Monday, June 30, will be Todd Gulluscio’s last day as the director of athletics, physical education, health, wellness and personnel for the Sag Harbor School District.
Gulluscio, a native and resident of Shelter Island, has accepted and been approved for an administrative position in the Shelter Island School District and will begin that job on July 1. Prior to Sag Harbor, Gulluscio had worked in the Greenport School District, where he was employed for seven years, the final two and a half as athletic director.
Gulluscio, who was hired by Sag Harbor in January 2013, is the sixth different athletic director since Nick DeCillis’s departure in 2007. The list also includes Montgomery Granger, Wayne Shierant, Bill Madsen, Mike Burns and Dan Nolan.
On Friday, Gulluscio said his decision to leave was based solely on the fact that the new job will allow him more time with his family on Shelter Island, where they live.
“Reasons one, two, three, four and five are spending time with my wife and my kids,” he explained. “The position is a nice one, the title is a little different than I had here—it comes with a little bit of different responsibilities. But I’m going home to be with my family. My wife is a teacher in the district, my kids go to school there, and I never have to miss an event there.”
Gulluscio couldn’t quite say why his now former position within Sag Harbor has been a revolving door of sorts. Had it not been for the opportunity of going back home, Gulluscio said, he would have stayed in Sag Harbor for quite a while.
“Whoever walks into this situation is getting a gold mine,” he said. “The staff is great, the kids are excellent, the parents and the community are supportive.
“If I wasn’t going home, I wouldn’t be going anywhere,” Gulluscio added. “That’s the truth as I see it. I’m an East End guy, been out on the East End my entire life. Sag Harbor is a great place to visit and work.”
Some suggest, though, that the position of athletic director, and a few other administrative posts for that matter, in Sag Harbor have become a way to get either the same or a better administrative position in another school district.
“I think we’re a stepping stone, unfortunately,” Sag Harbor Board of Education member Sandi Kruel said. “I think Todd had every intention of being here for the long haul, but it’s strictly for personal reasons. He’ll be literally right across the street from the school, so I don’t think he didn’t like our job or school district.”
Kruel, who has numerous sons who play sports at Sag Harbor, suggested that the athletic director job needs to become a full-time position within the district, not one where the AD has to wear a number of different hats, like also overseeing the physical education department or buildings and grounds. Out of the 525 students at Sag Harbor, 80 percent compete in a sport. “That’s a huge number,” Kruel said. “How can you justify bringing someone to not only overlook all of the sports teams, but human resources and physical education teachers too? If the athletic director is spending 80 percent of his time strictly on athletics then I think we need to make a few tweaks to the position.”
Sag Harbor Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carl Bonuso—whose final day at the job is also June 30, with newly hired Superintendent Katy Graves coming in on July 1—said he didn’t have an explanation for why the athletic director position has been in flux for a number of years. Bonuso, who was only superintendent for the past two years following the retirement of Dr. John Gratto in June 2012, said it’s something that will have to be addressed.
“One of the things we’re working on is to recruit and retain quality people,” he said. “By sheer definition and size of our district, and being that we’re on the far end of the island, there are some challenges we have to face. I guess you could say, in some cases, that we’re starting 10 yards behind some of the school districts up the island.
“We have to try and show whoever is coming in that the quality of this community and school district is outstanding,” he continued. “That it’s worth some dollars, it’s worth some extra minutes getting here. And I think we’re beginning to show everyone that we are a quality district.”