The South Huntington Union Free School District introduced incoming superintendent Dr. David Bennardo at a welcoming ceremony Saturday.
Speaking before residents, colleagues and family at , Bennardo said there is no place he would rather be than in South Huntington. He promised honesty, transparency, integrity and caring about kids while facing the challenges ahead.
"People here know that their schools are their resource and their kids are the greatest asset in the world," said Bennardo, the principal at Harborfields High School for the past nine years.
Bennardo said from afar he has witnessed trademarks of the South Huntington school district including a love of rich history and schools, and a willingness to come together regardless of the issue to make sure the right things happen for kids.
After what he called an "intricate process," Bennardo said he is ready to join a "dynamite" Board of Education.
Bennardo recognized and thanked him for his service to the community and for his help during the ongoing transition.
"His career is an example of a career and a life well spent and I thank him for that and for the time he's given public education and the time he has given me over the past few weeks," said Bennardo.
Entering his twenty-fifth year in public education, Bennardo said he worked in the late 80s and 90s in Sewanhaka and New Hyde Park school districts in various positions including teacher, drama set designer, football coach, adviser, drivers education instructor, lacrosse coach and assistant principal.
"I promise this will be the first and last time I talk about my experiences or my life or my background and not our schools, our family or our kids," said Bennardo.
With family members seated in the audience, the married father of three thanked them for their support. "Together we work as a team and this is my new passion and they want to be a part of it."
In attendance for the event in the school cafeteria, South Huntington PTA Council President Laura Carey said Bennardo seems like he will bring a "lot of life" into the community.
"He really seems to want to get to know us and we really want to get to know him," said Carey. "We have some really difficult times ahead and I think he can be a really good leader for us."
Jim Kaden, president of the South Huntington school board, said it was a "pretty involved process" but he thinks they "got the right guy."
"Everyone was happy where we were and we are looking to move forward with a few different things," said Kaden.
Bennardo will officially begin as superintendent in South Huntington July 1.