Tuckahoe School Principal Arlette Sicari will serve as acting superintendent during Mr. Lucera’s voluntary leave of absence, the district announced Monday.
In a letter to the community posted on the district’s website, tuckahoecommonsd.com, School Board Chairman Dr. Daniel Crough wrote that the legal proceedings surrounding Mr. Lucera’s arrest were adjourned until December 23 and, as the case proceeds, the district “will take appropriate action.”
In the meantime, “the Board will take the steps necessary to make Arlette Sicari, our principal, acting superintendent,” the chairman stated.
“This is an unfortunate situation for the school and a difficult time for all parties involved,” he continued. “The Board is taking this issue very seriously. An essential component of that is not being rash, especially in the setting of such an emotionally charged issue.”
Dr. Crough said that the district’s legal counsel, Mary Anne Sadowski at Ingerman Smith LLP, has been guiding district officials in handling the situation.
“It allows Mr. Lucera the time to focus on the legal issues at hand and the school the time and space to focus on the needs of the students,” he said of the superintendent’s choice to temporarily step away from his position, which he explained was done “in an effort diminish the press’ attention to our school and students.
“This school was not built to be a fearful or angry place. It was founded on optimism and has been operated with love for many years,” Dr. Crough wrote. “We will stick to our principles and Tuckahoe will continue to be a great place to learn.”
Tuckahoe Superintendent Dean Lucera will take a voluntary leave of absence from his position following his arrest late last month.
School Board Chairmain Dr. Daniel Crough said in an email Friday evening that the superintendent will take the voluntary leave of absence “to give attention to his legal matters.”
On Thursday, Dr. Crough had also said in an email that the School Board has been coordinating with its legal counsel, as well as Mr. Lucera, to address the arrest.
“We stand by our core values of giving the children of our community the best we have to offer, working together in the school and in the community, and treating all individuals with respect and dignity,” Dr. Crough wrote.
Mr. Lucera was arrested by Southampton Town Police November 21 and charged with third-degree criminal mischief, a felony, as well as second-degree harassment, a violation, after what police described as a “domestic dispute” with a female that resulted in a damaged door. The female had alleged in a sworn statement to police that, during the argument, Mr. Lucera had grabbed her face and spit on her.
Mr. Lucera, who was hired by the Tuckahoe School District in September and began his superintendent position in October, is represented by Holtsville-based lawyer Tor Jacob Worsoe Jr., who could not be immediately reached for comment.