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."