The Locust Valley Central School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Kurt Simon as Principal of Locust Valley Elementary School, including Ann MacArthur Primary School and Locust Valley Intermediate School. Mr. Simon will replace Dr. Sophia Gary who retired in June and will work in collaboration with Assistant Principal Adam Javidi.
Mr. Simon was one of 80 applicants for the position, nine of whom were invited to interview with Superintendent of Schools Kenneth E. Graham, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Anthony Davidson and Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs and Human Resources Toni Meliambro. They recommended four candidates to move forward in the interview process and meet with a hiring committee comprised of teachers, administrators and parents who asked detailed questions requiring thorough answers.
The committee recommended two candidates to prepare a sample opening day faculty meeting presentation, reviewed by Dr. Graham, Mr. Davidson and Ms. Meliambro, who also interviewed the two finalists again, asking follow-up questions and gathering more detailed information to assess how successful each candidate would be in the position.
Mr. Simon has spent 17 years in the Cold Spring Harbor School District, serving in two elementary schools as assistant principal and principal and then as the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. While Mr. Simon said he enjoyed his position as assistant superintendent, he realized that his passion lies within the walls of the school buildings, working directly with students, faculty and families.
As a building principal, Mr. Simon led his school to earn the Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence, an honor bestowed by the United States Department of Education upon a small percentage of high-achieving schools. He was also at the helm when his school was recognized as a New York State Reward School for five consecutive years.
Mr. Simon earned his school district leadership certification from Long Island University, a Master of Arts in educational leadership and a Master of Arts in early childhood and elementary education from New York University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from University of Maryland. He is in the process of earning a Doctor of Education from New York University.
Mr. Simon’s desire to return to the role of elementary school principal demonstrates his enthusiasm for being in the thick of things with the students and staff. His extensive experience in the K-5 arena will benefit those students and staff. He promotes an open-door policy, making himself available to listen and support students, staff and families.
“I believe Mr. Simon’s experience coupled with his professional philosophies make him an ideal candidate to lead the Locust Valley Elementary Schools,” Dr. Graham said. “He will quickly assimilate to the culture of our community, and we look forward to welcoming him on Aug. 3.”