The official press release may be found at https://5il.co/g2hh.
Sag Harbor UFSD appoints new Superintendent of Schools
On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Sag Harbor UFSD Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the appointment of Jeff Nichols as the district’s next superintendent of schools, effective Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Mr. Nichols is currently serving the district as acting superintendent of schools and high school principal.
Mr. Nichols has served as the Pierson High School Principal for the past 20 years and has served 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 the board and the community to educate the whole child to his/her fullest potential. His commitment is evident by the fact that graduates of Pierson High School have gone on to attend highly regarded colleges and universities or pursue their vocational career goals with the skills needed to be successful.
"I have had the pleasure of knowing and working closely with Jeff Nichols for more than 20 years. I am so pleased he has been appointed superintendent,” said Sag Harbor Elementary School Principal Matt Malone. “He is a thoughtful leader who approaches his responsibilities with great care. His intelligence, experience and proven ability to lead here in Sag Harbor will enable him to help us all continue to do great things for the children and the entire community.”
"Over the past seven years, I have had the honor of working with and learning from Jeff Nichols. He serves as a model for how to effectively lead a school by always putting the children first and never seeking the spotlight,” said Pierson Middle School Principal Brittany Carriero. “Through both good times and bad, he has led our school community in a calm and thoughtful manner. In times of uncertainty, it is a comfort to have someone so effective at the helm. Sag Harbor is a tight-knit community that will benefit from a superintendent with his institutional knowledge. He possesses excellent communication skills and utilizes them to problem solve issues in a collaborative fashion. I look forward to seeing the Sag Harbor Schools continue to grow and thrive under the strong leadership of Jeff Nichols.”
During the past six months, Mr. Nichols assumed the additional role of superintendent, not once but twice, first as acting superintendent during November and December 2019 and again as interim superintendent in April 2020, in each case while continuing to serve as high school principal. During both instances, he served in these dual leadership roles without additional compensation.
"Especially because, like everyone else, we are in these unchartered pandemic waters, Mr. Nichols is a great choice by the board of education to be the superintendent,” said Jim Kinnier, teacher and head of the teacher’s union. “He knows the students, teachers and the staff. He knows the community. As we move forward, his calm, fact-based decision making will help the district survive and thrive. All members of the team will come together and make this historic time a positive one. Best wishes to Mr. Nichols and the entire school district community.”
"I’ve known Jeff Nichols for more than 20 years and have witnessed him from a variety of different perspectives; that of a board of education member, a parent, as coordinator of the Reutershan Educational Trust and as a high school/middle school teacher,” said Peter Solow, teacher, parent, and former board of education member. “During his tenure as Pierson principal, we have seen a continual improvement in our educational program and the positive transformation of our school due to his leadership and his aspiration to make things better. From his personal experience, he possesses an understanding of the organizational history of the district. I am confident that he has the capacity to effectively deal with the unprecedented challenges we face today. His thoughtful leadership and performance over the past weeks have been exemplary. In this context, the appointment of Jeff Nichols to the position of superintendent is a relief because I believe he will provide continuity and stability in a time of profound uncertainty. I am confident that he will also provide reassurance for our students, the district and our community."
Under his new appointment, in addition to serving as superintendent of schools, Mr. 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 remote learning. Mr. Nichols will be entering into a five-year employment agreement. His annual compensation will increase from $233,435 during the 2019-2020 school year to $265,000 per year in his new role. The contract will become publicly available following board approval.
“Over the years, Jeff Nichols’ commitment to put students first has earned him the trust of students, parents, colleagues and community members alike,” said Sag Harbor 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.”
Mr. Nichols’ appointment was 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 to the board of education. 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 in the next superintendent 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,” said Mr. Nichols. “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.”