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Letter: A Letter to the Great Neck Community

This is my first message to the community since assuming the position of Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2009. I know of no better way to start other than by expressing how fortunate I am to now be a part of this outstanding school district and fine community. While I am only recently “on the job” officially, I have had an opportunity, over the four months since my appointment, to learn a great deal about the district. I have been able to visit every school, engage in conversations with many of my new colleagues, visit numerous classrooms, attend some outstanding school events, and speak to hundreds of students on an informal basis. Each of those experiences has reinforced for me what I had previously known about Great Neck.

The community support of education here is palpable. On one of my visits, I had a chance to see the Adult Program in action, and the concept of lifelong learning took on a new meaning for me. On another occasion, I was greeted by song as a fourth-grade class serenaded me with Circle, written by my hero, Harry Chapin, which made me feel right at home. On another musical note, I was able to see some of the district’s world-class musicians perform at Carnegie Hall. I also had the pleasure of speaking with student leaders, who engaged me in some thoughtful and evocative discussion, as we learned more about each other. All of these disparate experiences have allowed me to learn more, and to become that much more connected with Great Neck.

As I consider the prospect of being a part of the district, I am a bit in awe of all that the schools in Great Neck have accomplished. But, just as quickly, I am comforted to know that the outstanding students, talented staff, informed board of education, and supportive community remain in place and that my efforts will be supported by all of those groups as we move ahead. There may be challenges; however, I am confident that, in a collaborative fashion, we can all meet those challenges and continue to excel as a district.

I look forward to meeting you at school and community events, and to working with the entire community in continuing to meet the needs of our students. Enjoy the balance of this summer.

Tom Dolan, superintendent, Great Neck Public Schools