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New Faculty And Staff In Oyster Bay

It is always with great excitement and anticipation that the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District welcomes and embraces new members to the staff. Each new person offers fresh visions and enthusiasm on becoming a part of the proud tradition of educational excellence that has become the standard in Oyster Bay.

The math department welcomes Lauren DeClemente to Oyster Bay High School. DeClemente studied at Hofstra University, where she earned a bachelor of arts in mathematics and mathematics education. She continued her education at Molloy College, where she received a master of science degree in adolescence education: mathematics 7-12. DeClemente comes to Oyster Bay from Baldwin Senior High School where she taught for five years. She began her teaching career at Hicksville High School.  

DeClemente is originally from Farmingdale and currently lives in Rockville Centre. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, going to the beach, listening to music and practicing yoga.

When asked about Oyster Bay, DeClemente said, “I picked Oyster Bay because ever since I walked into the building for my first interview I felt welcome and at home. I have enjoyed speaking with the people I’ve been in contact with so far. I have also heard great things about the district and feel that it will be a great fit.

“I look forward to learning more about the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district and community and working with a new group of students, parents, staff, administrators and community members.”

The fine and performing arts department had the difficult task of replacing two extraordinary teaching “legends” of the OBEN community. Robert Stern’s position was filled by Meagan Finnerty, who will be teaching music to the students at the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School.

Finnerty holds a bachelor’s degree in music education with a minor in special education from Penn State University. She is currently attending Hunter College for a master’s in piano performance.

Finnerty has worked in the Massapequa School District, Miller Place School District, Port Jefferson School District and Sachem School District. She is originally from Medford and is currently residing in Holbrook.

In her spare time, Finnerty enjoys playing piano, reading, baking, and playing with her dog.

When asked, she said, “Oyster Bay is an amazing town and an amazing community.  I can’t wait to be a part of this school district and it’s distinguished music program. I can’t wait to meet my new students and their families.”

Stephen Walker retired in June leaving a huge void to be filled in the OBHS music program. Michael Giannetta has been invited to Oyster Bay High School to teach seventh- and eighth-grade band.

Giannetta did his undergraduate study at the prestigious Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where he earned a bachelor of science degree in music education. He holds masters degrees in trumpet performance from SUNY Stony Brook and conducting from Southern Oregon University’s American Band College.

Previously, Giannetta has taught elementary band for the  Commack Public Schools and District-Wide Band for both the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools and in the East Northport School District. He is originally from Malverne where he attended Valley Stream North High School. Giannetta currently lives in Mineola.

He and his wife just welcomed their first child, a daughter, this past May. When not working, Giannetta enjoys playing his trumpet, golfing, exercising, and reading.

When asked to comment, Giannetta said, “Having grown up in a small school community, I was excited about having the chance to work in that environment. This is also a fantastic opportunity to work in a great music department with wonderful people.

“I look forward to filling the shoes and carrying the torch of my predecessor, Steve Walker, while at the same time getting to know as many of my colleagues and the school community as I can.”

Sometimes finding a new teacher is easy when they are already working in the district. For the past three years, Colleen Kelly was working at Vernon as a teaching assistant.  This year she returns to Vernon to teach a self-contained classroom for third and fifth grade.

Kelly attended Mount Saint Mary College and earned certification in childhood education 1-6 for children with disabilities.  She is currently attending C.W. Post for her master’s degree in special education with a concentration in autism.  

Kelly is originally from East Rockaway and is still living there. She had this to say, “When not working I love spending time with my friends and family. I came to Oyster Bay when I graduated from college as a teaching assistant. I fell in love with the district and have been very lucky to be a part of a great learning community.”

The science department for the district has a new face in the front office.  Janna Ostroff was hired last spring and worked closely with Dr. Root for a smooth transition. Although her office is in the high school, Ostroff will be working throughout the district in her position as K-12 Director of Science and Technology for Instruction.

Ostroff earned the degree of bachelor of arts in both chemistry and education from Colgate University. She also holds a master of science in geochemistry from the University of Oxford and a master of science in comparative and international education from the University of Oxford. Additionally, she attended Hunter College in the Educational Administration and Supervision Program.

Previously, Ostroff worked for the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, as a chemistry and earth science teacher, science and math coach, and high school teaching and learning coordinator. She also worked for the Beacon School as a chemistry and biochemistry teacher and most recently for the Lindenhurst Schools as the District Science Coordinator.

Ostroff is from Poughkeepsie, and attended Spackenkill Schools. She currently lives in Plainview with her husband, Adam, and two sons, Henry and Jack, who are going to turn 4 and 6 this fall.

She enjoys spending time with her family playing board games, traveling, playing sports and going to Yankee Stadium together. She also enjoy running, reading, hiking and going to the beach.

When asked, Ostroff said, “The OBEN District’s uniform commitment to maximizing each student’s potential was clearly communicated by every person that I spoke with at Oyster Bay. I love science and am excited to be a part of a team in which parents, students, and faculty work together to continually improve student learning.  

“I look forward to seeing student interest in and use of Science and Technology continue to grow both inside and outside the classrooms of Oyster Bay-East Norwich.”

Another longtime teacher, Rosemary Crawford, retired last June and left the English department with the difficult task of finding a replacement.

Nicole Schwartz was enthusiastically chosen to fit the bill. She will be teaching seventh grade literacy connections, 11th grade AIS, 10th grade honors, and 10th grade Regents classes.

Schwartz attended SUNY Geneseo where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education. She then went on to SUNY Stony Brook where she received a master’s degree in liberal studies.

Previously, Schwartz worked as a tenured English teacher at Three Village Central School District. After being excessed due to the budget, she had the opportunity to work at Longwood High School. Throughout her experiences, Schwartz  has taught all levels of grades seven through 10.

Schwartz grew up in Melville and currently lives in Huntington. When not working she likes to read, write, and run. She has always enjoyed playing sports. Schwartz grew up playing soccer and continued to play in college. Kayaking is her favorite water sport.  

Schwartz says, “I am well aware of the high expectations the school has for both students and teachers, and I wanted to be a part of this excellent school district that is focused on giving the students the best education possible. A variety of professional development opportunities are also given to the teachers to help continue their growth as highly effective educators. In addition, I absolutely love the small, tight-knit community of Oyster Bay, and look forward to immersing myself in the school district’s culture.

“This year I look forward to making a difference in all of my students’ lives. I am excited to work with multiple age groups and create differentiated lessons that motivate and excite the students. I aspire to create an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and excitement for my students, encouraging them to appreciate and enjoy the multi-faceted nature of English. I plan to provoke learning, growth, and creativity through active participation and authentic learning experiences. Overall, I am thrilled to begin teaching English at Oyster Bay High School and becoming a part of the community.”

Parents had been expressing their concerns at Board of Education meetings about the need for more help to handle the heavy work load in the high school Counseling Center. The district has responded by bringing Debra Strell on board to serve as the supervisor of Counseling Services.

Strell attended Hunter College where she earned a bachelor of the arts degree, then went on to Fordham University where she achieved a masters in business administration. She also holds a masters in school counseling from Long Island University at the CW Post campus and a Certificate in Educational Administration from Queens College.

Before coming to Oyster Bay, Strell worked for the West Hempstead School District as the Director of Guidance and before that as a guidance counselor at Lindenhurst High School.

Strell grew up mainly in New York City and now lives in Mineola. She enjoys Off-Broadway theatre, reading, especially mystery novels, visiting the many neighborhoods in the five boroughs of Manhattan and traveling.

When asked about Oyster Bay, Strell said, “I picked Oyster Bay for a number of reasons, among them the small size of the district and the wonderful reputation of its faculty, staff, and programs.

“I look forward to meeting everyone in the school and community and getting to know, and work with, the students. I also am excited to work with such a wonderful and committed guidance staff.”

News

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”

The Oyster Bay community paid tribute to award winning journalist Marie Colvin at Oyster Bay High School on Saturday, Oct. 11. The school library was officially dedicated in her name and a portrait of the journalist who died on the frontlines in Syria in 2012 was proudly displayed at the entrance of the library. The event was put together by members of the Oyster Bay class of 1974 who held their 40th class reunion over the weekend.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dennis O’Hara gave a short speech in honor of Colvin’s name. Nassau County legislators Judi Jacobs and Donald MacKenzie also gave speeches, along with Colvin’s sister, Catherine Colvin, and Donna Fiore-Houman, who helped coordinate the event. Both were members of the class of ‘74. Founding dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, Howard Schneider, also gave a small speech at the end of the ceremony.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com