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Westbury’s Dr. Clark-Snead Retiring June 30

Superintendent: ‘wonderful’ experience but with some ‘turbulent times’

Following a presentation of the district’s 2012-2013 preliminary budget, Westbury Superintendent Dr. Constance Clark-Snead announced her retirement, effective June 30, at last week’s Jan. 19 board of education meeting.

In a letter to Dr. Clark-Snead dated June 30, 2011 from Westbury Board of Education President Dr. Pless Dickerson, the superintendent was advised that the board didn’t intend to renew her contract beyond June 30 of this year.

“I had to really go through some emotional deliberation as it relates to this. You know how I feel about the children and families in this community, but with what has taken place with what the governor is doing, I think it’s drastic, and I cannot in good conscience, be a part of that,” said Dr. Clark-Snead, who had served as superintendent of the district since September 1999.

Dr. Clark-Snead, who wanted to “take charge of her well-being,” noted she hopes to remain in the community, although she’s faced some hostility from residents in the past 13 years, most recently during last year’s failed budget efforts.

“I have had some turbulent times in this district and some very mean-spirited things have been done to me and have left terrible scars and I cannot go any further. I feel that I am very fortunate to have such wonderful administrators and teachers and I thank you, board of education, for allowing me to be your superintendent for a brief time, especially the new board members.

“I think I can now move on. It has been a wonderful experience. I have brought some resources into this district. In fact, this theater I am responsible for, all of the technology, new auditorium, all of the renovations, and I can go on and on and on … millions of dollars that I have brought into this district. I’m not just tooting my own horn, I’m telling you the truth,” said Dr. Clark-Snead.

To supplement the list of accomplishments, Dickerson announced at the meeting that Dr. Clark-Snead was the recipient of the Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award, which honors leadership in educational equity and excellence, from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

“They only award four of these awards nationally, and I think that speaks of the person that you have in Dr. Clark-Snead as our superintendent,” said Dickerson.

As school boards across Long Island deal with budgetary obstacles between now and May 15, Dr. Clark-Snead said she will remain involved in the deliberations and offered her perspective on another failed budget’s potential implications for the district.

“If we don’t get a budget passed, it will have a ripple effect year after year after year. In my heart, I’m saying, ‘Why is it that our African-American and Latino and Hispanic children cannot have the same thing as our neighbors?’ and it hurts. So all you can do now is just support your schools and ensure that your children continue to have the quality of service that they deserve,” the superintendent said.

Dickerson said the district has begun discussing a search for Clark-Sneads replacement and will “start putting the wheels in motion right away.”