Tags Posts tagged with "Administration"


President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education Betsy DeVos has been met with opposition from North Shore educators. Photo from Senate committee website

Many North Shore superintendents and educators are concerned with President Donald Trump’s (R) nominee for secretary of education: Betsy DeVos, chairman of The Windquest Group, a privately-held investment and management firm based in Michigan, to serve as secretary of education. According to her website, the Michigan resident has a history in politics spanning more than 35 years. She was elected as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party four times, and worked in a leadership capacity for campaigns, party organizations and political action committees, her website states.

DeVos went before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for a confirmation hearing Jan. 17.

“Any programs and initiatives that attempt to weaken public education by diverting funds away from it … do not have my support.”

—Paul Casciano

“I share President-elect Trump’s view that it’s time to shift the debate from what the system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve,” DeVos said during her opening remarks at the hearing. “Why, in 2017, are we still questioning parents’ ability to exercise educational choice for their children? I am a firm believer that parents should be empowered to choose the learning environment that’s best for their individual children. The vast majority of students in this country will continue to attend public schools. If confirmed, I will be a strong advocate for great public schools. But, if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child — perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet — we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative.”

DeVos’ views on public education created a stir around the country, and superintendents from the North Shore and county as a whole joined the chorus of those skeptical about the direction she might take the country’s education system.

“I have devoted my entire adult life to public education and believe it is the bedrock of our democracy,” Port Jefferson school district Superintendent Paul Casciano said in an email. “Any programs and initiatives that attempt to weaken public education by diverting funds away from it or that offer alternatives that are not subjected to the same strict standards and scrutiny that public schools must live by, do not have my support.”

Kings Park Superintendent Tim Eagen echoed many of Casciano’s concerns.

“I find President Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to be unacceptable,” he said in an email. “Education in this country is at an important crossroads. As an educational leader and parent of two public school students, it is my goal to provide our children with a globally competitive, rigorous, relevant and challenging education that will prepare them to be active, contributing members of society.”

“As an educational leader and parent of two public school students, it is my goal to provide our children with a globally competitive, rigorous, relevant and challenging education.”

—Tim Eagan

Eagen also has concerns about DeVos’ qualifications.

“I believe that Betsy DeVos is unqualified to run the U.S. Department of Education,” he said. “She is a businesswoman and politician without any experience in public service or public education. She does not have an education degree, has no teaching experience, has no experience working in a school environment, never attended public school or a state university, and did not send her own four children to public school.”

Middle Country Central School District  Superintendent Roberta Gerold stressed that she does not support the appointment of DeVos, stating that she believes all of DeVos’ actions to date evidence a lack of support for, and understanding of public education.

“I was disappointed with her answers during the hearing – she didn’t appear to do much, if any, homework,” Gerold said. “She couldn’t seem to, for example, understand or explain the difference between growth and proficiency — very basic concepts. And her answer to whether guns should be allowed in schools — please.”

The superintendent said, though, that she is most disappointed that DeVos would even be considered for the position.

“It seems clear to me that this is purely a political appointment, not an appointment that recognizes merit or values authentic education,” Gerold said. “John King — who I don’t believe was a great champion of public education, at least had credentials that deserved respect. The new nominee does not. It’s worrisome and disconcerting….and insulting to the public education system, K–12 and beyond.”

She said her teachers, several who are community residents, are preparing a petition that requests the board of education adopt of resolution in opposition to the appointment.

“I was disappointed with her answers during the hearing – she didn’t appear to do much, if any, homework.”

—Roberta Georld

“I believe that our board will be supportive of that request,” she said. “I know that our board president is in agreement with opposing the nomination.”

The Miller Place school district’s administration and board of education drafted and passed a resolution opposing DeVos’ appointment. Superintendent Marianne Cartisano addressed the appointment in an open letter on the district’s website.

“Our concerns are twofold,” she said. “The first reservation we have is regarding the candidate’s lack of first-hand experience as an educator or administrator within the public school system. Since the majority of the children in the United States are currently being educated within the public school system, we feel that this experience is very important for an effective Secretary of Education.”

Cartisano elaborated on her other issues with DeVos.

“Her record also shows a clear bias towards private, parochial and charter schools and the use of vouchers to attend these schools,” Cartisano said. “This bias leads us to our second overarching concern with Betsy DeVos as a candidate for Secretary of Education. The concern is that Betsy DeVos has been a strong advocate for the use of public funds to attend private schools through vouchers, and this would have a direct negative impact on our public school system’s fiscal stability if it is put into effect on a national level.”

The committee will vote to either approve or deny DeVos’ nomination Jan. 31.

Victoria Espinoza and Desirée Keegan contributed reporting.

Across from left, Adele Cullen, Peter Desjardins, Marie Moran and Rachel Ndembera will take on new administrative roles in Middle Country Central School District. Photos from Middle Country school district

Middle Country Central School District announced that four new administrators have joined the district staff this fall.

Adele Cullen will serve as Coordinator of PPS/Special Education in Secondary Education, Marie Moran will serve as Coordinator of PPS/Special Education in Elementary Education, Peter Desjardins will serve as Coordinator of District Data Services and Rachel Ndembera will serve as Coordinator of Science/Research K-12.

“It is with great pride that we welcome these four dedicated administrators to our district,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roberta Gerold said. “We continuously strive to bring the best experiences and support to our students throughout their educational careers, and these new members of our team will help achieve this goal.”

Adele Cullen attended Touro College, where she earned her Master of Science in School District/School Building Leadership. As a school psychologist at Newfield High School, she has positively affected innumerable students the past six years, and will continue to do so as she brings her passion and keen understanding of students’ strengths and needs to the team of administrators.

Marie Moran graduated from Hofstra University with a Master of Science in Special Education and holds an Advanced Graduate Certificate in School Building Leadership from Queens College. She gained experience as a special education coordinator at a K-8 school district in Queens before she joined Middle Country’s administrative team. Moran is passionate about providing high quality special education and is committed to supporting the needs of all students.

Peter Desjardins will be responsible for utilizing student data to aid teachers in providing individualized instruction to students. He graduated cum laude from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science Education, and gained his master’s in Liberal Arts from Stony Brook as well. Desjardins plans to use his experiences as a student data expert at Eastern Suffolk BOCES to provide a one of a kind learning experience for Middle Country students.

Rachel Ndembera earned a degree in Geology and Astronomy from the University of Colorado in Boulder and served in the Peace Corps, during which time she worked with Botswana’s Ministry of Education Department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation. There she oversaw the design and implementation of a curriculum program in Molepolole, one of Botswana’s largest villages. She hopes to continue assisting students make sure they have the necessary tools to achieve a high-quality research education.

For more information about academic programs available within the Middle Country school district or a calendar of events, visit www.mccsd.net. For more news from the district, visit www.mymiddlecountryschools.net.

Huntington High School. File photo
Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith are the new assistant principals. Photo by Darin Reed
Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith are the new assistant principals. Photo by Darin Reed

On July 7, the Huntington school board appointed three new faces to serve in administrative roles at different levels. The meeting took place at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium and ended with the appointment of Kathleen Acker, Joseph DiTroia and Gamal Smith as superintendent and assistant principals, respectively.

According to a press release, trustees approved the appointment of Acker who will serve as the superintendent for finance and management services for the Huntington school district’s administrative team. Before joining this team, Acker was a business education teacher for six years at Walt Whitman High School. Since 2010, Acker was also the high school’s principal.

But before she was in charge of overseeing 250 Walt Whitman staff members and nearly 1,900 students, Acker was the school’s assistant principal for six years. She attended Long Island University Post, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in management. She then attended Stony Brook University for her Master of Science in technological systems management. Acker, who will assume the appointed position on Aug. 3, also has an advanced graduate certificate for school district administration, which she received while attending Stony Brook.

Acker will replace Sammy Gergis starting Aug. 3 and receives a salary of $185,000 for this position. Acker is up for tenure Aug. 3, 2019.

Both DiTroia and Smith will serve as assistant principals at Huntington High School and assumed their positions on July 8. Both individuals will receive a salary of $137,041. DiTroia will also handle master scheduling duties. According to Jim Hoops, public information coordinator for Huntington school district, the assistant principal who handles those duties are required to work 10 extra days in addition to the normal school year workdays. While Smith is not replacing a current faculty member, DiTroia will replace Brenden Cusack, according to a Huntington school board meeting agenda.

Kathleen Acker will be the school’s new assistant superintendent for finance. Photo by Darin Reed
Kathleen Acker will be the school’s new assistant superintendent for finance. Photo by Darin Reed

For DiTroia, life before Huntington High School included serving as a teaching assistant for two years at Plainedge High School. For nine years, he was also a social studies teacher at William Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School in Brooklyn, followed by becoming the dean of discipline. His accomplishments include serving as the dean of students and positions as the assistant principal of Alfred G. Berner Middle School in Massapequa and North Babylon High School, respectively.

DiTroia received a Bachelor of Arts in history while attending the University of Delaware. He also acquired a Master of Science in secondary education from Queens College.

Smith attended Clarkson University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in biology and premedicine. He attended Mercy College and obtained a Master of Science.

Before the board appointed him as one of the assistant principals, Smith worked at Richmond Hill High School as a teacher and lab instructor. While working at John Adams High School, Smith served as the dean of students. He was also the assistant principal at John W. Dodd Middle School and PS 212 in the Bronx.

Smith held the positions of assistant principal and science department chairman at Dr. Richard Izaquierdo Health & Science Charter School, was a science teacher and the dean of students for PS 254, and the principal of Nassau BOCES Positive Alternative Twilight High School.

DiTroia and Smith could not wait to get to work, as they began familiarizing themselves with the high school as well as Huntington faculty and staff members only several hours after the board appointed them to assistant principal positions. DiTroia and Smith are both up for tenure July 8, 2019.