Dr. Mary Kelly will take the reins as superintendent of the Bridgehampton School District effective July 1. She was appointed by the School Board on Wednesday, May 26, and replaces Superintendent Robert Hauser. Dr. Kelly has served as superintendent of the Amityville School District since 2014.
“I’m very thankful to the board for what I consider a career opportunity of a lifetime,” Dr. Kelly said in an interview this week, citing the close-knit, family-like nature of the school district.
School Board President Ronald White said the district chose Dr. Kelly after interviewing a dozen candidates from a field of more than two dozen.
“Curriculum and instruction are her forte,” he said, “and she presents herself as a natural born leader.”
School Board members had cited their desire for a superintendent with more experience in curriculum development when they decided to not renew Mr. Hauser’s contract in January. Mr. Hauser had served as the district’s business administrator for eight years before being promoted to superintendent when Dr. Louis R. Morrow Horgan retired in 2018.
“It was a very strong pool of candidates,” said board member Jenn Vinski, who noted that the district worked with the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services to winnow down that field. “What stood out was her experience — we were excited with the wealth of experience she comes with. Her vision and her leadership will be a good fit for Bridgehampton School.”
“I felt it was time for me personally and professionally to pursue something new,” Dr. Kelly said of her decision to resign from Amityville, which has a total enrollment of about 3,000 students, and come to Bridgehampton, which has a total of 212 students enrolled this year. “I have always had an affinity for the East End and thought it would be nice working in a smaller district where I’d have the opportunity to be more hands-on, more engaged, and more involved with staff and students.”
Dr. Kelly, who said she typically stays in one job for a number of years, had served as superintendent in Amityville since 2014. Before becoming superintendent, she had been the district’s assistant superintendent for six years.
She came to Amityville after a career in Kings Park, where she served as director of assessments, research, and instructional support after serving as a high school assistant principal and a social studies teacher. She taught middle school and high school social studies in East Meadow before being drawn to Kings Park, which she said, had launched a number of progressive teaching initiatives.
Dr. Kelly, who was born to Irish immigrant parents in Brooklyn and grew up in North Bellmore, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hofstra University and her doctorate in education from Dowling College. She lives in Kings Park and plans to commute to Bridgehampton.
The first order of business in Bridgehampton will be to get to know students, families, and staff members, Dr. Kelly said. “That speaks to getting back to the heart of who I am an educator,” she said.