The Sewanhaka Central High School District renewed Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie’s contract for the next five years at a recent board meeting. Ferrie will receive no pay increase in 2014-15 at a $238,000 salary. The contract expires on June 30, 2019.
“You can’t get [work] done without a unanimous board,” Ferrie said. “This board took a leap of faith with the program plans for the district. We also have an excellent team [of administrators]. That’s an awesome team.”
The contract, according to school board president Dave Fowler, will pay Ferrie $4,500 raises in 2015-16 and 2016-17, bringing his yearly gross to $247,000. He can’t receive any less in 2018 or 2019, but there’s no guarantee of salary increases. Fowler called the final piece of the deal “mutual.”
“[Dr. Ferrie] was the one who said ‘I’m going to take a zero this coming year’ because he wants to set the tone because it’s difficult to give out raises every year,” Fowler said. “He wanted to keep raises to less than two percent.”
Ferrie came to Sewanhaka in 2011, succeeding Warren Meierdiercks, who retired after 37 years working in various district positions. Ferrie held the same position in Absecon, N.J. in the Monroe Township School District and Three Village School District in Stony Brook.
“We interviewed eight or nine candidates to replace [Meierdiercks],” Fowler said. “Even from the first interview, Dr. Ferrie stood out with the idea and vision of moving district forward not only in facilities but with curriculum.”
Fowler said Ferrie’s background in facilities work is what set him apart from other candidates. Ferrie recently spearheaded the district’s first bond referendum, which failed last December, before passing in May on Budget Vote/Election Day.
“The personnel Dr. Ferrie has brought in…I want them and him here for the long-term,” said Fowler. “We’re hopeful that this will allow us to complete the capital projects we envisioned and for Dr. Ferrie to be here to see it come to fruition.”