monday night, Board of Education President Anne Marie Sorkin said, “Dr. Karnilow brought forward our rich traditions from the past and moved us forward, developing and implementing a world-class environment in which students, staff, and community members have grown."

Sorkin added, "Commensurate with his commitment to education has been Dr. Karnilow’s dedication to the highest levels of fiscal responsibility: Half Hollow Hills has the highest Moody’s financial rating in Suffolk County and was the only large school district in New York State to receive a positive audit.

"Dr. Karnilow has touched the Half Hollow Hills community through his spirit of caring. His constant communicative and compassionate approach to our staff, students, parents and community members has created a collaborative culture that is evident to anyone who attends or works in our schools, and is part of the community he has created. For his vision and guidance we will be forever grateful.  We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

The board accepted Karnilow’s resignation at its meeting. A search for Karnilow’s successor will commence immediately.

Sorkin said that in the coming weeks, the board will engage a search consultant to assist them in the process of finding a new superintendent.

She said, "We know we need guidance in finding a new superintendent. We have also asked Dr. Karnilow to be part of this process, and as we had hoped, he has accepted yet another challenge."

Sorkin said that they will establish a link on the school website for community members so that everyone can contribute their thoughts, ideas, and hopes for the future of the district. The board also plans, through its website links, to keep residents updated about the search process for the new superintendent.

She said that by the end of May, they hope to have two or three candidates for final interviews, and by July 1, a new superintendent.

"We expect our new superintendent to work with Dr. Karnilow throughout the summer to create a seamless and exciting transition," Sorkin said.  "We will have many opportunities to honor Dr. Karnilow over the coming months and we hope you will join in the celebrations.

"We will be celebrating the career of a man who has transformed our district, and touched many lives along the way," she added. "For this, and much more, we extend to Dr. Karnilow our deepest gratitude."

Patrick Cunningham March 08, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Over under for separation pay $ 600,000.
Patrick Cunningham March 08, 2011 at 09:38 PM
His contract ends on June 30th 2011, How much do they plan on paying him for the Summer. My Guess $ 100,000.
Maurico McCann March 08, 2011 at 11:44 PM
An extra 3 months at his salary? That additional time must give him some sort of benefit that the board isn't telling us about. Kick Karnilow out at the end of his contract.
Patrick Cunningham March 09, 2011 at 01:27 PM
His Legacy is that the Half Hollow Hills School District Increased Spending by 100% in ten years while only seeing a 20% increase in Student Population which is now receeding. I don't see any real increase in performance, in fact there was always at least five Intel Finalists, now there is like one or two.
Jill Kaufman March 09, 2011 at 03:43 PM
I don't remember Dr. Karnilow having our previous superintendent work with him for the summer, but I will check into that! Board President, Ann Marie Sorkin, stated at the last Board Meeting that it is "their INTENTION" to have this new Superintendent work for FREE for the summer! Maybe Dr. Karnilow should work for free too!
Patrick Cunningham March 09, 2011 at 04:27 PM
How do you compete with School Offcials getting PTA's behind Budget Vote and having every family contacted to go out vote so that there are no cuts to Band, Transportation and Sports. Scare the Voters into Action. I think some flyers going to the Senior Citizen Complex over there will be in order. Involvement is necessary but we need to Organize, Twenty five people asking about the same budget line item is useless
Jill Kaufman March 09, 2011 at 04:43 PM
PTA's are asked to endorse the Budget right there in front of administration. I don't believe they should be doing that but that is only my opinion. Additionally, the Administration and Board scares people into voting YES because they say we will be on a contingency budget if the budget fails. THE TRUTH IS that if the people speak LOUD AND CLEAR and a budget fails, the Board and administration have an opportunity to go back and FIX IT and put it to another vote. We can save the time and money if they get it right the first time!
Mad Max March 09, 2011 at 06:42 PM
When the boat takes on water the RATS will jump ship.Who will be paying for these so called celebrations for this guy Anne Sorkin? Thank you Dix Hills Patch for informing all of us of how much goes on behind our backs.We will use this web site to unite us to finally put a stop to this buisness as usual.If Newsday never published the article of how much Karnilow and the other thieves were making, he would not be resigning today.I would still like to know how the Board of Education came to the decision to tear down and sell the Hills Elementary School which was only 10-11yrs old to Developer Dicanio at a time when the population of Dix Hills was starting to boom.I'm sure it was a real fiscal responsible decision on the Boards part.For all you people who don't know the school was located opposite the Dix Hills Fire house between Half Hollow Road and the LIE on Deer Park Ave.I would love for the Patch to investigate why this was allowed to happen.If you follow the money we will get answers.
Susan Friedman March 09, 2011 at 06:45 PM
I agree with you Jill, it is not appropriate to have votes conducted right in front of the administration. Unfortunately, many PTA type activities are conducted solely with administration approval. There was a time when the PTA not only supported special events and fundraising, but also had the ability to question actions and decisions of the school administration. Although we would like to think that we're all partners in the education of our children, even partners may disagree from time to time or express differing viewpoints -- it appears as if there has been a great deal of suppression of viewpoints that don't adhere to the "party line". Differing opinions are important in the growth of a school district if we just agree with the administration it ends ups being to the disadvantage of our children. Our role as taxpayers and/or parents is to bring curiosity to the table and seek explanations and varying viewpoints so that the best possible decisions can be made in a school district.
Patrick Cunningham March 09, 2011 at 08:27 PM
That was the work of John Kostanosis (Spelling) He sat on the Board for many years. He use to brag how he opened Seven Schools and Closed Seven Schools. Cost millions to build and sold for most likely thousands. He was a real arrogant SOB. Even then with twice the amount of students, there were less administrators then there are today.
Jill Kaufman March 09, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Susan, I agree with you. But I think the fear of speaking up comes from much bullying, manipulation and intimidation! Unfortunately, I think that is too much for most people. I have learned first hand what happens to you when you don't "Adhere to the party line" . Very well said by the way! Jill jillcaryn@gmail.com
Fed up March 10, 2011 at 12:16 PM
We need to have the ability to clearly see a budget. A mailed postcard with a pie chart of percentages sent to the district taxpayers?Not enough! What's with the intimidation tatic of not approving the budget or your children's education maybe in trouble? Most taxpayers and parents don't even know where or when the Board of Educations are being held! As a parent from a two income family, it is very difficult to add another task to our over taxed schedule. Question: what are the other top positions at HHH salaries??????
Patrick Cunningham March 10, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Look at the website SeethroughNY.org, it will provide Salaries of all Half Hollow Hills Employees and will also let you look at the current teacher's and Superintendent's Contract. There are I believe 10 people making over $200,000 per year in the Half Hollow Hills School District, There are 300 employees making over $ 100,000.
Dirk D. March 10, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Bug, you seem to have alot of knowledge and intelligence on all the facts and garbage that has been thrown at us.We need someone like you to wake us all up and follow your lead. Stay the course and we will follow you right to where we need to go. If it means to vote these crooks out, then we will.Keep educating us on all the facts. ENOUGH is ENOUGH. It's our turn now to take control of the future of our children and our existence in this community without being taxed out of it.They want to cut summer school as one answer to the problem.. BS. Some children need it to catch up.How do you put a price tag on that. I have been here 45yrs and went through this District fom kindergarten to high school and it's a disgrace at what we have allowed to happen to it. How did we allow this District to take away the Holloween Parade from the elementary school children that was a tradition for years and to only allow the teacher's to dress up.They have these Parade's still going on in other School Districts.What are we really teaching the kids?Time to reset the clock before it's to late!!!
BIG BROTHERS WATCHING March 11, 2011 at 01:00 PM
Nice information Pat, now what we need to do is get from or force from the Board of Education a list of personel, Non Professionals (which by the way some making over 100k) and the Professionals.We need to break down what kind of positions they hold and exactly what they do. Let's make a scale from 1-5 on how important or unimportant this position is and decide to keep it or cut it.We need to know exactly what people are doing and how many teachers,aides,secretaries,custodians,maintenance people etc...Some of these positionsI know could be eliminated without making cuts to the kids..We need to know what these people are doing if their not really working.I'm sure the boilers or air conditioning don't break down everyday or need 5 custodians to empty out a garbage can or pay overtime to the grounds keepers for placing yard markers on a field on saturdays.By the way is it me or does anybody see a little NEPOTISM with the names on SEETHROUGHNY.ORG list of personel employed by the Half Hollow Hills.They need to do the right thing and elminate their friends and family members jobs that are not important.ENOUGH with stealing from the tax payers.
Jill Kaufman March 11, 2011 at 04:37 PM
TO: BIG BROTHER WATCHING - Thanks for pointing out the nepotism... I Can't blame the Administration for not wanting to lay anyone off, no one wants to see anymore people out of work and after all, they represent the employees not the taxpayer. However, it is the job of the Board of Education to represent the taxpayers and look at at exactly that! Where can we cut this budget, even if it means eliminating a job, so that it has the least impact on our students! The Board meetings are listed on the district website, on the district calendar, and at the end of the patch article about the budget. Sorry I don't have them in front of me now. I hope to see you at the meetings.
Jill Kaufman March 11, 2011 at 05:00 PM
I'm happy to see that people are waking up and want to be involved, I just hope everyone comes and expresses their opinions, thoughts and ideas in a respectful manner! Otherwise YOU WON"T BE HEARD!
jonny March 11, 2011 at 08:01 PM
closer to $1 mill and 365K per year for a pension
Mike Hoch April 11, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Something doesn't feel quite right about Karnilow's extended stay past the June 30th cutoff. Has anyone asked the members of the board how much he will be compensated for his additional time? Has anyone also asked why Karnilow has to remain until September, but it wasn't necessary in any of the previous power transitions for the former superintendant to assist. The community has a right to know.
Jill Kaufman April 11, 2011 at 08:32 PM
TO MIke Hoch The Superintendents contract does not end this June 30th, although I don't believe we should be paying for him to stay on once we hire the new Superintendent! Why don't you come to the Board of Education meeting tonight at Chestnut Hill and maybe even voice your opinion.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something