Wednesday, 21 August 2013 00:00
Assemblyman Tom McKevitt recently joined local leaders and residents on Aug. 10 at the Farmingdale Public Library to honor Louise Cassano, Margaret Santer, Jessica Koenig, Laurie May, Tina Diamond, Deborah Canova, Millie Jones, Carol Muscarella, Laurie Rozakis, and Barbara Sherwin, residents of the 17th Assembly District at the annual “Women of Distinction” Awards. Each year, McKevitt recognizes women throughout his district that have demonstrated an exceptional impact on their communities and the lives of others through their commitment service.
“I have been immensely fortunate during my time in the Assembly to have met countless women whose work has enriched our lives and communities, but too often their contributions have gone unnoticed,” said McKevitt. “The ‘Women of Distinction’ event affords our community the chance to thank these women and recognize them for their dedication and efforts to make a lasting difference in the lives of others. The accomplishments of these women embody a shining example for all to follow.”Massapequa American Legion Post 1066 served at the Color Guard for the ceremony. Barbara Sherwin directed Alexis Adams, Kathryn Davison, Lillie Renck, Ashley Soliwoda, Kaitlyn Sidoti, Emily Rail, Katie Crawford, and Lauren King of the Seaford Middle School Woodwind Ensemble, who performed for the ceremony guests.
The women honored were selected based on their accomplishments in the fields of business, community and civic affairs, education, government, health care, humanitarianism and military service.
Laurie May spent many years dedicating herself to improving the education system for her children and this passion has become her life’s work: ensuring children throughout New York State receive the education they deserve.
May, a native of Levittown and a resident of Westbury for 35 years, has been involved with the PTA for over 25 years, starting with her children’s elementary school, Meadowbrook School, in the East Meadow Union Free School District.
May has served in many positions in the PTA, including unit president and council president. She is currently serving in her second year as the Nassau Region PTA director, which has over 88,000 members comprising 330 PTA units across Nassau County. As regional director, May also serves on the NYS PTA Governance Team.
May has been recognized for her work by receiving the NYS PTA Honorary Life Award three times; the National PTA Lifetime Achievement Award, the PTA’s highest honor; and the Nassau Region PTA Caroline Fiori Leadership Award.
Although the PTA has been her passion, May has also worked for entities such as TWA Airlines; Action Fitness, a successful fitness supply company; and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa.
When she is not working or preparing for or attending PTA meetings or workshops, May can be found at the beach. She is married to Robert and they have three children, Gregory, Jeremy and Brianna.
It can simply be said that Tina Diamond’s heart resides in Farmingdale. Diamond grew up in Farmingdale, attended schools and raised her family there. After high school, Diamond attended Hofstra University, majoring in journalism. She became the associate editor of the Oceanside Beacon and a feature writer for the South Shore Record. She then moved on to Arrow Electronics, becoming their transportation manager for the global economy.
In the 1990s, Diamond became a leader in the local PTA. Her experiences in education led her to run for the position of Board of Education Trustee in the Farmingdale School District, a position to which she served from 1999 to 2013. As a board member, she has served on the Policy Committee, Safety Committee, Legislative Action Committee, NYS School Board Association State Legislative Network & the Nassau/Suffolk School Board Association, to name but a few. Her advocacy for the students of the district and the Long Island area led her to be selected as one of seven school board members statewide to assist in formulating a resolution “School Property Tax Relief.” In 2013.
Diamond has volunteered her time with Project Home, the Concerned Citizens of Farmingdale, the Chamber of Commerce, Community Summit, Farmingdale Breakfast Rotary, SEPTA and other local civic and education associations. Diamond is married to Robert and they have a son, David.
Deborah Canova of North Massapequa is a shining example of service to others and has been from an early age. While attending Howitt Middle School, Canova was often called upon, by teachers and guidance counselors, to speak to and counsel students who were have difficulties in their daily lives. The kindness to and consideration she showed for her fellow students culminated in her election as president of her class in her senior year of high school.
While attending college at New York Institute of Technology, Canova, at age 19, decided to join the North Massapequa Fire Department. After a short time, she trained for the job of engineer of the ladder truck. She garnered the respect of the firefighters in the department. This respect led to Canova being elected to the position of lieutenant of Ladder Company #1. She is currently captain of Ladder Company #1. Canova has made North Massapequa Fire Department history by becoming the first female captain in its nearly 80 years of existence.
The fire department has been good to Canova in other ways, too. That is where she met her husband, Sal, who today remains a volunteer in the department.
Canova is a teaching assistant at the Town of Oyster Bay Pre-School. Canova’s firefighting duties have been curtailed for the moment, as she and her husband are expecting their first child in the fall. In the meantime, she continues to assist the community, the fire department and those less fortunate seeking help and assistance.
“I don’t have a dis-ability, I have a different ability.”-Robert M. Hensel. In her personal and professional lives, Carol Muscarella understands the truth expressed in that statement.
Inspired by her nonverbal, developmentally disabled sister, Muscarella chose a career in speech and language pathology, attending Nassau Community College to obtain her Associates Degree, then Hofstra University on an academic scholarship, where she earned her Bachelors Degree in Speech and Language Therapy. After graduating, she began working as a speech therapist at the Association for Children with Down syndrome. At the same time, she pursued her Masters Degree in speech and language pathology at Hofstra, earning her degree in 1980. Working with students diagnosed on the autism spectrum led Muscarella to her career in the public school system. After stops at various school districts on Long Island, Muscarella found a home in the Plainedge School District as a speech/language teacher.
She assisted in developing a district-wide program for students on the autism spectrum and helped coordinate the program. Subsequently, Muscarella became the chairperson for the committees on special education and preschool special education. During this time, she earned her certification in school district administration from LIU/C.W. Post. As principal of John H. West Elementary School, since 2006, Muscarella works every day to ensure all the children have the resources needed to reach their highest level of ability.
Muscarella is married to Joe and they have three children, Annette, Joseph and Andrew.
Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.
Dr. Laurie Rozakis earned her Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stony Brook University, with distinction, after receiving her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degrees from Hofstra University. She is a full professor of English at Farmingdale State College, as well as a professional writer and editor.
Dr. Rozakis is the author of more than 100 books and scores of articles, dealing with writing, grammar, usage and test preparation, such as Grouping for Success: Teaching to Varied Ability Levels in the Language Arts Classroom, The Scholastic Guide to Study Skills and over a dozen Complete Idiot’s Guide books on such varied topics as creative writing, American literature and Shakespeare. Dr. Rozakis has appeared on television shows, including Live with Regis and Kelly; the CBS Morning Show and the Maury Povich Show. Her career and books have been profiled in The New York Times, the New York Daily News, Newsday, Time, New York Post, Glamour, Sacramento Bee, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Chicago Tribune.
With 30 years of continuous service on the Farmingdale Library Board of Trustees, she is the senior member. In addition to her work on the library board, Dr. Rozakis is active in other community groups, most notably the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and the Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
Dr. Rozakis is the recipient of such prestigious honors as the Town of Oyster Bay’s “Woman of Distinction” in the Arts, the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and numerous fellowships.
Dr. Rozakis is married to Bob and has two children, Charles and Samantha.