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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

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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