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Story - Education

Mar 31, 2010 12:57 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Math program at heart of turmoil in Tuckahoe

Mar 31, 2010 12:57 PM

Tuckahoe School Superintendent Linda Rozzi’s abrupt resignation last spring after two of three members of the district School Board refused to offer her a contract extension set off a wave of conflict and interpersonal strife within the typically quiet school district that continues today. That strife has led, directly or indirectly, to an ongoing effort by a group of parents to force a vote that could dissolve the sitting School Board entirely.

Early on, School Board members refused to answer questions from angry parents about why Ms. Rozzi, who was with the district for nine years, didn’t get the contract extension. They said a legal agreement with her prohibited it.

But amid the turmoil that has embroiled the district in the months since—it reached a crescendo at an anger-filled board meeting in January—School Board Chairwoman Sharon Grindle has hinted at the reasons.

In a series of interviews in recent weeks, Ms. Grindle has confirmed that she and board member Susan Riccardi refused to offer a contract extension to Ms. Rozzi because, she claims, the popular administrator ignored an instruction from the board regarding the district’s eighth grade mathematics curriculum that left at least two years of matriculating students—Ms. Grindle’s son among them—at a disadvantage when they reached high school.

Ms. Gindle said Ms. Rozzi disobeyed two specific orders from the School Board during her final two years at the school to instruct eighth grade students at Tuckahoe using a math curriculum directed exclusively at the algebra Regents exam. Instead, Ms. Grindle claims, Ms. Rozzi instructed the eighth grade math teacher to use a curriculum geared toward the state assessment tests given in March for the first half of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years, and then to teach the Regents curriculum in the second half of those years.

As a result of what Ms. Grindle says were Ms. Rozzi’s instructions, at least two years of matriculating Tuckahoe students did not receive the full algebra course instruction and, despite largely passing the Regents exam, struggled with math during their first year of high school, because many of the math concepts taught in ninth grade lacked the necessary foundation.

Ms. Rozzi is vehement that she never gave instructions to former math teacher Marc Nardin, who died unexpectedly in January, that the eighth grade math curriculum be split in any year since New York schools returned to the regents system in 2007. She said that Tuckahoe’s students were being taught according to the Regents curriculum and that no instruction to prepare them specifically for the annual March state assessment test was made.

“The curriculum was the curriculum,” Ms. Rozzi said in an interview in March. “As administration, we supervised the math teacher, but that was the extent of it. There’s nothing that we told the teacher to do differently than what the curriculum told him to do. He was an outstanding teacher and he taught to the algebra curriculum.”

A Bitter Departure

Ms. Rozzi’s contract with Tuckahoe was due to expire in the summer of 2010, but she resigned in June 2009 and left the school in December. At a heated meeting last June, attended by nearly 100 residents and school faculty, Ms. Grindle and Ms. Riccardi refused to second a motion made by the third School Board member, Robert Grisnik, to offer Ms. Rozzi a two-year contract extension.

Ms. Rozzi initially submitted her resignation and said she planned to leave the district immediately, but after a torrent of pleas from parents and other school faculty and a closed-door discussion with school board members, she agreed to stay on for the first semester of the school year. Ms. Rozzi had been the Tuckahoe School’s principal and district superintendent since 2001.

The anger and resentment toward the board by some parents carried over at meeting after meeting through the summer and last fall. At a January board meeting a crowd of nearly 200 residents and district staff turned out to see if the board would address a petition from residents demanding that a referendum be held on dissolving the School Board, expanding it and holding new elections. Heated criticisms of the board—primarily aimed at Ms. Grindle and Ms. Riccardi—turned into a debate between board members and between parents on the future of the school.

Anthony Grimaldi, husband of former school board member Teresa Grimaldi, stood up for the board’s decision on Ms. Rozzi and hinted at the mathematics program connection—the first time the issue had been brought up publicly. The debate switched to the quality of the programming at the school, and Ms. Grindle began to explain the problems that she says she uncovered—though she never referenced Ms. Rozzi’s role specifically before being cut off by angry parents and teachers.

Mr. Grisnik, who has served on the Tuckahoe School Board for more than 25 years, said he could not discuss the circumstances surrounding the superintendent’s resignation or the reasons Ms. Grindle and Ms. Riccardi gave for refusing to renew her contract, because a clause in the agreement with Ms. Rozzi precludes board members discussing the issue. He said this week that Ms. Grindle was breaking that agreement by speaking publicly about it.

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After months of claiming that she cannot discuss personnel matters with the community, why would Sharon Grindle suddenly decide to do a series of interviews with the press???? Doesn't this go against the NYS board of education rules?
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Mar 31, 10 3:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Agreed! This is an attempt by Grindle to try to derail a legitimate petition to convert to a UFSD. Tuckahoe residents, even if you do not have kids in the school, you need to follow this debate and that regarding the budget which has increased drastically due to blatant mismanagement. Not just that, but what a one-sided article! As proof of what Grindle says you point to her former bff on the board Theresa Grimaldi and one other disgruntled parent? What about all of those kids from Tuckahoe ...more
By lablover (104), Southampton on Mar 31, 10 4:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow, once again Ms. Grindle proves why she is not fit to represent this district. As a parent who did not sign the petition for a union free school, let me say that I cannot wait to see this woman and her cohort removed from the board! She is a vindictive whiner whose personal agenda clouds every decision she makes. Oh yeah, and if you read the article in the press about Grindle's response to the petition you will see she actually quotes Mr. Grimaldi's mad ravings as proof of her assertions! ...more
By setyoufree (69), Sag Harbor on Mar 31, 10 5:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
I heard this a couple of months ago by some friends and was wondering when it was going to be investigated.

I heard it was a cover up about the Tuckahoe math program...I hope they do a full investigation.
By Bel (86), southampton on Mar 31, 10 10:45 PM
2 members liked this comment
Yes, their should be an investigation. An investigation into how the school board abused their power and allowed their child's poor performance in math to dictate policy for an entire school. This article makes it very clear that this whole issue was about Grindle and Grimaldi and their unholy obsession to avenge their childrens' test scores.

Grimaldi hand picked Grindle to continue her misguided policies and then Grindle hand-picked Riccardi to be her puppet. Ask yourself this - why ...more
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Apr 1, 10 8:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
After the investigation there should be a class action lawsuit against grindle for compromising the privacy of innocent families whose personal information was shared with this paper and thus the public
Then albany needs to terminate grindles position on board for blatant disregard for explicit rules meant to protect privacy of district employees. None of whom can now expect personnell files to be protected

This is a travesty undertaken solely out of self preservation and to the detriment ...more
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 1, 10 9:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Let me begin by stating that there are a lot of angry parents in Tuckahoe who rightfully so don't like the negitive association with our district. Now it is very important to understand that many of the parents writing here don't understand to depth of this situation. I understand you are all hearing a lot of hear say, but unless you have been effected by the poor administration practices which didn't provide proper oversight to all programs offered to all our students, then you wouldn't understand. ...more
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 1, 10 10:02 AM
It is evident that your child was one of those who can't cut the mustard! the school board needs to consist of nine members so your friends can not dictate policy based on their own personal issues. Those board members should have reclused themselves due to a conflict of interest. I'm rather surprised that they are not being sued!
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:33 PM
I would like to know how many students were at a disadvantage when they reached high school or was it just her son. Growing up I didn't blame my teachers for my learning disabilities, I worked harder. maybe she should do a little extra parenting at home like my mom did with me.
By Ryan (2), Southampton on Apr 1, 10 12:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
If 1 child was at a disadvantage that is not OK. There are standards and there is also below stard, yes if a child needs extra assistance it is the parents responsibility to make sure those standards are mett. We are talking an entire class that MUST meet everyday after school to take another math class teaching New topics. These kids are so far behind all they think about is math, you are kidding yourself if you think this is 1 child having a problem getting the concept. These kids were NEVER ...more
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 1, 10 1:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why don't they have core subjects everyday? What is wrong with this school?
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:35 PM
All these comments are fine - obviously the math program needs to be fixed and it sounds like it is being addressed. However, I raise the same question again..... why after months of claiming that she cannot discuss personnel matters, does Sharon Grindle decide to do a "tell all" series of interviews with the press divulging information about personnel and student acheivement? Is this allowable per the NSY board of education rules. Accordingly to what Mrs. Grindle has said in many many meetings, ...more
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Apr 1, 10 2:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
Please do not try and focus on the past at the expense of todays problem. And stop acting like you are the only person who has the big picture view here
Newsflash: the problem is being addressed. Now what? You have a rogue board president blabbing personal employment data to a newspaper!

Unless you haven't heard this is in clear violation of an entire host of state and federal erisa regulations, labor laws and a private legal agreement to which grindle herself refers. When the temptation ...more
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 1, 10 2:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
??"Newsflash: the problem is being addressed. Now what? You have a rogue board president blabbing personal employment data to a newspaper! " Are you kidding!!!
What really is the issue here!! The school, The board!! Math!! Laws!!
So many people have been at board meetings acting like unprofessional members of our community-screaming for months now at Ms. Grindle to give them information, now that she has given it, people are upset that she gave it?
Yes, the school has made a step forward ...more
By mychildmatters (70), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 1, 10 3:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
This Superintendant is hand picked by the board members who should no longer be board members. The bottom line is the school board needs to be nine members. This three member board reminds me of the disfunction in Albany where the three men in a box (Governor, Senate majority Leader, and Assembly majority Leader) decide our state budget evry year. Look where that has gotten the state. You have the same situation at Tuckahoe. I used to be a proud graduate of Tuckahoe. How the hell did it ever ...more
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:40 PM
So it appears we have struck a sore spot. You are missing the point once again. Or grimaldi/grindle are as the are obviously feeding you your lines. The parents requested this information prior to and during the proceedings that led to rozzi stepping down. At this point we have beaten this dead horse. And you appear to be the only on "yelling". Again, you are a lone voice here unless anthony grimaldi joins you with his phone number and derogatory lies
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 1, 10 4:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Apr 1, 10 10:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
You are kidding right? Use all the marxist jargon you want and be a poseur all you want but the appeal has been filed with the commissioner and we await approval for a referendum vote to convert the district. And you are being left in the dust with your name calling distorted views. You don't know what you don't know. Meow!
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 2, 10 7:12 AM
And is it a coincidence that I call out anthony grimaldi and lo and behold we have a new post complete with the required demeaning of women, aggressive nazi terminology and mad ramblings? Methinks not. "Ms obbservant".
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 2, 10 8:01 AM
1 member liked this comment

I was wondering how long it would take for the post deletion to happen but it was right on schedule! Everytime anything negative is written about one of the long time weekly advertisers in this paper, the post routinely gets deleted.

The integrity of the facts mentioned in my post regarding the critical events that have transpired in the last few months in Tuckahoe that has roiled this community cannot be challenged. But I guess business is business!
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Apr 2, 10 9:38 PM

I was wondering how long it would take for the post deletion to happen but it was right on schedule! Everytime anything negative is written about one of the long time weekly advertisers in this paper, the post routinely gets deleted.

The integrity of the facts mentioned in my post regarding the critical events that have transpired in the last few months in Tuckahoe that has roiled this community cannot be challenged. But I guess business is business!
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Apr 2, 10 9:38 PM
The post was deleted because it made a potentially actionable statement. You are welcome to repost your comments without that statement.
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on Apr 3, 10 3:34 PM
Hard to believe that you of all people are willing to trample the right of free speech!
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:42 PM
Tuckahoemom, did the article say "tell all" or did you just make that up?
Lablover, the board doesn't manage the school, so if "blatant mismanagement" is your issue, you need to look at those that are hired for that purpose - most board decisions are based upon the recommendations of the superintendent. Fcmcmann, if you were at the big board meeting in Feb. you would know that Ms. Grindle's kids were both valedictorians for their respective grades, so your insinuaton that her childs "poor performance" ...more
By flyonthewall (30), Southampton on Apr 2, 10 11:14 PM
Blatant Mismanagement I understand to mean their financial mismanagement. It is never wise to pay someone to not work, There is something like 100 or 200 thousand dollars added to this years budget for the super/ princ position (which now they are saying they are going to split) buying out the previous one's contract and paying the new one til the end of the year .
If i don't like the way my truck works, I don't pay to have it fixed then put it into storage and go rent a truck until i can get ...more
By frayman (10), southampton on Apr 3, 10 12:24 AM
Maybe not a coincidence that a board members kids were both valedictorians!
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:46 PM
I would opine that Mr. Grisnik is the most qualified, and competent person to run this show...
By Mr. Z (11561), North Sea on Apr 2, 10 11:45 PM
By the way, who is "frayman", and oddly, why does this persona have no comments?
Is this simply a case of a psuedoego?
By Mr. Z (11561), North Sea on Apr 3, 10 12:24 AM
Nah, I've been on the discussion board. Plenty of wild banter on there as well
By frayman (10), southampton on Apr 3, 10 12:27 AM
I have long heard that kids moving into the high school from Tuckahoe have been at a distinct disadvantage mathematically. They are roughly a grade behind. That needs to be corrected so that the kids do not have to play catch up, be tutored or take lower level math classes. Students should not end up taking 11th grade AP math in their senior year because they started high school behind all the other kids. Colleges are so competetive that every kid needs to be on the same level or they are not going ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Apr 3, 10 12:55 AM

Great. Let's have it your way. There is a horrible math problem. It needs attention. Lots of work needs to be done and poor sharon grindle is the only visionary in the district with the capability, internal fortitude and insight to fix it. Well great now she will be getting 2 more people at no cost to taxpayers to help her with this task. She should be thrilled. And because she is so critical and cherished it can only be concluded that she will be re-elected. Unless of course she is found ...more
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 3, 10 7:19 AM
Frayman, the split position still leaves only two top administrators, one superintendent and one principal. Currently there is one sup/principal and one asst principal. The board has stated repeatedly that they don't expect a budget increase for this, it's a structural change. I agree with the push for a union free school district, it just needs to be done for the right reasons (to add two members and not to install an entire new board in the middle of a school year) and in a manner that includes ...more
By flyonthewall (30), Southampton on Apr 3, 10 9:15 AM
Thanks for you opinion. And if you believe ed joseph on anything, I've got a bridge and some swampland to sell you.
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 3, 10 9:25 AM
The board has time and time again overstepped the bounds of what it is they were elected to do. Grindle and Grimaldi have personal vendettas. Grimaldi was a terrible board member who sent out a number of despicably racist emails to PARENTS who were appalled at such bias. Grindle supported her and Grimaldi still works from behind the scenes to prop up Grindle who, in turn, dictates to her puppet Riccardi. Anyone who says there is not personal bias on behalf of Grindle is lying or not paying attention. ...more
By setyoufree (69), Sag Harbor on Apr 3, 10 8:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Apr 5, 10 5:10 PM

setyoufree:"Apr 3, 10 8:37 PM
The board has time and time again overstepped the bounds of what it is they were elected to do. "

Instead of repetitive, unsubstantiated bellyaching, why don't you simply accuse this Board of specific actionable charges that you can bring to BOCES or the Dept of Education and be rid of them, instead of interminable moblike personal harassments trying to unseat duly elected officials who are there because they were democratically voted in by the Community?
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Apr 5, 10 5:10 PM
Dictate what?? That our school teach a course it was required to teach by NYS Dept of Education law?? You must be joking! You might think that it's ok to send your kid into high school with credit for a full year of a course they took for only 4 months, but it's not ok for my child. It's like pushing them on to multiplication when they hardly know how to add, and may set them up for years of stuggles and tears in high school unless you can afford private tutoring. Even the head of Southampton's ...more
By flyonthewall (30), Southampton on Apr 3, 10 9:28 PM
Man you guys and gals are amazing. You push and push Sharon Grindle to tell all about Linda Rozzi. She finally does and now you get on her case about breaching privacy rules (by the way I don't believe that this will be the case because the issue came up first by a member of the public in a public forum). But of course this petition about getting rid of the board. Not too transparent.

But here's the big thing. To all of you rose colored glasses wearing lovers of Linda Rozzi that kept ...more
By disappointedinsometuckparents (3), Southampton on Apr 4, 10 6:40 PM
Oh, please. Save your simplistic reverse psychology for your children,
By setyoufree (69), Sag Harbor on Apr 4, 10 10:30 PM
Really "setyoufree" reverse psychology, it has nothing to do with that, it's really just common sense.. If I were to hire someone for a job and googled them and read this comment board, I would think twice given all the controversy that was created time and time again by yourself, lablover & especially fcmcmann. You all are nothing but (in your own words) "vindictive whiners" who offer only complaints with nothing at all to back them up, except the fact that you obviously really don't like Grindle, ...more
By flyonthewall (30), Southampton on Apr 5, 10 10:35 PM
If I googled Rozzi and came up with this board what I would see is two or three "vindictive whiners" like yourself whose kids performed poorly in math. I would see the story of a school board gone bad, a school board supported by a vocal minority. Yeah, I don't like grindle, grimaldi and riccardi because they are bad for the school. Why don't you address some of the terrible things they've done? Rozzi was loved by a majority of teachers and parents while grimaldi's exit was met with applause ...more
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Apr 6, 10 8:20 AM
The alleged math problem and the new board are not mutually exclusive. This isn't about any past administrators. Stop it already you one trick pony simpletons. The facts are these. You will have a 5 person board by next school year. Grindle could and should get re elected to that board the will surely be capable of tackling any issue the current 3 person board faces. All the other stuff is moot. Your time would now be best served figuring out who your going to vote for.
By tuckahoetrip (46), Water Mill on Apr 6, 10 8:07 AM
I have heard of at least three very strong candidates that are running for the board to replace riccardi! I cannot wait to vote in a new member and to keep pushing for increased representation so that the future of our school can be discussed and not dictated by one person. To the future! (by the way, I am originally from Sag Harbor and that is why I identify myself as such)
By lablover (104), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 8:39 AM
Thank you lablover... this is the way we should all be thinking and trying to make a better future. Fix the math issues, create a bigger board and the school should be back on track. I think everyone will feel better once there is new, fresh perspective on the board. Having two women who always vote the same is not good, never has been good and creates a lot of mistrust. If you ask anyone following this story, even those not associated with the school, they all agree a five member board would ...more
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 10:09 AM
I don't see where anyone on this comment board disagrees about the 5 person board, I don't know why you guys keep harping on that. We just need to put in two more people, not to throw out the entire board as you guys wanted to do. Approaching the expanded board that way may possibly have given you a different reaction. As far as who to vote for, I think we need to wait until we know what the candidates stand for. As far as academics at Tuckahoe, our test scores have dropped steadily in recent ...more
By teachourkids (36), southampton on Apr 6, 10 7:14 PM
Nonsense. Test scores have NOT dropped steadily in past years and it is completely irresponsible of you to make such a generalized and false claim. This article is NOT about math scores, this article is about Grindle using math scores as an excuse. She is revealing personnel info she said was completely off limits. She has again proved herself to be a vindictive person willing to say and do anything.

As for the USFD, it would be three members, not two as, thankfully, Riccardi's term ...more
By lablover (104), Southampton on Apr 7, 10 11:16 AM
Please back up you assertion regarding a decline in test scores with actual proof. If you are unable to do so then you should recant. Very irresponsible of you, Sharon.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Apr 7, 10 3:04 PM
As a former student of Tuckahoe school, I am appaleed at the arrogance of this school board. It now appears that the school board's decision was soley based on personal reasons. The voters in tuckahoe need to demand a UFSD so their is a larger and more accountable board where one person can not rule with their own personal agenda. Ms. Grindle should be fired for her lack of ethics in this matter!
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:26 PM
You are right on, Walt. Ms. Grindle's unethical actions should lead to her immediate dismissal.
By lablover (104), Southampton on Apr 7, 10 11:16 AM
No school baord should be allowed to have so few members. This practice puts all the power into the hands of two people. I magine if the US Supreme Court had only three members?
By Walt (288), Southampton on Apr 6, 10 9:52 PM
It doesn't, and look at their recent decision regarding corporations having the same voice as you, or I.

Yep, we have SO far to go...
By Mr. Z (11561), North Sea on Apr 7, 10 1:54 PM
fcmcmann, the numbers are posted on the nysed website each year, I'm not sure how many years back they keep online, but I've been following it for more than a dozen years and my statement is a valid one. It's hysterical that you of all people ask for backup since most of what you write here, along with your 150+ comments on various other subjects are little more than insults, lots of name calling and your own personal opinion with little evidence provided for most of what you write. Sharon wouldn't ...more
By teachourkids (36), southampton on Apr 7, 10 8:45 PM
Those scores show a number of INCREASES over the last few years. Your statement is NOT valid. I have commented on Grindle's behavior and actions witnessed by many - no backup necessary. You've been following for more than a dozen years? Sorry, Theresa, but you are cherry picking. "You people" need to stop lying.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Apr 8, 10 10:38 AM
teachourkids, your posting is extremely misleading and unfair. If you look at the last available NYS School Report Card what you will see is the following increases in Tuckahoe's middle school:

Grade 6 up 2.8%
Grade 7 up 1.4%
Grade 8 up 727%

Why mislead? You and "your people" are desperately trying to make everything about the poor performance of some students in one grade. Why? Because you support Grindle and she has a personal grudge? She has treated her constituents, ...more
By lablover (104), Southampton on Apr 8, 10 3:50 PM
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