New Liberty Central School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore says he has big plans to make the district the very best it can be. To accomplish this, Dr. Tornatore intends to personalize the education of all the children who attend our schools. He feels that every opportunity should be available for our students at Liberty.
“I want all 1,678 students to be able to develop goals in their lives and pursue them,” he said. “I want our students to have a voice. Learning is personal, and it is up to [the district’s administration] to remove barriers so that students can find what they are passionate about. I want the students to get up in the morning and want to come to a school that they feel supports their goals.” He believes that infusing technology in an effective manner provides the opportunity for our teachers to differentiate instruction in the classroom and for the students to view learning as an enjoyable experience.
Prior to joining Liberty, Dr. Tornatore worked in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District as the Director of Social Studies K-12. There, he worked closely with his team to update the K-12 curriculum to reflect New York State’s Social Studies Framework. Previously, he was the Administrator for Alternative, Adult and Community Programs within the Baldwin Union Free School District. He served as the Principal of Hastings Academy, the district’s alternative high school, where he raised the graduation rate for the students attending the program. He also revamped the K-12 medical homebound and suspension programs, Continuing Education, Driver Education, SAT Prep. and Saturday Night Alive programs.
Being an assistant superintendent has always been a goal, and Dr. Tornatore was willing to wait until the right job came along, he shared. Although he kept up with job postings, he said nothing quite felt right until he saw the opening for an assistant superintendent in Liberty.
“When that position became available, I knew it was right,” he said. “It was a good fit for my skill set, and it was the right community. It’s been wonderful getting to know the administrators and staff and students and their families.”
Dr. Tornatore was one of 11 applicants for the position, and a screening committee started the process last fall by narrowing the candidates down to two. In October, the district’s board of education had interviewed both candidates before deciding to hire Dr. Tornatore.
“The board of education and interview committee appreciated Dr. Tornatore’s knowledge of curriculum as well as his humanistic approach to encourage everyone to build upon their strengths,” Interim Superintendent of Schools Carol Napolitano said. “He truly believes that the students’ education is extremely important. With only a few weeks on the job, he has already been visible at student meet and greets, concerts and community meetings.”
Dr. Tornatore says that his goal is to get a feel for what the school community is seeking from the district and to have lots of conversations with administrators, teachers, students and parents about what the next five to 10 years look like at Liberty Central School District.
“I think that’s where we start engaging the community,” he said. “By talking to parents, students, teachers, administrators, business leaders and stakeholders – and hearing what they want for the future of Liberty.”
One of the first things that Dr. Tornatore did in his new role was hold a meet and greet with students at all the schools. He met with and spoke to students about their educational goals and encouraged them to think about the things they’d like to see implemented in order to help them succeed in school.
“I have an open door policy,” he told students. “I want you to know that you have a voice in your educational process. It takes time and effective planning to build trust and growth, but that is what I’m here to do.”