Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 28 August 2009 00:00
Last July, at its annual reorganization meeting, Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy was elected president of the Roslyn School District Board of Education. Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy replaced Dani Kline who served as BOE president from 2006 to 2009.
Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy served as vice president for the past school year, and so her election as president was seen as a logical promotion. Clifford Saffron was elected as the BOE’s new vice president. Earlier, Dr. Dan Brenner replaced Dr. John Richman as the district’s new superintendent.
Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy has served on the BOE since 2005. In an interview with The Roslyn News, she delivered an upbeat assessment on the status of the school district and its future prospects.
“This is a challenging time, but also a wonderful time, and I have never been more hopeful and optimistic about the future of our schools,” Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy said. “Under the leadership of our new superintendent, Dr. Dan Brenner, we are ushering in a new era of cooperation and collaboration and a sincere team spirit.”
The new president listed some specific projects, both educational and on the business side, that the BOE will be addressing.
“Our administrative staff is working on so many projects right now: We are seeking further innovations in technology, further enhancements of our facilities, further expansion of curriculum and instruction,” Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy stated. “In curriculum, Dr. Brenner continues to focus on differentiated instruction and professional development for our faculty so that the best practices will reach each child in the way best suited for each child. We are also focused on the business education program and providing internship opportunities for high school students; we are overseeing the implementation of changes in mathematics and foreign language and further development of the literacy program in the elementary schools; and we seek ever-greater integration of technology at all levels.
“In its business operations, Roslyn has emerged as a district that others now look to as a model of fiscal strength and strong business practices,” she continued. “In facilities, we are excited about the changes at the middle school, for example: the restoration of the athletic fields, the renovation of the auditorium, and a safer traffic flow through the campus. We are impressed by the progress of the energy performance contract, with new windows and lighting and a hundred other green, money-saving improvements throughout the district.”
Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy also praised her fellow board members and Dr. Brenner.
“My vision is that the Board and Administration will address all of the issues before us in an energetic, fully professional and collegial manner,” she said. “Since we reorganized in July this has clearly been the experience.”
She added that Dr. Brenner’s background in curriculum and instruction, plus that in psychology, “makes him uniquely and intuitively focused on the best interests of each child.”
“There is a palpable feeling of positive energy as we approach the opening of the new school year,” Ms. Waxman Ben-Levy said, concluding on an optimistic note. “We are an ever-evolving organization with a rich and deep history. We have a strong foundation to build on and we all have to be ready to face our challenges and meet them every day. We will do this with strong home-school partnerships and a spirit of collaboration and cooperation within the entire school community: among the board, administration, faculty and parents and greater community. When good people working together have their hearts in the task and their focus on the most worthy goal of what matters most for our children, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.”