Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Katy Graves will take an “unanticipated” leave of absence from her position beginning next Friday, November 22, to “attend to a personal medical issue,” according to a press release issued Saturday morning by the district’s public relations firm, Syntax.
According to the press release, Ms. Graves responsibilities will “be delegated to the appropriate central office administrators.”
“We wish her the best and ask that the community respect her privacy during this time,” said the board in its statement.
“With a heavy heart, I regret to inform the members of the Board of Education and the community that I will have to step away from my duties beginning on November, 22, 2019 as the Superintendent of the Sag Harbor Schools for immediate surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City,” said Ms. Graves in a letter to the board on November 15. “I will also be out of the school district on Monday and Tuesday, November 18 and 19, 2019 with pre-operative testing in New York City.
“I know I am leaving the district in the most capable hands and our Board of Education, administrators, teachers and staff will continue to do what is best for children, fair for adults and what the community can sustain when I am not here.
“If my doctors are able to release me to return prior to my January 6, 2020 retirement date, I will be happy to come back and work to support the leadership transition at our beautiful school district.”
Ms. Graves, 59, announced her retirement earlier this year after serving as the district’s superintendent for five year, effective this coming January. The board of education has been working with a professional search firm to place an interim superintendent to serve between January 6, 2020, and June 30, 2020. According to the press release issued by the board, it is now exploring the possibility of an earlier start date for the interim superintendent given Ms. Graves may not be able to return to her position prior to January 6, depending on her prognosis.
Ms. Graves was named superintendent of the Sag Harbor School District in April of 2014. At the time, she was the superintendent of the Stamford Central School District near Albany. She was chosen out of 55 applicants from across the country in a search led by School Leadership — the firm currently leading the district’s new search for a superintendent. Her selection by the board out of six finalists was unanimous, said then board president Theresa Samot.
On Saturday, Ms. Graves sent a personal letter to parents and members of the school community.
“I am leaving to care for my health before I have the chance to have all of those ‘lasts’ that everyone that works with children treasures,” wrote Ms. Graves. “Most of all, I have not had the ‘moments’ to tell each and every one of you just how special you are and what a difference you make in children’s lives.”
“Please continue doing great work supporting each child, each other, this wonderful school district and this beautiful community,” continued Ms. Graves. “As families, continue to cherish your families, support your school and continue that grace and positive attitude that all the children feel from you every day.”