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OB-EN Board Grants Tenure to 11 Teachers, Two Administrators

The Oyster Bay-East Norwich Superintendent of Schools Dr. Phyllis Harrington said the meeting on April 20 was her absolutely favorite one of the year. It was time to give out tenure to staff members. “Tenure doesn’t come lightly or easily. People work very hard for it.

“Reaching tenure is a benchmark, not the end of a journey,” she added.

The staff members and their families attended the ceremony which involved recognition by Dr. Harrington in which she gave the educational background of each person including their strengths as a classroom teacher or administrator. Board President James Robinson gave each a small gift and they were presented with a bouquet of flowers.

The administrators receiving tenure were Gina Faust, Roosevelt School principal – who supervises other teachers and is a plus to the profession of teaching, said Dr. Harrington; and Taryn Johnson, Oyster Bay High School seventh- and eighth-grade assistant principal who maintains a middle level school atmosphere that bridges the gap between sixth- and seventh-grade - and seventh- to eighth-grade. She was presented with two bouquets of flowers.

The teachers, each of whom Dr. Harrington had something special to relate are: Brian Agostini, Elementary teacher, and a lacrosse coach, and is visible at all school events; Lydia Brady, English teacher who oversees Quill & Scroll, and has a passion for Second Language learners; Kelly Brandt, an OBHS graduate, and an elementary teacher; Carla Cameron, mathematics teacher – “When I’m in her classroom – I get it” Dr. Harrington said of her teaching abilities; Sara Cuniglio, ESL teacher who is even in touch with the parents of her students; Justin Kiamos, elementary teacher whose dad subbed in the district; Christopher Larke, special ed teacher, also a soccer coach; Kelly Moore, elementary teacher who is herself a “lifelong learner”; Scott Oshrin, elementary teacher, a cheerleader for everyone of his kids; Brian Soper, social studies teacher, who coaches football and basketball, is a SMARTBoard guru who does “voice overs”; Holly Taplin, Foreign Language teacher who does formative assessments and maximizes instructional time.

Longtime board member Robin Dando said, “With Dr. Harrington at the helm, they only get tenure if they deserve it.” She said she is amazed at Dr. Harrington’s work ethic. She had great praise for the superintendent saying that she knows what is going on with the staff and takes anyone who needs improvement under her wing.

Trustee Keith Kowalsky said, “Tenure is taken very seriously and only those that meet the requirements for our district are tenured. I fully supported the teachers who received tenure.”

Past board member Dolores Greico spoke during the public comment time and said she wanted to commend the staff by the way they came out and supported each other at the meeting. “I’ve never seen that in another district. You have it here, you have a warm and caring school,” she said.

She added, “I commend Dr. Harrington. You know all the people. I’ve never seen that in another district. You are to be commended.”

Parent Gretchen Corwen, a teacher at C. W. Post, said she was thrilled with the school district teachers. “Thank you for everything you do,” she said. She had some of the tenured teachers in her classes and said they were incredible teachers. She added, “I think my son is getting the best!”

Kevin Corwen added, that he is an alumni of Dartmouth College, and evaluates students from Oyster Bay, Jericho, Syosset and Friends Academy for placement. He said, “The Oyster Bay students are outstanding.” In relation to the Roosevelt School he asked them to consider maintaining a small class size in spite of increasing enrollment.

Parent Harriet Dorfman too, commented on tenure. She said she had a personal relationship with one of the teachers who gives her child extra help in the mornings and e-mails homework assignments for the week on Mondays. She added praise for Kevin McCarthy, a teacher, who will be the president of SEPTA next year. “He got me to come back to SEPTA,” she said.

Continuing the discussion on staff, Dr. Harrington announced that Teacher of the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Mackenzie Savaiano has resigned to go for her doctorate at the University of Tennessee.