By: Gwenyth Davey
On Friday, December 10th, 2021, Dr. Ianni agreed to sit down with The Harbour Voice to reflect on his achievements in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District since he started as superintendent in January 2021. While speaking with Dr. Ianni, he highlighted his creativity in crafting solutions when faced with obstacles to his goals. Specifically, he pointed to the necessity for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking when planning to update our school facilities, while also dealing with a tax cap that limits the funds available to do so. One thing that was made crystal clear is Dr. Ianni’s dedication to the students of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District and his determination to provide them with everything they need to find great success. Learn more about Dr. Ianni and all he has done for the school district below:
How did you decide that you wanted a career in education?
I was in NYU, and I was studying mathematics, and I didn’t really have an idea that I was going to go into education. I was
going more into financial analysis, you know, that kind of route. But then there was a program that opened at NYU, and I received a scholarship for it, and part of the agreement was that I would teach for a year at a school. After that, I fell in love with teaching, and that’s how I ended up staying and never pursuing a career in finance.
What made you want to work here in Oyster Bay?
Well, I knew of Oyster Bay because I live nearby, in Plainview. I was familiar with Oyster Bay’s great reputation. I wanted to work here because the atmosphere reminded me of the town in Italy where I grew up. My town was also right on the water in the south of Italy. It was a small community, and everybody knows each other and helps each other, just like here in Oyster Bay.
So, now that you have been working here for a little while, what do you think of our district so far?
The thing that impresses me the most are the students. They are kind, they are smart, they are creative, and they are resilient. They just keep going and it’s just a pleasure to be around them.
What are your favorite parts of the job?
I really enjoy being around the students, either by visiting the schools or through attending sporting events. One of the first times that I came to Oyster Bay was to attend a sporting event. The next day a student came up to me and thanked me for attending the game.
I also enjoy the creativity of when you’re working on the budget and all the things that we do. The best part of my job is to find a creative way to get something done.
Since you mentioned the budget, I know the bond proposal just passed and it will fund various improvements to our schools. How did you decide which areas to focus on for improvement?
If you look at our high school, it’s an historic building that was built many, many years ago. You have to find a way to make the inside of the building ready for the 21st century. It is like you want to combine the two by building and renovating to include new, modern enhancements without losing the historical charm of how the building looks.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced when you were putting the bond proposal together?
One of the biggest obstacles is inflation, which affects our costs. We cannot raise the school tax by more than 2% because of a tax cap. But when you look at the cost of living, it’s growing at a faster rate, and all of the expenses that we have, they’re growing faster than 2%. This causes a gap between the money we can bring in through taxes and how much it costs to run our schools. We have to find a creative way to reallocate resources so that we can provide the students with the support that they need.
What has been your proudest accomplishment so far at Oyster Bay?
I am proud of the way that I have integrated myself into the community by attending various community events. But, I think that the one thing that makes me most proud is that I’m recognized for the care and support that I give to the students and the community.
Just one final question for you. What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
My goal, my vision, is to make every child that leaves these walls feel ready and prepared for the next step. Whatever that next step is. College, work, military, or anything. At the end of the day, students leaving the high school, either this year or ten years from now, will look back and say, “I received the education I needed to excel.”
The Harbour Voice thanks Dr. Ianni for his time and for all he does to ensure the highest quality education for all students in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district!
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