Letter to the Editor: Board of Education Elections


Support Rebecca Sassoni and Joanne Chan for GN School Board

Like many of you, I moved from NYC to Great Neck 20 years ago because of the
location, charm, and more importantly, for the public schools. This is the reason
why I am compelled to write this letter, to share what I know about Rebecca
Sassouni and Joanne Chan, so that you understand why Great Neck needs them as
our Board of Education (BOE) trustees if we want to preserve and improve the
quality of our public schools.

I have known Rebecca since my kids entered middle school. For the past 12 years
Rebecca has impressed me by her continued mission to serve the schools and
community. Rebecca has worn many hats: President of SHAI, UPTC VP, Temple
Israel board member, PTO executive boards, Shared Decision Chair at North High,
Citizens Advisory Committee, and of course, she is currently our BOE president.
When Rebecca chaired Shared Decision at North High, I was the North High PTO
co-president. Rebecca ran the Shared meetings effectively and efficiently,
facilitating meaningful conversation between the administration, faculty, parents,
and student leaders. She was respected and was a pleasure to work with. In her
other leadership roles, Rebecca has always worked to foster community and has
even collaborated with Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) for many events
and really supported the diversity of Great Neck.

Rebecca’s knowledge of how the Great Neck school system works goes way back.
Rebecca’s husband attended the GNPS and as did all her 4 children. Now, after
serving as BOE trustee since 2017 and then as president since 2021, she has
gained experience needed to guide our schools through a time where we are
searching for a new superintendent, which will shape the type of education our
children will receive for the next decade. Great Neck is evolving, technology is
changing the way our children learn, and there are so many more unforeseeable
issues that will arise. That is why we need Rebecca’s institutional knowledge and
experience coupled with her intelligence, ability to collaborate and communicate,
to lead and navigate the GNPS on a successful path.

Joanne was one of the first people I met in Great Neck back in 2003. Our children
attended Great Neck Community School (before Parkville was available) and
became best friends. From Pre-K level through high school, Joanne has always
been involved in our schools. She has served on the boards of many PTOs,
advisory boards, selection committees, and even as UPTC Co-President. With 4
kids going through the Great Neck school system and very soon to be an empty
nester, Joanne has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge of the intricate
workings of our education system. She can step into the role of BOE trustee with
real time information as to what our kids are seeing, going though, talking about,
are stressed about, and how to best prepare them for college…because her
children are still in or have just recently graduated from the schools.

Joanne is a creative thinker. She is logical, methodical and does her homework.
Joanne listens, she is fair, honest, responsible and leads with integrity. Joanne
carries an engineering degree from Columbia University and an MBA from NYU.
She will enhance the board as she can lead on issues regarding STEM, AI, and IT.
In our 20 years of friendship, I have learned that Joanne is a very grateful person
and that her desire to step up to serve on the BOE is purely out of her sincere
gratitude to give back to Great Neck.

On a personal note, I want to thank Joanne for empowering me to step up and
step into the role of PTO president at North High 7 years ago. Being the first Asian
person to fill that role at North made the role more daunting. However, Joanne
led by example and took on the role of UPTC Co-President. As a result of her being
a pioneer for the Asian community and her leadership ability, Joanne has caused a
ripple effect, where today, many Asian parents actively participate, hold PTO
positions, become involved in all aspects of our community and contribute daily to
make Great Neck better. Thank you Joanne for being my role model and my

Both Rebecca and Joanne are extremely strong, intelligent, logical leaders who
inspire. They are good listeners and deal with people fairly. Yet, with all their
education, knowledge and experience, they are humble and honest. Joanne has
an in-depth knowledge of the intricate workings of the South schools and Rebecca
with the North schools. (With each of their 4 children matriculating through 12
years of the GNPS, that gives them a collective 96 years of experience!!) Having
both these amazing women on the BOE will allow them to truly make decisions
that will address the nuances of both sides of town. Rebecca and Joanne are
exceptional women in their careers, as moms, parent leaders, and community
builders. We are lucky that such accomplished and experienced people are willing
to step up into the BOE trustee role. While the BOE seats are contested, when it
comes to knowledge and experience, there is no contest. The best candidates to
fill our BOE seats are Rebecca and Joanne!

-Joyce Cheung

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