NORTHPORT-EAST NORTHPORT, New York, Jan. 8
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Having worked in school district administration for nearly 30 years, Melville’s Thomas Caramore finally decided to call it quits and retire in 2005. Since then, Caramore has stepped into interim roles in Massapequa, Baldwin and Northport-East Northport, but said he would no longer consider a permanent administrative position.
In fact, he was even skeptical of accepting full-time interim positions, he said, but when Northport-East Northport Superintendent Marylou McDermott announced last month that she’d be moving her resignation date from July 21, 2015 to Jan. 9, Caramore decided to make an exception.
“I’ve always said that that the only way I would come back full-time is if it was with Northport-East Northport,” Caramore, who will officially become the district’s interim superintendent of schools on Friday, said. “I felt that I could work well with the staff, unions, administration and Board of Education here… since I’ve worked with almost everyone here before.”
During the 2012-2013 school year, Caramore joined the district as an interim assistant superintendent for human resources. With that experience, he said, the 68-year-old felt he built enough relationships, learned enough about the district and felt comfortable enough to step into a role that may have been intimidating for others due to the necessary quick turnaround.
With McDermott’s early resignation – which she said was caused by her need to care for her mother, who is ill – district officials needed a stopgap between Jan. 9 and the end of the school year while they continue their search for a permanent replacement. Now, until June 30 – the end date of his contract – Caramore will provide that guidance.
“You’re not going to be making major changes,” Caramore said of his role, “but when issues come up… you have to address them. We’re putting a budget together this spring and I’ll be involved in negotiations with the different unions… But as I said to the Board of Education, it just made sense for me to do since I know the district.”
Prior to his retirement, Caramore worked in the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District for about 28 years – including a stint as superintendent. An undergraduate of Villanova University, he went on to earn his master’s degree from Hofstra University and then a professional diploma in administration from Queens College. He later attended Columbia University, where he earned a doctorate in education and administration.
“To be honest, it gave me peace of mind to know that my responsibilities will be cared for by such an outstanding professional,” McDermott said of Caramore in an interview last month. “My mind was put at ease to know the district will be in excellent hands… I’m very happy he was chosen. [He’s] someone who will lead the district with dignity and grace.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record
(Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015; A3)