The Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education held its organizational meeting on July 5 to swear in the newly elected board officers and several district-wide positions for the upcoming school year.
The meeting began with Barbara Berkowitz and Donald Ashkenase, who were reelected to three-year terms on the board in May, taking the oath of office and reaffirming their commitment.
Ashkenase will begin his 13th term, setting a new record for service on the Great Neck Board of Education. As his 37th year on the board commences, Ashkenase surpasses Lawrence Gross as the longest-serving board member in the district’s 204-year history.
His unparalleled service “is indicative of how much Don cares for this community,” said Berkowitz.
The next item of business was the selection of board officers for the 2018–19 school year. The board unanimously voted for Berkowitz and Ashkenase to retain their positions as president and vice president, respectively.
This will be Berkowitz’s 13th straight year in this leadership role, which makes her the longest consecutively serving president of the Great Neck Board of Education.
Ashkenase nominated Berkowitz, citing the district’s growth and success during her tenure as president.
“Her recommendations are so compelling and always in the best interest of the Great Neck Public Schools,” said Ashkenase, who added that the community benefits from Berkowitz’s recollection of events from her 27 years of service on the board.
Berkowitz applauded Trustees Rebecca Sassouni and Jeffrey Shi on the successful completion of their first year on the board and thanked Trustee Donna Peirez for her continued service to the district.
Berkowitz discussed how the entire board has a mutual respect for one another, even when they express differing opinions.
“We are up to the challenges that face us because of our love for this district,” said the board president. “The collaborative nature of this board is what makes us so successful.”
In accordance with New York State law, several others also took the oath of office during the meeting to continue in their respective positions for the 2018–19 school year. Dr. Teresa Prendergast was sworn in as superintendent of schools; Jacqueline Lizza was sworn in as district clerk; and Carol A. Blach was sworn in as the district treasurer.