Written by Jill Nossa firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday, 09 July 2013 00:00
The Glen Cove Board of Education chose Donna Brady to be the board president for the 2013-14 school year, and Barrie Dratch as vice president. The new positions took effect at the July 1 reorganizational meeting, also the first day on the job for Superintendent Maria Rianna. Richie Maccarone also began his term as a trustee, and Grady Farnan was sworn in for a second term.
Chris Powers presided over the reorganizational portion of the meeting, including swearing in the superintendent, the board members, the president and vice president. Additionally, Ida Johnson was sworn in as district clerk, Amy Franklin as district treasurer and Jackie Lizza as deputy treasurer.
Brady was nominated by Trustee Joel Sunshine, and the nomination passed 4-2, with Gail Nedbor-Gross and Richie Maccarone opposed. Trustee David Huggins was absent from the meeting. Farnan nominated Dratch for the vice president position, which passed in a 6-0 vote.
“Thank you for this opportunity,” said Brady. “I will rely on the community to talk to me and keep me abreast of what is going on in the schools so we can do our best to serve the children.” She also made a point to welcome Rianna to the district.
“I look forward to working with all of you,” said Rianna. “We are already moving into the next school year in a positive direction.”
She announced that Dr. Michael Israel will remain in his position as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and that Dimitri Kryoneris would be taking the position of principal at Landing Elementary School. The news of Dr. Israel remaining in his post was met with a huge round of applause.
During public comment, Janet Blatt requested that the names of people being hired, retiring or resigning be made public ahead of time, citing the open meeting law. “It would be more appropriate to give us names, there is no reason to keep anything secret, except terminations,” she said.
Alison Gasparello asked if a replacement had been found for Kevin Wurtz; Rianna said they are in the process of reopening the search, noting that of two chosen candidates, one had declined the position and the other they had decided against based on feedback from a recommendation. Gasparello also inquired about the investigation and where the district is at in the process.
Powers explained that the law 3020A says these personnel matters cannot be discussed publicly, which is why so little information has been available. He also explained there are three separate parties “watching” the case, all with different burdens of proof: the BOE, the State Education Department, and the Nassau County District Attorney’s office. While he did acknowledge the board’s decision to bring forth charges to certain teachers, no further details were given in terms of numbers or a timeframe; those charged will undergo disciplinary hearings, which they have the option to keep private or make public. It was disclosed that a total of approximately $150,000 has spent on legal fees by the district for the investigation.
Chris Barry mentioned a meeting that took place at Thayer House at the end of June. “What we witnessed was embarrassing,” he said, noting that the public was left standing outside in the heat for two hours, and none of the board members offered an explanation or thank you for support when they left. “We are supposed to be in this together. Please, kill this mess and bring this community back together.”
“We do need to move forward,” said Brady, tearing up with emotion. “There is a lot of pain and confusion but we are ready to walk forward and do right by the staff, administration and kids.”
“We are eager to move forward and need to focus on the children,” said Rianna. “We need to learn to put the anger and hurt aside...I will be in the trenches with all of you and I ask for your support.”
One parent commented, “It’s hard to heal when nothing has come to an end. The fifth grade teachers show up every day and do their jobs with smiles on their faces … September is coming, what will happen then?”