Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00
After a four-month search for candidates suitable to replace Dr. James Grossane as Superintendent of the Levittown Public School District, members of the Levittown Board of Education have appointed Dr. Tonie McDonald to the position, effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.
For McDonald, who is currently assistant superintendent of business and finance in the nearby Plainedge Union Free School District, the appointment was a warm welcome home to the Levittown School District, where she had previously worked as both an administrator and as a teacher for more than 10 years.
“I couldn’t be happier,” McDonald said of her return to Levittown. “There are so many amazing people who live and work there.”
In order to choose a suitable candidate to fill Dr. Grossane’s shoes, members of the Board of Education used the services of School Leadership LLC—a national leadership search firm, which conducted an online survey to determine the qualifications most important to the community.
“The Board of Education has taken the responsibility of selecting a new superintendent very seriously,” said Board President Kevin Regan. “After input from all of the district’s stakeholders, and as a result of working with a professional national search firm, we are extremely confident that Dr. McDonald possesses the professionalism, experience, character, communication skills and vision to lead our school district to even greater levels of success.”
According to school officials, the response played a significant role in mapping the final criteria for the most viable candidates. From a pool of more than 25 highly qualified applicants, McDonald was selected by the firm as one of five candidates to present to the Levittown Board of Education.
With a B.A. in social sciences and an M.A. in secondary education from Adelphi University, combined with a doctorate of education from Hofstra University, McDonald clearly met the school board’s requirements.
“Dr. McDonald is an outstanding choice,” Regan added. “Her professional qualifications, combined with her prior experience working in our school district, made her the majority choice of the board.”
Prior to her appointment in the Plainedge School District, McDonald held several positions in the Levittown, including assistant superintendent for business and finance, director of pupil services, social studies chairperson and district testing data coordinator. She also taught as an adjunct professor at Hofstra and Dowling College.
“I would like to thank the Board of Education for the confidence they have shown in me,” McDonald said. “I am looking forward to working with the Board of Education, administrators, staff, parents, students and community residents to move our students and school district to the next level of success.”
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.
All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.
Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.
Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.
In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.
“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”
With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.
Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.
The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.
The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “
At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.
Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.
Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.
The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county.
The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.
In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.
Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games.