Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 16 July 2010 00:00
Barbara Berkowitz was sworn in for another term as president of the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education at the school board’s July 1 annual reorganization meeting. Ms. Berkowitz was sworn in for her fifth term as president; she has served on the board for 19 years. Fran Langsner, who has served on the board for 10 years, was sworn in for another year as trustee and for another year as vice president; she has served as vice president for three years.
As Ms. Berkowitz was once again sworn in as president, trustee Donald Ashkenase spoke of Ms. Berkowitz’s “leadership and courage.” He spoke of his admiration for Ms. Berkowitz’s abilities and how his respect keeps growing. Ms. Langsner spoke of Ms. Berkowitz’s accessibility and how she exemplifies the term “public service.” Trustee Lawrence Gross noted Ms. Berkowitz’s excellent management skills, and trustee Susan Miner-Healy talked of Ms. Berkowitz’s “positive impact” on the schools, on the community, and on the school board.
Ms. Berkowitz said that it is a “privilege” to hold this post, and she spoke of the fact that “this is a six-member board” with Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan. “We work well together,” she stated.
Newly re-elected, Ms. Langsner was sworn in for another term as trustee and for another term as vice-president. Ms. Berkowitz praised Ms. Langsner for her ability to smoothly take over as head of the board during times when the president was out ill. And since Ms. Langsner also chairs the board’s policy committee, Mr. Gross spoke of Ms. Langsner’s “good work” during “challenging times.”
Ms. Langsner stated that she was able to work so well because of the help from and the example set by Ms. Berkowitz.
As per New York State law, Dr. Dolan was also sworn in for his second year as superintendent of schools. Dr. Dolan spoke of beginning in Great Neck last year and how he “unwrapped a gift even more delightful than I could have anticipated.” Dr. Dolan thanked the board for all of their support.
Dr. Dolan began work in the school district a year ago, as the district’s tenth superintendent of schools. Ms. Berkowitz praised Dr. Dolan’s work and said that he is an “outstanding leader.” She spoke of facing many challenges this past year and she told how the entire community came together to help support the budget in this tough budget year.
Mr. Ashkenase then went on to speak of the “quality” of the senior staff and teaching leadership in the district. He also spoke of the support of the community.
At the July 1 meeting, two more retirements were announced. Manuela (Terry) Horowitz, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and Dennis Ryan, assistant superintendent for special education and pupil services are both retiring. Both have opted for the New York State Teachers and Employees Retirement Incentive Program.
Both retiring administrators were lauded for the skills and programs that they have brought to the school district. Ms. Horowitz changed much in the district, according to Ms. Berkowitz, including working on the full-day kindergarten program, the SEAL Academy, the Wilson reading program, and the Columbia Teachers College writing program.
Ms. Berkowitz said that Dr. Ryan faced “unimaginable challenges on a daily basis,” as he helped improve the lives of so many families.
Some discussion focused on the difficulties of implementing this retirement program and Dr. Dolan said that the program was “of limited value.”