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John McGrath Attends His Final School Board Meeting

Trustee ends 13-year stay on Mineola School Board, Artie Barnett to be sworn in July 5

It’s been 13 years since the New York Knicks played in the NBA finals, a baker’s dozen since Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace premiered in movie theaters and 13 years since John McGrath first sat down in a seat behind the Mustang-red banner, reading, “Mineola Board of Education.”

As the Bob Dylan song goes, “The times, they are a-changin’.”

Trustee John McGrath attended his final board of education meeting on June 21. This marks the end of a decade-plus long run as trustee.

Artie Barnett, who has been involved in the school district and the community, will be sworn in as trustee at the district’s reorganization meeting on Thursday, July 5. He unseated McGrath on Election Day, May 15.

“Thank you for the time and effort you have put in,” Board President Christine Napolitano said. “I know how hard it is to be a board member. You’ve done it for a lot of years and we do appreciate the volunteerism and service to the community.”

Trustee Terence Hale said McGrath, “brought a lot to the table” and thanked him for his time of service. “We’re going to miss you. Thanks for all the years.”

It is unknown what the configuration of the board will be when reorganization takes place. Napolitano and Vice President William Hornberger currently occupy the top two seats. Hale served as president and Napolitano as vice president in 2011.

District Superintendent Michael Nagler noted that he’ll miss McGrath’s tenacity and work ethic.

“I don’t think people realize the work involved in being a board member,” Nagler said. “I send a packet out every Friday to these volunteers. This past Friday…the agenda was over 350 pages they had to review for tonight’s meeting. It’s a big job. It’s a thankless job.

“John and I go way back. In the 13 years he’s been here, I’ve been here for 12. He’s been a pain in my neck some times and has been my staunch ally sometimes,” Nagler said jokingly. “I respect his opinions and his ability to fight for his constituency.”

McGrath called his tenure an “interesting 13-year experience” and said he’ll miss helping the board make decisions that shape the school district.

“In another respect, it’s going to be a relief,” McGrath said, continuing humorously, “I know my wife is pretty happy. I think my kids are too. As much as [my wife] may have complained about the meetings, she certainly supported it. I wouldn’t have gotten away with it for 13 years.”

McGrath credited the direction of his legal practice because of his time on the board.

“I wish the incoming board member, Mr. Barnett, a lot of luck going into the future as well as the board and the district in the years ahead,” McGrath stated.