Recently appointed Northport-East Northport Superintendent Rob Banzer got a grand welcome to the district on Monday, as school officials showered the new leader with an evening full of music, speeches, cake and cheer.
Banzer walked into a decked-out cafeteria at the William Brosnan administration building on Laurel Avenue. The room was lined with posters created by students, which welcomed Banzer with phrases like, “Welcome to Northport, Come Visit Norwood” from the Norwood Avenue School, “We’re so happy to meet you!” from students at the Dickinson Avenue School and “Bellerose Welcomes Mr. Banzer.”
Members of the school board also attended. President Julia Binger and Vice President Andrew Rapiejko spoke before formally introducing Banzer. Binger thanked the district’s superintendent search committee and honored their work by handing one of its members, James Ruck, retired Sachem school district superintendent, a certificate of appreciation.
Rapiejko, who introduced Banzer, spoke about consensus. He noted that while the school board and district residents may not see eye-to-eye on everything, Banzer’s appointment came with a “degree of unanimity.” He described Banzer as “someone who will exercise firm, focused and compassionate leadership.”
When Banzer took the microphone, he spoke about the importance of seeing students not as where they are, but what they could be and gave a shout out to staff at Northport-East Northport who believed in him — people he said inspired him to become who he is today.
“In my role, my hope here is that every single child in the Northport-East Northport school district can tell that story that they are touched and they can be inspired by the staff — and it doesn’t just have to be teachers, it can be administrators — it can be anybody,” he said. “It can be food service workers, it can be custodians — anybody — that they, they feel inspired. And I see that as our role. My role as superintendent is to partner with our board of education, partner with the community, partner with the administration and the staff to make that a reality.”