BY JOE SCOTCHIE
One of the top-performing high schools in New York will have a new, interim principal this fall.
The Herricks Public Schools have appointed Dr. James A. Ruck as interim principal of Herricks High School, effective on Aug. 15.
“I am really excited about becoming part of one of the premier districts on Long Island, the state and the country,” Ruck said. “I look forward to bringing my experience to Herricks and getting to know people quickly. I’m sure it is going to be a nice match.”
Ruck comes to Herricks with nearly a half century of experience as an educator in New York State, including as a principal in several school districts.
Ruck should be at home in Herricks as he has served as principal of John H. Glenn High School in Elwood for two years. Prior to that, he was principal of Harrison High School in Westchester for seven years.
From 1981 until 2005, Ruck worked in Sachem, the state’s largest suburban school district. In Sachem, Ruck served in a variety of positions, including assistant superintendent, executive principal of two high schools and principal of one high school before taking on the superintendent of schools responsibilities and title. In that capacity, he led a student population of 15,500 and staff of 2,315 and played an integral part in the completion of a major capital projects referendum.
Prior to his time in Sachem, Ruck was principal of Dobbs Ferry Middle-Senior High School. He began his career in the Northport Schools in 1968 as a biology teacher and social worker, eventually moving on to hold assistant principal and science chairman posts within the district. Ruck returned to Northport for the 2005-06 school year to fill interim administrator roles.
Ruck obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Gettysburg College, Masters Degree from Syracuse University and Doctorate Degree from Dowling College. He has actively participated with a number of professional education organizations.
“The board of education and central administration considered a number of candidates for interim principal,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Fino Celano. “We believe Dr. Ruck’s wealth of experience makes him well-qualified to lead our high school, and help us to continue the tradition of excellence that makes Herricks a unique and outstanding school. Dr. Ruck is a talented, hard-working and caring educator who is very student-centered. We look forward to working with him throughout the new school year.”
Ruck will be replacing Samuel M. Thompson, who served as principal for the 2016-2016 school year.
In a letter to school district parents, Celano explained the reasons for the change.
“Dr. Thompson has decided to accept the position of principal of Farmingdale High School in September,” Celano said. “Dr. Thompson has deep roots in Farmingdale, having been an administrator there for eight years prior to his arrival in Herricks. We wish him well and thank him for his contributions over the past year. Dr. Thompson has assured me that he will be available during the weeks and months ahead to ensure a smooth transition for Herricks High School.
The board of education and I will immediately begin the process of identifying a new principal who will meet our high expectations for continuing the tradition of excellence that makes Herricks a unique and outstanding school district.”
As the school year ended, Thompson posted an appreciative message of thanks on the high school’s website.
“The 2015-16 school year has come to a close and I just wanted to express what an exceptional year it has been,” he said. “I am amazed at the inspiring, insightful, and cooperative environment demonstrated throughout the Herricks High School community. We worked toward new and progressive ideas this year and celebrated traditions. Our students show a zest for learning, civic responsibility, and thoughtfulness which led to a successful year.”
BY JOE SCOTCHIE