I am a candidate for the Board of Education seat that was held so honorably by Lawrence Gross for over three decades. I appreciate his service to the community and his commitment to upholding the high standards of the Great Neck schools.
My professional life has been devoted to education. I began my teaching career in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in 1970, and taught there for 14 years in difficult conditions, with large class size, few resources and an economically disadvantaged population. It was quite challenging, but an invaluable experience. It taught me how to teach under the most adverse circumstances, and to better understand the needs of students who attend school with multiple problems and disadvantages.
In 1985, I was fortunate to get a job teaching at the Lakeville School, just blocks from my Little Neck home at the time, going from overcrowded, underserved classes to smaller classes with an abundance of resources. In 1986, my wife, Joan, and I moved just a few blocks east so that our son, then 5 years old, and infant daughter could attend the Great Neck schools.
I taught fifth grade for four years at Lakeville before moving on to South Middle. At Lakeville, I noted that there were a number of students with high math aptitude who were not being sufficiently challenged by the curriculum. With the encouragement of the principal, Barbara Raber, I designed an after-school math enrichment course for fifth graders, as well as summer school classes in problem-solving. I taught both for more than 20 years.
I taught sixth-grade math, social studies and English at South Middle from 1989 until my retirement in 2010. I was involved in numerous committees, including selection and curriculum-writing committees, and gave in-service courses to teachers in writing, math and educational technology. I attended numerous workshops and conferences, and twice gave presentations at LIMACON, the largest regional math conference.
After my retirement in 2010, I worked as a per diem substitute and continued to teach summer school. I also worked for three years as a consultant to the New York City schools, giving professional development and doing teacher evaluation in inner-city schools.
As a parent, I am grateful for the opportunities that Great Neck provided for our two children. My wife and I attended countless sporting events, concerts, plays and other events; we appreciate the rich diversity of activities as well as the excellent education that our children received.
We are now going through a time of rapid change, technologically, educationally and politically, and face many challenges in the years ahead. How do we best educate our children in a technologically dominated environment, where “fake news,” alternative facts and misinformation are so prevalent? How do we reach children who are plugged in to their cell phones, computers and video games, and get past the constant electronic noise and chatter? How do we resist the attacks on public education?
It is an exciting but uncertain time in education. I hope to serve the community as a member of the board and help navigate our educational system through these many challenges.
—Submitted by the candidate
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