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Herman Steps Down As Syosset BOE President

Student athletes honored while board announces revised Audience to the Public policy

Citing increased professional obligations, Dr. Marc Herman stepped down as Syosset Board of Education president midway through the Monday, June 4, meeting at South Woods Middle School. Herman, a 19-year member of the board, will finish the remaining year of his term as a trustee. The new president will be announced at the board’s next meeting, set for July 2 at 8 p.m.

“I have started (pursuing) my master’s degree in healthcare ethics,” Herman said. “I also teach at North Shore University Hospital...Normally we have 10 residents at North Shore, but now we’ve combined with LIJ, so I’ll be teaching 20 residents. I’m in charge of the general dentistry clinic and practice management. Because of those things, I’ve decided that two decades is probably the limit that someone should sit on the board.”

Herman said that he wanted to be able to mentor the new president and vice-president during the final year of his term.

“When I informed the board about this, they were very gracious about my time commitments,” Herman said. “I appreciate their support.”

Herman’s final meeting as president was not without controversy. During public session, a Jericho resident asked the board about the purpose of a robo-call received by district parents on May 14. The robo-call accused Jeffery Lafazan, father of board member-elect Josh Lafazan, of removing district election original records.

The resident, who claimed she was speaking for “many people who are not here,” detailed her dismay that the system would be used for non-emergency situations.

“A lot of us were under the impression that (the robo-call) was for an unfortunate bomb threat,” the resident said. “A lot of us received those phone calls while we were at work and we were scared. What came through was not something that was detrimental to the children of the district. We’d like to know who authorized it, how it got authorized, and how it came about.”

The resident’s question was greeted with silence from all members of the board. Audience members exchanged quizzical looks as the resident returned to her seat without her question being answered or acknowledged. Herman later told the Tribune that the board has been advised by lawyers not to discuss the robo-call incident.

Nevertheless, the board announced that they have changed their Audience to the Public policy so that questions not related to the evening’s agenda may be asked, something many residents have requested over the past year.         

The meeting also marked the final public session for trustees Shari Dorfman and Sonia Rutigliano. Rutigliano was one of two candidates defeated in last month’s election.

“You should take pride and satisfaction in (being) part of making the system grow, making it one of the best in the nation, and supporting the vital endeavor of ensuring a viable future for our students,” Herman told the two outgoing trustees.

In her final address, Rutigliano spoke about her love of the district and career in the PTA. “When I became a trustee, I felt (like) the luckiest person in the world,” she said. “For me, this was such a great honor and one that I took seriously.”

Dorfman’s address covered similar themes. “It has been a privilege for me to serve on this board of education for the past 12 years,” she said. “In Syosset, our children come to school every day and receive unparalleled nurture and care and excellent academic instruction.”

Dorfman continued, “For as long as I’ve been on the board, Syosset has had one goal – excellence. This is based on the vision of our Superintendent, Dr. (Carole) Hankin. As a board member, I have been proud to serve under her leadership.”

As part of her monthly report, Hankin revealed that The Washington Post has named Syosset High School as one of the top schools in the nation for providing students with access to numerous advanced courses.  

Prior to the business portion of the meeting, Syosset elementary school students presented inventions they created as part of the annual Invention Convention. Ideas included a waterbed for dogs, a GPS for dogs, and a massaging backpack.

High school athletes were also honored. One hundred and fifty Syosset student-athletes were given awards for their participation during the winter and spring seasons. That number is the highest in the history of the school, according to athletic director Richard Shaub. Ten Syosset Braves athletic teams won championships in 2011-2012 and 12 students won either county or state individual championships, according to Shaub.