The 5-square-mile hamlet of Elwood is known as a tight-knit community with a strong sense of heritage and pride. So, when Kenneth Bossert joined the Elwood school district, four years ago, to take over as superintendent, he wanted to bring that sense of closeness to the district community as well.
In those four years he has done just that, and so much more.
“He has such a dynamic personality, he has made a lasting impact in the community,” Heather Mammolito, district board of education member and Elwood resident said.
Mammolito said before Bossert took over, the district was in a weird place, with a lot of administrative turnover.
“The goal was to bring someone that could rein everyone back in, and that’s what we did,” she said. “I haven’t seen a greater sense of pride in the district community in a while.”
The board member said Bossert’s presence at the district has already paid dividends.
Last year, Elwood-John H. Glenn High School was designated as a National Blue Ribbon school, which was a huge honor and designation for the district. His other accomplishments include the creation of the Elwood school district Wall of Fame, which honors people who have made a mark on the community before the homecoming football game. He’s opened board of education subcommittee meetings to the public. Under his leadership the district has seen significant increase of reading and writing scores. He also hosts roundtable talks with John Glenn seniors.
“I feel like he has really started a domino effect … he knows how to work with people, it is infectious,” Mammolito said. “It starts from the top, it has been a culture shift.”
She said Bossert makes sure every staff member feels accepted and welcomed and is very approachable.
“He is really present, he goes above and beyond. He makes it a point to get out of his office and visit every building in the district, every classroom,” Mammolito said.
In April, Bossert was elected to the Executive Committee of New York State Council of School Superintendents. He has also been past president of the Suffolk County School Superintendent’s Association and a member of the Suffolk Superintendent’s Legislative Committee. Over the years, Bossert has worked in the Middle Country, Longwood, Eastport-South Manor, Three Village and Port Jefferson school districts.
Ronald Masera, superintendent of Center Moriches School District, has known Bossert for more than 20 years. They were both in the same Stony Brook University educational leadership program.
“Very early on you could tell he was one of those individuals that had that presence and insight,” he said. “He has always been an engaged and committed person.”
After completing the program, the duo went on to work as assistant principals in the Longwood school district.
“He just hasn’t been a colleague of mine but a friend as well over the years; this job can be a little isolating with a network of people you trust,” he said. “He’s one of the first people I reach out to if I have an issue or question and we text back and forth.”
Lars Clemensen, superintendent of schools at Hampton Bays, had similar sentiments to say of Bossert.
“He is my top go-to person to reach out whenever I have a question,” the superintendent said.
He said Bossert is a student-first and community-oriented administrator.
“He really looks at the big picture and tries to do the best he can for the public,” Clemensen said. “It is not surprising to hear of he’s been able to build at Elwood.”
The Hampton Bays superintendent said as they both became parents over the years they become close friends and is proud of the work Bossert’s been able to accomplish.
“He has that gene, whenever he walks into a room he is seen as a leader,” Clemensen said. “When you are a superintendent you are the face of the school … he has done great work and the community is proud.”