The Sag Harbor Union Free School District Board of Education will be voting on Monday, May 11, to promote Jeff Nichols to superintendent of schools. Nichols is currently serving as interim superintendent in a dual role.
The current Pierson High School principal has been manning his post the past 20 years, serving the district since 1997. Under his leadership, the high school became recognized as an International Baccalaureate school, produced multiple Intel Science Competition award recipients — semifinalist and finalist — and continued to support and maintain excellence in the arts. He shares the goals of board and community members to educate the whole child to his/her fullest potential. His commitment is evident by the fact that graduates of Pierson have gone on to attend highly-regarded colleges and universities or pursue their vocational career goals with the skills needed to be successful.
During the past six months, Nichols assumed the position of superintendent twice, first as acting superintendent during November and December 2019 prior to the January retirement of Katy Graves, and again as interim superintendent in April 2020, in each case while continuing to serve as high school principal. During both instances, he served these leadership roles without additional compensation.
“Over the years, Jeff Nichols’s commitment to put students first has earned him the trust of students, parents, colleagues, and community members alike,” said board of education president Jordana Sobey. “He possesses a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility along with a heightened awareness of education issues both locally and on a national level, and has demonstrated the ability to view the future through the lens of a leader. His institutional knowledge of our school district and positive relationships with our community will continue to be a critical asset as he transitions into his new role.”
After his appointment, in addition to serving as superintendent of schools, Nichols will continue to serve as principal of Pierson High School temporarily. This will allow the district to minimize disruption to students during these unprecedented times. In addition, the district anticipates realizing certain cost savings by having him fill both roles while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to require distance learning. Upon board approval, Nichols will be entering into a five-year employment agreement. His annual compensation will increase from $233,435 during the 2019-20 school year to $265,000 in his new role. The contract will become publicly available upon board approval.
Nichols’s upcoming appointment will be the culmination of a lengthy and in-depth search process, which began in fall 2019 conducted by School Leadership LLC, a highly-regarded national professional education search firm. Subsequent to meeting with the board of education and soliciting input from administrators, teachers, parents, and community residents, School Leadership LLC presented a pool of highly qualified candidates for consideration. After analyzing and discussing the qualifications of each candidate and conducting a rigorous interview process, it became abundantly clear that the candidate possessing the qualities the board and community were seeking was someone who was already known and respected by the community.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the board of education for the confidence they have shown in me,” Nichols said. “I enjoy working in Sag Harbor and consider it a privilege to work with administrators, faculty, and staff who are talented and dedicated to preparing our students for the future. I feel especially fortunate to work with students who are kind, compassionate, and willing to work hard to achieve their goals. We have much to be proud of, and I look forward to a future filled with new opportunities for success.”
The upcoming board of education meeting will take place via Zoom Monday at 6:30 PM, and community members are encouraged to join. The appointment would be effective Tuesday, May 12.