New Superintendent James Parla was welcomed into the district this spring by outgoing Superintendent Richard N. Segerdahl, who retired at the end of the 2004 school year.
Newly-appointed Superintendent of Schools in Island Trees James Parla said he always knew that the district was a special place. Citing its excellent reputation and great sense of community, Parla said that upon hearing that the position of superintendent was opening, he knew it was an opportunity he didn't want to miss.
"Island Trees is a wonderful school district and a great community ... it has a really fabulous reputation," Parla said.
Superintendent of Schools in the North Bellmore Elementary School District (grades K-6) for seven years, Parla said he wanted to come to a district that serves students in grades kindergarten or, in the case of Island Trees, pre-kindergarten, through high school. Parla officially took over the position on July 1.
"I wanted to see children advance from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school," he said. "I just really felt this was an opportunity I wanted to pursue."
Parla looks back fondly on his seven years in North Bellmore, noting several accomplishments reached in the district under his reign. Among the many changes which took place during his time in the district included the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program, the reopening of a school that had been closed for 23 years and an increase in student achievement, thanks to opportunities for greater staff development. Parla also mentioned that the district's technology program grew to be state-of-the-art.
He added that many of these accomplishments were achieved thanks to the support received from the community, which could also be said for Island Trees.
"There are many great programs here," Parla said, many of which were established under former Superintendent Richard N. Segerdahl. "I've known [Segerdahl] for a number of years and I've always looked up to him as a friend and colleague."
As for his plans for the district, Parla said that he hopes to continue the great programs Island Trees currently possesses.
"I certainly want to continue to nurture those programs and make sure that they continue to benefit the students of the district," he said. "Those programs have been so successful here and I want to make sure they continue to evolve."
In addition to the great programs available in the district, Parla credited Island Trees' reputation to the great administration and faculty.
The new superintendent further credited the great sense of community in Island Trees to the success of the district.
"The people here have always been very supportive about their school district," he said, adding that there's always been a pride associated. "This is the type of community that really pulls together and wants to do good things for children."
Parla, who resides with his wife Patricia in New Hyde Park, is the father of three children, Allyson, 22; Kaitlin, 20 and Brendan, 17. He said that he is familiar with that sense of community and pride that Island Trees possesses, both from his own hometown and from North Bellmore.
"People here are very similar to my roots and my background," he said. "It's great when you're able to work with a community of people who care so much."
Parla added that he looks forward to continuing to get to know the teachers of the district, as well as members of the community.
"I'm really honored to be here," he said, and I am committed to continuing to work very hard to continue the fine traditions that have been established here in the educational community."