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Back to School: Q&A With Shelter Island School's New Superintendent

North Fork Patch caught new Shelter Island School Superintendent Michael Hynes during the first day of school on the island.

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. 

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