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Manhasset Mourns Jodi Shapiro

The loss of Manhasset School Special Education Administrator Jodi Shapiro came swiftly. “The untimely death led to a very emotional response from many in the Manhasset school community,” said Charlie Cardillo, superintendent of Manhasset schools.  “Jodi had a tremendous passion for her job which was reflected in her tireless commitment to the special education children in both elementary schools.”  

Shapiro died early on Saturday morning, July 13, 2013 shortly after an unexpected diagnosis of advanced cancer.  She was 39 years old. Services were held the next day at Gutterman Funeral Home in Woodbury.

“Manhasset has lost a very special person in Jodi. Words cannot adequately express the shock and the sadness that her death brings to us,” said Regina Rule, the newly elected Board of Education president. “Jodi leaves behind a void not only in Manhasset’s special education department, but also in the district.”

Shapiro started in Manhasset Public Schools in September 2009 as the District Coordinator of CPSE and Elementary Special Education. She received the title of Assistant Director of CPSE and Elementary Special Education in June of 2012. She was responsible for implementing special education programs and services for children in preschool through sixth grade at Shelter Rock, Munsey Park, Our Lady of Grace, and St. Mary’s elementary schools. Prior to coming to Manhasset, she worked in the Amityville school district for three years as an administrator in special education.  

“Jodi Shapiro earned the respect of those who worked with her. Jodi will be missed; she left us too soon,” said Dr. Jean Kendall, principal of Munsey Park Elementary School. “Our hearts are with her fiancé and family at this difficult time.”   

As chairperson, Shapiro reviewed the academic, social, and physical strengths and needs of special education children. Her meetings were always focused on the child, in a warm and compassionate environment that made parents feel informed and involved. Over the past four years Shapiro was also an executive board member of the Long Island Association of Special Education Administrators (LIASEA), most recently holding the office of secretary.

"I have known Jodi for six years and will miss her terribly," said Allison Rushforth, who as executive director of special education for Manhasset worked very closely with Shapiro. Rushforth said that she received numerous messages—voicemail and email—saying how supportive, kind and knowledgeable Shapiro was. Messages came from Manhasset families, administration, teachers, staff colleagues, members of LIASEA, and others who knew her well.

Rushforth shared one such message: “Jodi was a wonderful person. Her short life mattered. She touched so many people with her smile, joyous spirit and giving soul. Jodi lived a life of service to her family, her God, her profession and anyone who needed help. She truly cared about all people! She was also fun to be with and loved life!”

Shapiro grew up in Massapequa and attended the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County. She attended Hofstra University for her undergraduate degree and earned a master’s degree at Adelphi University. Jodi is survived by her parents, a brother, a sister and brother-in-law, three nephews and two nieces.