Alice Kasten, Susan Lopatkin and Lori Beth Schwartz of Great Neck were honored during a recent celebration of Women’s History Month at the Town of North Hempstead’s 23rd Annual May W. Newburger Women’s Roll of Honor Breakfast at the Clubhouse at Harbor Links in Port Washington.
This year, 13 women from North Hempstead, who are involved in their local school districts, religious institutions, local village government, charities and civic groups, were chosen. The honorees’ names now adorn a plaque in town hall beside the names of past years’ recipients.
Jackie Caines of Westbury; Mary Campbell of Westbury; Isma Chaudhry of Manhasset; Elizabeth Parrella of Manhasset; Mary Frances Jeffrey of Plandome Heights; Lauren Furst of Roslyn Heights; Heather Schwartz of Roslyn Heights; Annette Oestreich of Sands Point; Ellen Ritz of East Williston; and Karen Sloan of Port Washington were also honored.
“For 23 years, North Hempstead has recognized inspirational women who are trailblazers in their local communities,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “Each of our honorees have gone above and beyond and truly made a difference in their neighborhood. We are fortunate to call these honorees part of our North Hempstead family.” Bosworth continued, “We are so proud that these remarkable women are a part of our town and this event is our opportunity to thank them for their hard work and dedication to their communities.”
Town Clerk and Event Chairperson Wayne Wink added, “I am proud to honor these outstanding women for their great contributions to North Hempstead. Each of these women reflects the best that our communities have to offer and they deserve to be recognized for their efforts. [These] 13 extraordinary women…have made a positive impact on the lives of so many throughout the Town of North Hempstead,” he continued. “I am so proud of these women and what they continue to accomplish to make North Hempstead an outstanding place in which to live.”
May W. Newburger, the first female supervisor for the Town of North Hempstead, started the Women’s Roll of Honor Breakfast in 1994 to commemorate women in the North Hempstead community who went above and beyond and contributed to the lives of the people around them in an incredible way, such as those who have made a contribution to their community, or have accomplished a significant achievement through public or private efforts.
As is tradition, Shirley Romaine chose a reading to inspire the honorees and guests. This year, she read two Maya Angelou poems, “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still I Rise.”
These women are true inspirations.
Lori Beth Schwartz was born in Queens, and after attending SUNY New Paltz, she started her own manufacturing company to produce cast and crew jackets for the entertainment, corporate promotional and sports industries, which she subsequently sold.
In 1996, she married David Schwartz, a financial consultant based in Great Neck, where they are raising their two children, Kalli Ruth and Reuben.
Schwartz served on the board of the East Harlem Tutorial Program after volunteering as a tutor for many years. She is active in Hadassah, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Pen Bay Hospital, Life Flight of Maine, Temple Beth-El, served on PTA executive boards of Saddle Rock, JFK, North Middle School and North High School, and was president of United Parent Teacher Council of Great Neck.
Schwartz has committed herself to bringing the residents of the Great Neck community closer together in meaningful ways. In addition to lobbying for the most vulnerable student populations, during her tenure as president of UPTC, she prioritized revitalizing the Total Community Involvement Committee to promote positive cross-cultural conversations. She encouraged cosponsored events with local civic organizations such as SHAI (Sephardic Heritage Alliance, Inc.) and The Great Neck Chinese Association. She helped organize events that featured Chinese-American youth participating at a Yom HaShoa service at Temple Beth-El, a Sisterhood retreat that included voices from Latina, Chinese, Taiwanese, Russian and Persian women, and a Forgiveness event that brought together the relatives of the victims of the Charleston shooting with local clergy from churches, mosques and synagogues, and schools.
Schwartz dedicated this award to the memory of Lily Wang.
Susan Lopatkin, a resident of the Village of Kensington since 1994 who has served as mayor since 2008, was previously the chairperson of the zoning board, deputy mayor, pool commissioner and executive board member of the Kensington Civic Organization. She currently serves as the vice president of the Great Neck Village Officials Association, having served previously as its president, and is on the board of directors of the Water Authority of Great Neck North.
Lopatkin’s tenure as mayor is marked by her strong belief in fiscal conservatism. Her achievements include a village centennial celebration, replacing all village street and entrance signs with a uniform design, restoration of the iconic Kensington gates, repaving all roads, upgrading the pool facility and overhauling the zoning code and building department policies—and all were accomplished within the New York State mandated
2-percent tax cap.
Lopatkin is active at Temple Israel of Great Neck, where she has chaired the finance committee for eight years, had an adult bat mitzvah in 2004, is a regular synagogue attendee and has spearheaded many congregational programs. Professionally, she is the principal of her own firm, Comprehensive Financial Strategies, holds insurance and securities licenses, and is a Certified Financial Planner and CPA. She is grateful to her husband, Bob, of 30 years, for his unwavering support of her many activities and is the proud mother of daughters Stefanie and Allison.
Alice Kasten is the president of the Great Neck Historical Society, where she was a founding member of the board of directors. She has addressed many local groups with talks about the history of Great Neck, and is working hard to help preserve Stepping Stones Lighthouse in conjunction with the Town of North Hempstead. She is coauthor of the book Great Neck (Images of America). Her interest in Great Neck history grew out of her love for historical ephemera, which she collects and sells.
For 20 years, Kasten served on the board of CLASP Children’s Center. She’s currently on the board of the New York State Science Olympiad, and has coordinated the Middle School Regional Competitions in New York City for more than 20 years.
Professionally, Kasten taught Regents science for 34 years, also helping to create the New York State Regents Exam in earth science for many of those years. After retiring from the New York City school system, she worked as a science consultant for a textbook company and as a mentor for teachers and science departments in need of support. Kasten currently supervises science student-teachers as an adjunct for one of the branches of the state university.
We are lucky to have these women improving our community.