Michael Hynes drove all the way from Center Moriches to get to on Wednesday for the first day of school — as he will do every day of the week as the new superintendent of the small K – 12 district.
Hynes, 40, takes the place of interim superintendent Bob Parry, who was filling the absence of superintendent Sharon Clifford, who retired last June. He has been an elementary school teacher, a college teacher, a middle school principal and most recently an assistant superintendent in the Plainedge school district in Nassau County.
Hynes began his tenure with Shelter Island School on July 1 and met with over 100 local families over the summer. North Fork Patch got to speak with the new supe on Wednesday morning.
Patch: So how are you adjusting to a significantly smaller school district?
Hynes: After two and a half months here already I think I’m adjusting great. Shelter has about 250 enrolled as compared to 3,600 in Plainedge, but I think that’s the best thing about this school — K- 12 all housed under one roof. That leads to a really unusual experience for the kids.
Patch: How’s the first day of school going so far?
Hynes: Well, we had 19 new kindergarteners get off the bus this morning — the parents of course were more upset than the kids, I have three kids myself so I know how that goes. But no, it’s been exciting. It’s only 11 a.m. and I’m exhausted already visiting with everyone. It really is a different energy here.
Patch: You’re commuting from Center Moriches — why did you decide to take a job on Shelter Island?
Hynes: I’ve been coming out here for a while with my wife and kids. I remember thinking that this would be the ideal superintendent job. As assistant superintendent in Plainedge, I felt removed from the kids in my ivory tower so to speak. You know, when you’re an elementary school principal, you’re around the teachers and the kids all day … so I see this job as truly being the best of both worlds.
And Shelter Island, of course, is aesthetically beautiful, and everyone who lives here seems to have a common thread of wanting to help each other.