Written by Ronald Scaglia, Rscaglia@antonnews.com Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00
Massapequa Superintendent Charles Sulc stunned the community at a recent school board meeting, announcing he would retire on June 30, the end of this school year. The school board immediately announced Sulc is to be replaced by Lucille Iconis, currently the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
“I think I’ve made a difference,” Sulc told the Massapequan Observer. “One of the things that I always want to be remembered for is that I would never let this place fail. Whatever it took to get something done, I would do it. I’ve had great teams to work with and those great teams have made this a better place. We’ve had a lot of success in my six years as superintendent.”
Sulc has been with the district for 44 years, having started as a math teacher directly after graduating college, and then progressing to administrative roles. He served as assistant superintendent or deputy superintendent for 16 years, before being appointed to the role of superintendent in June of 2007. At the time, Sulc was appointed as acting superintendent, replacing his predecessor, Maureen Flaherty, who was suspended. The “acting” designation was eventually removed from Sulc’s title after one year, and he has been serving as the superintendent since then. He said he plans on spending more time with his grandchildren in Florida and Maryland.
At the same meeting, it was also announced that Iconis is to take over July 1, with the school board approving her by a 5-0 vote. Iconis has held her present position since Sept. 2005. In her current role, Iconis also oversees the Department of Student Services and the Special Education Department. Iconis is in her 13th year with Massapequa schools, having come to the district in 1999 from the Franklin Square School District. She first served as supervisor of East Lake Elementary School, a position that is now called assistant principal. One year later, she was promoted to principal of East Lake, and she remained in that role for five years, before being appointed assistant superintendent.
“I feel privileged, honored and humbled by this appointment,” Iconis told the Massapequan Observer. “My time in Massapequa has been precious to me. It’s just an absolutely wonderful school district and a wonderful community.”
Iconis says she was taken by surprise, as she had not expected Sulc to retire this year. She says that she first learned of his retirement about two weeks prior to the announcement and then her surprise was compounded by the school board’s decision to select her as Sulc’s replacement.
“He will be sorely missed,” Iconis said of Sulc. “He was the first person I met when I came to interview in this district and he is just a wonderful man. He is a person who is all about the kids. It’s going to be big shoes to fill but he’s laid a wonderful foundation from which to continue to build this district.”
Building on the foundation may be difficult due to financial issues. Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock has warned that because of reductions in state aid, as well as increases in pension costs, the district could face a significant shortfall in funds if it is to meet the New York Property Tax Cap requirement of a tax increase of no greater than two percent.
“These are fiscally difficult times as we all know,” remarked Iconois. “So [my goal is] really is to maintain as well as to grow programs that we have established. I’ve always been about continuous improvement, so it’s going to be a challenge to do that. But somehow, through creative approaches and innovation, we will continue to soar. That’s my philosophy.”
Sulc said that the district made a good choice in selecting Iconis to be his successor. He said she is a tremendous motivator and has the trust of different groups within the district.
“The board has made a wonderful decision,” Sulc said. “She has a tremendous background in reading and literacy. One of the most significant aspects of Lucille is that we are in a dramatic shift in education with this common core coming on and she has been instrumental in helping us prepare to deal with that.”
The district has not announced a successor to Iconis for the role of assistant superintendent.