Former G. Neck schools chief appointed interim head of North Shore district

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North Shore Schools Superintendent Peter Giarrizzo, left, will leave the district at the end of the school year, and will be succeeded by interim superintendent Thomas Dolan, right, former superintendent of the Great Neck School District. (Photos via North Shore School District, Nassau Community College)

An educator who previously served the Great Neck, Manhasset and Sewanhaka school districts has been appointed interim superintendent of the North Shore School District in Sea Cliff.

The district’s board of education announced this week that Thomas Dolan will succeed the outgoing Superintendent Peter Giarrizzo, who a district spokesperson said was leaving to lead the Mount Pleasant Central School District in Westchester, effective July 1.

Giarrizzo’s resignation and Dolan’s appointment were confirmed by the school board at their April 16 meeting, held in person with both men present and streamed online. Board president Dave Ludmar praised Dolan just before the board voted unanimously to install him.

“Everyone who meets you quickly understands, you’re kind, you’re smart, you’re honest, you speak from the heart,” Ludmar said. “Tom, you’re an educator to your core, you’re invested in the success of all of our learners. And that is part of what makes you such a great fit for North Shore, because you share the values that we share, as a community and as a school district.”

The incoming superintendent thanked the district and board.

“I’m humbled, and I am just so excited to get started,” Dolan said. “Well I’ve known the North Shore district for a long time. I’ve known them for at least 30 years, and I’ve done a lot more research in the last two weeks to learn even more about it, and every time I look at that web page, which I’ve been living on, I’m in awe. There are wonderful, wonderful things going on here. The word opportunity just leaps out every time that I look at it, and I can’t wait to add a little bit to that and work with some new colleagues.”

Dolan most notably served as the superintendent of the Great Neck School District from 2009 to 2015, and most recently as interim superintendent of the Locust Valley School District. He also led as superintendent of the Franklin Square Elementary District, was an assistant superintendent in the Manhasset and Sewanhaka school districts, and served as principal of Cold Spring Harbor Jr./Sr. High School and Franklin Square’s H. Frank Carey Jr./Sr. High School.

Prior to his retirement from the Great Neck schools, Dolan led Nassau Community College for a year as its interim president, and taught at Hofstra University, LIU-C.W. Post and Queens College.

Before entering administrative roles, Dolan taught social studies for 15 years at Canastota High School in upstate Canastota. He had graduated from Hamilton College in 1978 with a teaching certification and degrees in psychology and history, would receive a Master of Science from Queens College in 1983, and later received a doctoral degree in education from Hofstra University.

In addition to his educational service, Dolan is a board member of the Harry Chapin Foundation and the Cradle of Aviation Museum, and also works as a baseball umpire at the collegiate and high school levels.

“Dr. Dolan is not here to be a caretaker,” Ludmar said at the meeting. “This is not going to be a year of running in place. We are looking to see you continue to grow our schools, set lofty goals, communicate with the community and develop and strengthen the whole, North Shore team just around out what you do.”

The board president added that the district would be seeking a permanent superintendent at a later date and that he knew Giarrizzo was “committed to a smooth transition.”

“As we look forward to another superintendent search, which will again be driven by the input of our amazing and diverse community,” Ludmar said. “I am absolutely certain, and appreciative and thankful, that this board is more than up to the task.”

Dolan added that he and Giarrizzo had been friends for 20 years, and that he too expected a smooth transition.

“I know the transition is going to be a smooth one, I’m certain it is,” Dolan said. “But I’m very anxious to get that started and anxious to get underway.”

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