IN HONOR OF THOSE COMMITTED TO SCHOOL DISTRICT AND PUBLIC EDUCATION , TENURE GRANTED AND RETIREES RECOGNIZED BY NORTH SHORE BOARD OF EDUCATION
June 25, 2014 -- This past Thursday evening, the North Shore Board of Education recognized faculty and administrators receiving tenure and paid tribute to three retiring teachers, the Sea Cliff School nurse, and two school board trustees.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Edward Melnick presided over the proceedings. He opened saying that "tenure at North Shore is a difficult thing to achieve." "We pride ourselves on keeping the best of the very best."
The principals of each of the district schools were then called up individually to speak about each member of the faculty and administration receiving tenure. (See list of those receiving tenure to the right)
In addition, warm words were spoken in honor of the two retirees who attended the event - Elementary School teacher JoAnn Miller, who served at both Glen Head and Glenwood Landing, and Leslie Sparozic who served as the nurse at Sea Cliff School for 29 years.
Outgoing school board members Tom Knierim and Amy Beyer were also recognized.
Speaking about Trustee Knierim, Trustee Toni Labbate said, "Tom has dedicated three years of his life to our community as trustee and we thank him for all of his knowledge, his education, his guiding us in the financial aspects of what we do." "He does it," she said, "because he loves students, he cares about students and he loves his community." (See Trustee Labbatte's full remarks below)
Mr. Knierim chose not to seek a second term in office because he and his family are moving out of the district. In his remarks, he said that in leaving the district, he appreciates the schools more than he ever had before, as he and his wife, Liz, who are moving back to New York City, look for schools for their children to attend. "There are few if any that can be compared to the community and the schools that have been created here," he said.
In his remarks honoring Trustee Amy Beyer, who had served on the board for 12 years, three of those as Board President, current Board President Herman Berliner,spoke of Ms. Beyer's ability to ask tough questions and build consensus. "Amy’s thoroughness, her commitment to thoughtful decision making, her probing questions and insightful comments always make a positive difference," he said. "I count on her and we all count on her to provide extensive value added regardless of the topics and issues under consideration. She has, in addition, the unique ability to bring individuals with divergent views together." (See Dr. Berliner's full remarks below)
Trustee Beyer then addressed the board and audience. She said she had served with 17 different Trustees over the course of her 12 years on the school board, and during that time learned the "importance of compromise and consensus," while standing up respectfully for what she believed in. "It is ok to disagree, as long as in the end you agree that it is ok to disagree," she said, "and find common ground." She disagreed that the job of a Board member is "thankless", saying "if I have done just one thing to make a positive difference, the job has not been thankless." Additionally, she said it has given her the "opportunity to know so many people in the community - our residents, our parents, our faculty, and our students."
Commenting on the challenges School Districts are facing with regard to the tax cap, the common core learning standards and high stakes testing, she said that she is "proud that North Shore has sustained or improved its position during these academically and financially challenging times." "Fortunately for us," she continued, "we have an incredibly talented and dedicated Superintendent and two incredibly talented and dedicated assistant superintendents - thank you Ed, Rob and Olivia for your very strong and wise guidance and leadership."
As she neared the conclusion of her speech, she offered some advice in school governance. "It is much much easier to make a popular decision that will solve an immediate problem that as a consequence may leave the larger looming more serious problem to a later time," she said. "The real challenge is to make an unpopular decision that sets the stage for a stronger future. No matter what your role is here please always make the thriving future for our students the priority." (See Trustee Beyer's full remarks to the right)
TRIBUTE TO AMY BEYER BY HERMAN BERLINER
"Our community is fortunate to have many intelligent, caring, dedicated individuals involved in the oversight of our schools. Here I am talking specifically about our teachers, administrators, staff, and my colleagues on the Board. But even on a very impressive Board, Amy Beyer stands out for the quality of her service, her length of service, her thoughtfulness, her total commitment to the education of all students, her intelligence, her patience, her hard work, her impressive knowledge base and institutional memory, and her willingness to always do what needs to be done and more. Furthermore, Amy is a great listener. She always listens, considers other views and then acts with integrity according to her conscience and beliefs, even if her position is not politically popular
"Amy has served for 12 years on our board and for three of those years she served as President. Prior to that time she was very involved with SEPTA. This is an unmatched record of service, commitment, and leadership. Amy was also instrumental in forming a working group of Trustees from multiple school districts, together with then County Executive Tom Suozzi to talk about state aid, mandate relief, districts sharing of goods and services as well as the sharing of important information. Our LAC group is an outgrowth of this working group.
"At every meeting whatever Amy’s role, Amy’s thoroughness, her commitment to thoughtful decision making, her probing questions and insightful comments always make a positive difference. I count on her and we all count on her to provide extensive value added regardless of the topics and issues under consideration. She has, in addition, the unique ability to bring individuals with divergent views together
"It has been Amy who has made an enormous positive difference and an enormously meaningful contribution to the Board day after day, year after year. And to demonstrate how we all agree regarding her contribution, we have the last three Board presidents ( of course, not including Amy ) – Tom Murphy, Igor Webb, and Carolyn Genovesi with us this evening to join with this Board and our community in saying a sincere and heartfelt thanks.
"Amy is a person for all seasons and as we look to the future challenges of the North Shore School District, I am pleased that Amy is still willing to help the Board and the Community in making sure we provide the best education possible for all our students. "
TRUSTEE LABBATE'S TRIBUTE TO TOM KNIERIM
- "It's interesting as I'm sitting here and watching all of our new teachers get their tenure and hear people speak about the qualities of caring about students and understanding what student needs are and this is what Tom has. Tom came to this position - a volunteer thankless position with no pay but he does it because he loves students, he cares about students and he loves his community.
"Tom has dedicated three years of his life to our community as trustee and we thank him for all of his knowledge, his education, his guiding us in the financial aspects of what we do because he comes from that financial field. I'm sad to say, I wish I was telling you that Tom was staying on the board with us but he's decided to move out of the community and leave us all alone with out him, but I can say enough about how much I thank him for his service.
"Tom was trained well - he came from the co-op and parents here who know about being a parent at the co-op, you know that lindy trains us well she trains us in how to serve our community and that's exactly what Tom did when he came to our schools, and I thank you Tom."
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Sara Dorfman-Masone, Special Education
Kathleen Festa, Math
Dana Francis, Science
Jennifer Fucich, Special Education
Christopher Gish, Special Education
Lauren Gotta, Special Education
Ashley Hassett-Bordes, Music
Kelly Indelicato, Teaching Assistant
Elliot Kaye, Director of Technology
Jenna Klein, Special Education
Lisa Kornberg, Business Education
William Madigan, Physical Education
Chris Marino, Assistant Director of Special Education-Secondary
Mark Mihopulos, Special Education
Jason Millard, Special Education
Lauren Mistretta, Science
Jeanette Sondo, Teaching Assistant
Brian Suhovsky, Teaching Assistant
Lisa Suau, Reading
Ericka Werbeck, Special Education
Chris Zublionis, Principal, Sea Cliff School
RECOGNITION OF OUT-GOING TRUSTEES
REMARKS BY OUTGOING TRUSTEE AMY BEYER
"I’ve sat at that table and listened as many trustees bid farewell over the years. In fact, I decided to count and realized that I served with 17 different Trustees over the years. I would like to thank each of them for their service and for helping me to be a better trustee myself. I particularly want to thank Tom Knierim and wish him and his family happiness and success as they embark on their new journey.
Through all of the late night debates and challenges, I learned the importance of compromise and consensus all while standing up respectfully for what I believed in. I learned that it is ok to disagree as long as in the end - you agree to disagree and find common ground. I learned that no matter what decision was reached, there would always be people not happy. I learned that I should never take anything said to me personally. I learned that sometimes transparency of the process may be more important than the end result itself. I learned that there are never just two sides to a story. I learned that no two people – no two students have the same needs. I learned that as representatives of a public school system, we are charged with educating a diverse population of students and that my job was to support the growth of each of those students by providing a diverse and effective range of opportunities.
That was one compromise I was not willing to make. I committed myself to protecting that.
Many have referred to the job of a BOE member as a thankless job – my response has always been – If I have done just one thing that has made a positive difference, the job has not been thankless. And, though the job may have sent me grocery shopping in different neighborhoods to avoid the crowds during contentious times, it has NOT been thankless.
I have enjoyed getting to know so many in our community – our residents, our parents, our faculty, our students. I tried to make myself accessible and am grateful to have had the opportunity to develop so many positive and productive relationships – many that I hope will continue.
School districts are facing increasingly difficult challenges - the tax cap, implementation of the common core learning standards and excessive high stakes testing.
I am proud that NS has sustained or even improved its position both educationally and financially during these very challenging times. Many of our neighboring districts have spent down their reserves, have significantly increased class sizes and downsized faculty and programs. We have not.
As I said before, I have served with 17 different trustees. While our boards have changed over the years our central administration has remained constant. Fortunately for us, we have an incredibly talented & dedicated Superintendent and 2 incredibly talented & dedicated Assistant Superintendents who have assembled their own very strong teams and have reliably guided each of the boards they have served to not only sustain but to strengthen our fiscal and educational health. Thank you Ed, Rob and Olivia for your very strong and wise guidance and leadership.
I’d also like to thank our unsung hero – Betty Ciampi. Not only is she the very busy secretary to our Superintendent, but she is also the District Clerk. She is responsible for maintaining all of the districts records and recording all minutes of the BOE meetings (amongst many other very important things). Most importantly, she keeps us all organized. If we ever need anything, Betty can find it and deliver it expeditiously - always with a smile. Betty, we don’t thank you enough, so I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge all that you do and thank you from the bottom of my heart!
And last but not least, I MUST thank my family. John, thank you for graciously allowing me to pursue my passion for these past 12 years. Thank you for showing up to be the peacekeeper & my bodyguard on several occasions. You helped keep me safe & sane and played Mr. Mom more than anyone should have to and you never seriously complained (at least I think you were joking!)
Lauren and Gregory, my two NS graduates – I know there were times when situations were difficult for you - as you and I navigated our roles. There were many times I had to walk that fine line of being both your mom and a board member. Difficult as it was, I hope that I was able to model for you the importance of giving service while balancing that with the importance of family.
I’d like to leave you all with one very important lesson I learned ….
There will undoubtedly continue to be difficult decisions ahead ….
It is much easier to make a popular decision that may solve an immediate problem but as a consequence may leave the looming, larger, more serious problem to a later time or group of people. The real challenge is to make an unpopular decision that sets the stage for a stronger future.
No matter what your role …. Please ALWAYS make the thriving future of our students your priority!!
Serving this community has been my privilege. Thank you!"