Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 26 April 2013 00:00
Irene Parrino confirmed to the Mineola American that she would seek re-election for school board trustee in the Mineola School District on April 5. She officially announced her intentions on April 15.
Though the top vote getter wins the seat, election season will see Parrino face off in an at-large-bid against Williston Park resident Patricia Navarra, who announced her inaugural run last month. It is unknown if anyone else submitted trustee petitions as of press time.
The petition deadline was April 22.
Parrino has served on the school board since 2010. She is a 20-year pro bono attorney who currently volunteers at St. Aidan’s Church in Williston Park, teaching first-grade religion. The mother of two currently serves as the school district’s BOCES representative.
Nassau County named Parrino a Trailblazer of the New Millennium in 2004 and she was inducted into the Town of North Hempstead Women’s Roll of Honor in 2007. Prior to running for school board, Parrino served on the district’s Pre-K committee.
The incumbent board member feels maintaining educational programs while staying within the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap are of paramount concern in Mineola. While unfunded mandates the district faces on a yearly basis pose as challenges, Parrino is confident the district, which just adopted a budget on April 17, is working to protect residents, both stakeholders and non-stakeholders.
“Funding the school district’s budget and working within the property tax cap is not easy or certain these days as New York State’s aid to our district is low compared to years past…This year, like last year, the district is working to present a budget that is well within the allowable tax cap and meets all of the students’ educational requirements,” Parrino said.
Focusing on the districts successful science programs in the district, Parrino thinks the focus on that subject should be enhanced even more in Mineola. She has one daughter attending Jackson Avenue School and a son who attends Meadow Drive School.
“This [science] focus will help make our students intelligent science consumers,” said Parrino. “Children are naturally drawn to science. Students, of all ages, love learning how things work and experiment. We should enhance our science program with these naturally tendencies in mind.”
She commended the district’s technological prowess, specifically the iPad initiative in the schools. Apple named Mineola’ s program a Distinguished Program of the Year on April 4.
“The district has provided our students with new tools in which to learn - providing iPads to our middle school students, and put computers, net books and smartboards in classrooms across the district,” said Parrino. “I have supported new initiatives that support student achievement and excellence such as the construction of a new science laboratory at Jackson Avenue and implementing a new science program and foreign language program for our elementary students.”
Parrino, along with board members and administrators, recently toured district schools with outside agencies looking to enhance security measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. She said the review opened her eyes in terms of student safety.
“After the tragedy of Sandy Hook, the district undertook an evaluation of the safety risks and reviewed policy protocols for student supervision, access control and safety plans to ensure the safety of our children…educating and keeping our children safe is paramount,” Parrino stated.
The winner of the election will serve on the school board from July 1 through June 30, 2016.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Even rain couldn’t put a damper on children’s faces as they marveled at the Mineola tree across from Village Hall on Friday, Dec. 6 during the annual Christmas tree lighting. With the Chaminade High School Jazz Band rocking the community center across the street, residents and kiddies waited with bated breath and excitement for the tree to come alive, along with a visit from old St. Nick.
As the area between the Mineola Fire Department and Piccola Bussola began to fill up, the tree ignited with blue, green and red glory for all attendees to gaze at, while cars buzzing by on Jericho Turnpike now had a beacon in the night to guide them. Inside the community center, the band provided much needed holiday cheer, playing “Jingle Bells,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
Eleni Pitzel has lived in East Williston since 1975, having raised five children. Prior to that, she and her family lived in Floral Park. Pitzel is a longtime club member, and served as corresponding secretary for two years.
Pitzel has been the club’s art instructor for four years; she also teaches art at St. Paul’s Orthodox Cathedral in West Hempstead. “My artistic skills are a gift from God, and from that gift I give back to others,” Pitzel said.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
MAA Travel Soccer teams wrapped up their respective fall 2013 seasons recently. Two MAA teams won titles this season in the Long Island Junior Soccer League; the BU13 Mineola Empire went 9-0-1 and the GU14 Red Bulls enjoyed a 8-1-1 campaign to each win first place trophies. The GU11 Honey Badgers went undefeated (6-0-2) and finished in second place in their division, as did the GU15 Mini-Mustangs with a 7-1-1 season record.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The Mineola 12U fall intramural baseball team celebrated their fall season and tournament championship with a pizza party/awards dinner on Nov. 20. In addition to celebrating a great fall season and tournament championship, the boys were treated to an inspirational talk by coach Ken Conrade, the 2013 New York State High School Coach of the Year.
Conrade, the Kellenberg Memorial High School assistant principal for academics and girls varsity softball coach, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner. He presented a very talked about baseball and youth sports.
Conrade’s talk was framed around each inning of a baseball game. He used stories and examples from the first to an extra “10th inning” to drive home both a sports and life lesson. For example, as part of the seventh inning stretch, he had each player stand up, stretch their legs and then go and thank their parents for their support and commitment to their baseball playing.