Though he will certainly be missed, his replacement may put the community at ease.
This summer, Bellport High School principal Tim Hogan announced his retirement after nine years seated, 42 with the district. Shortly after, assistant principal Erika Della Rosa was hired to fill his position.
Hogan was hired as a band teacher back in 1979, then as the band director, a position he held for 32 years, and spent one year as assistant principal before finally reaching principal in 2012.
“Whether it was my teaching career or administrative career, it was all about building relationships,” he said, proud of his time looking back. “I have nothing but fond memories of South Country. I have received far more from South Country than I have ever been able to give back.”
Though he had nearly submitted his retirement plans for the past three school years, he said that during the pandemic it just didn’t feel right to leave until things were more normal.
“We’re in a good place right now and Erika is taking over,” he said, confident of her and excited for South Country’s future. “She is very capable and we are in really good hands.”
In his retirement, Hogan plans to decompress for a year, play golf and visit his brother in Idaho to see Yellow Stone National Park, before possibly getting back into some consulting, music and sub work.
Della Rosa came to Bellport in 2012 after teaching at a private school, then in the Miller Place School District as a language teacher. She studied at the University of Rhode Island, majoring in Spanish and Italian and minoring in French. She went on to pursue her master’s at SUNY Stony Brook for administration. She is also a Sayville High School alumna.
During her time at Bellport, she was first a teacher for a year before becoming the summer school principal, a position she has since held for nine years. In 2014, she was hired as the assistant principal and now principal as of June 30.
“Tim Hogan left some pretty big shoes to fill,” she said, happy to get started. “He was the best mentor that anyone could ever ask for. I consider it a privilege to work under him for nine years. I have learned so much.”
What does she value most about her predecessor? His love and dedication to the community.
“It’s something that kind of flows over from him onto others,” she said, describing her pride in the community. “It was the sense of community that drew me to this position. I wasn’t looking to be principal anywhere else. I love this community, the families, the students and the staff. This is the only place I can see myself.”
Her goals as principal include restoring justice equity within the curriculum, improving student attendance and developing social-emotional support.
“I am most excited to have kids back in this building,” she added. “The last year was a roller coaster. I am looking forward to helping getting this building back to normal.”
"At South Country, talented people are our greatest resource. While we have some very talented people here, Mr. Hogan is certainly among our most talented," said superintendent of South Country Schools Dr. Joseph Giani. "Mr. Hogan has truly dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the children and the entire school community."
Though it could be tempting to keep your head down and get your work done, Giani said, Hogan always chose to look at what he could do to improve relationships with his faculty and staff, with and among his students, and ultimately the school community.
"A measure of success is leaving a place better than you found it," he continued. "South Country is without a doubt a better place because of Mr. Hogan, and the leadership he has provided during [his] 42 years of service."
As for the hiring of Della Rosa, Giani noted that he has always been impressed by her organizational skills, intelligence and focus.
"She is a proven leader with the interpersonal skills that have enabled her to work successfully with all stakeholders in our school community," he said. "She has reached the point in her professional career where her experience in education made her a clear choice for principal of Bellport High School."