Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman, firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, 10 July 2013 00:00
Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz and Vice President Lawrence Gross were once again elected to head the school board and were sworn in to office. At the school board’s July 1, reorganization meeting, newly reelected trustee Monique Bloom was also sworn in, as was Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan.
“This has been a good and eventful year,” Berkowitz said as she opened the meeting. “The accomplishments are impressive,” she added. And she emphasized that she has “loved” this past year and was very grateful for all of the votes that helped pass the budget, “so we can do the right thing for the children of Great Neck.”
As Berkowitz was sworn in for her eighth year as board president, Gross noted that they had faced “significant challenges” over the past year and with the leadership of the board president “all of the members of the community were engaged.” Fellow board trustee Donald Ashkenase said that Berkowitz’s strong leadership abilities changed his mind about imposing term limits and he spoke proudly of the Great Neck Public Schools having the highest percentage of budget “yes” votes in Nassau County this year.
For well over 30 years Gross has been a member of the school board, often serving as president. And, Berkowitz said, “Larry has led many difficult and diverse issues” over the years. Ashkenase reminded everyone that it was Goss, who, well over 30 years ago, led the S.T.O.P. effort to stop the plan to close many of the district’s schools, including closing North High and North Middle School. And that, Ashkenase said, led to the district hiring a new superintendent, William Shine, who highly valued low class size and made that a hallmark of the district.
Bloom was delighted at being sworn in for her first full term. Berkowitz spoke of how Bloom’s first year had been “a very full year … with difficult police situations.”
Ashkenase, an over-30-year board trustee and a strong financial professional, spoke of only spending what is necessary and not spending just because money is available. “You only spend what you need … there must be stability,” he said.
And Berkowitz noted how Trustee Susan Healy quickly transitioned to chair of the vital policy committee.
Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan was also sworn in for another year. “You have created an environment of respect … with team support … and we are grateful,” Berkowitz said. Dr. Dolan thanked the board for “the opportunity to serve here.”
And each board member made sure to highlight the close, cooperative working relationship that exists between the board members and the superintendent of schools. One and all, they consistently term the board “a six-member board,” each member having an equal say.
“There are no egos and no agendas,” Berkowitz say, with her words echoed by all of the other school board members.