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Herricks School Chiefs To Retire

The upcoming retirements of Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Deirdre Hayes, and Herricks High School Principal Dr. Jane Modoono were officially announced at the May 29 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education last week.

However, the trio gave ample notice, with Bierwirth and Modoono remaining at their posts throughout the upcoming 2014-15 school calendar; or, in the words of Bierwirth, “you’re still stuck with us for another year.” Both Bierwirth and Modoono’s will end their run in Herricks on June 30, 2015, with Hayes departing on Dec. 31.

Board of Education President James Gounaris bade the departing trio of administrators farewell, stating their impact upon the Herricks School District will not be forgotten any time soon.

“It will be difficult finding replacements for you all,” he said. “You’re all professionals and you’ve done an incredible job for the students and the community on a daily basis. But we’ll rise to the challenge.”

Bierwirth, who has served as superintendent since 2001, said that his career in Herricks was a rewarding one, and the decisions of both him and his colleagues to retire were not easy.

“We’re in good health, and we felt that we ought to do that for you all and give you the time to make the transition right,” he said. “Every educator should be lucky enough to work in a place like Herricks at least once in their careers.”

Hayes also had an emotional recollection of her time in the Herricks district, thanking all for each doing their part in putting the education and care of the students under their watch first and foremost.

“It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work here....this is a phenomenal district,” she said. “The people here are just the best, and we feel so honored that we were able to end our careers in a special place like this.”

Gounaris stated that plans are in place to find successors for the three retirees. The extended notice the district received “would afford them the time to get the job done right,” he said.

“We’ve known about this for a few months now, so we’re ready for this,” Gounaris said. “The board has been active in seeking out search firms, and I would say that it’s safe to say that at the next board meeting we should probably make the announcement of who it will be and have a resolution authorizing us to go forward with this process.”

Modoono was not present at the meeting.

Lunch Increase Coming

The Herricks School Board voted to increase the price of the elementary school lunch from $2.25 to $2.50 for the 2014-15 school year. Assistant Superintendent for Business Helen Costigan noted the hike in price—the district’s first since 2008—is to help the district adhere to new federal guidelines. However, the new menus brought about by these guidelines have “been met with some resistance from the student body,” she said.

“The guidelines began this year, and they’re very rigid...you can not serve other items other than what are within these guidelines,” Costigan said. “There are specific portion sizes and whole grains must be served, which are more costly. Sales are currently down about four percent, and kids were initially reluctant to eat the whole grain products, but they are getting used to them, and we do get subsidies from the federal government, and if we were to do anything different from the guidelines, we would lose the subsidies.”

Program Restorations On The Docket?

Bierwirth spoke on how the some effective financial management in regards to the school district’s bonds has resulted in some extra money that will be used to restore some of the programs cut in Herricks recently due to financial constraints.

“We have re-financed one bond, and floated a new bond, and the combined savings relative to the budget was about $140,000 a year for the next seven years,” he said. “We will be using the money to restore some sports clubs and various activities, such as drama, student government, boys and girls basketball.”

“We tried to come up with things to put back in that were sustainable,” Gounaris added. “The board’s priority was to create more opportunities for more kids.”

Also, members of the Herricks Indo-U.S. Community, Inc., donated 20 Apple iPad Mini’s for school district use.

News

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District is planning improvements to a district that has already seen much success in recent years. The school year has only just begun and the Board of Ed is already setting its sights on the future. 

 

At the Sept. 8 board of education meeting, Superintendent Robert Katulak’s monthly report outlined the major goals set for the district last month. While approved in August, the three goals were made available to the public this month and each target different areas for improvement throughout the district. 

 

The first goal deals with English Language Learners (ELL) within the student population. ELL students are those that speak a language other than English at home and score below proficient on assessments. 

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.


Sports

Sewanhaka boys soccer coach Peter Burgess wasn’t sure how long his team’s playoff drought was when it was broken last season. 

 

“Somebody said it was 13 years,” said Burgess, whose entering his fourth year coaching varsity. “But I think it was five or six, I don’t know maybe longer.”

 

But one thing’s for certain, he wants to keep last year’s momentum going. 

 

The Indians, who started their season with a 3-0 loss at Hewlett, will aim for their second straight trip to the playoffs this year. 

The Sewanhaka Indians made their Nassau Conference II debut with a bang.  The Indians opened their season at home against the Calhoun Colts, unsure what to expect, as all they had ever seen of the Colts was one tape of a scrimmage. 

 

“It was nerve raking leading up to the game,” said Head Coach George Kasimatis. “We weren’t sure what to expect on offense or defense, you have to guess early on. “

 

But it didn’t take the Indians long to introduce themselves to the conference, as junior, Quarterback, Elijah Tracey broke a 75-yard run taking it the distance to put the Indians up early, which ended in a 27-7 rout of the Colts. 


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

Herricks Meeting - September 18

Bike Safety Day - September 21


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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