FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 16, 2009
Dr. Thomas P. Dolan
Named New Superintendent of Schools
"He always puts children first and is a
- Dr. Thomas (Tom) P. Dolan will be the next superintendent of
the Great Neck Public Schools, effective July 1, 2009, upon the
retirement of Dr. Ronald L. Friedman, who has been superintendent
since August 1, 2004. Dr. Dolan's appointment was approved at the
public session of the Board of Education on March 16.
Dr. Dolan is currently superintendent of the Franklin Square
Elementary School District, a position he has held since 2006. He
was the unanimous choice of Great Neck's five Board trustees. They
have been involved in the search since the fall of 2008 and have
carefully screened and interviewed numerous candidates.
Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz said that the Board
and Dr. Friedman had successfully completed an "intense and
challenging search process, encompassing numerous, thorough,
probing, and challenging interviews while seeking the right person
to become our next superintendent of schools. Dr. Dolan possesses
the qualities we are looking for: sincerity and compassion with a
goal to ensure that we meet the academic and emotional needs of
all students, an understanding of the fiscal challenges we face,
and a desire to work together with all facets of the community. We
are delighted to offer Dr. Dolan this position and we look forward
to working with him as he transitions to Great Neck and for many
years to come."
Dr. Dolan, an educator since 1978, has had a long and varied
career as superintendent, assistant superintendent, administrative
assistant to the superintendent, director of personnel, principal,
director of an alternative learning program, dean, and social
studies teacher. What emerges is the image of a smart, caring
individual who goes out of his way to ensure that every child
receives an excellent education. Though he acknowledges that it is
important to do well on standardized tests, his philosophy
embraces the belief that there is more to school than tests. In an
article in the Three Village Times (Dec. 15, 2000), Dr. Dolan,
while principal at the H. Carey Junior-Senior High School, is
quoted as saying, "We've done well on the tests and I'm glad for
that, but I think we've done even better on answering the
question, 'What's the right thing to do'.'' Furthermore, he lives
by the philosophy that it is vital to develop close-knit
relationships with staff, students, and parents. According to
those he has worked with in the past, Dr. Dolan goes far beyond
what is expected in this regard.
Among Dr. Dolan's heroes is the late
songwriter/singer/humanitarian Harry Chapin. In a recent "meet and
greet" session with Great Neck school district administrators, Dr.
Dolan related the Chapin song, "All My Life's a Circle," to the
fact that he had worked with some of those in the room at Carey
and was looking forward to working with them again in Great Neck.
Denise Desmond-Nolan, principal of the Richard S. Sherman-Great
Neck North Middle School, said, "At H. Frank Carey High School,
Dr. Dolan hired me for my first administrative position. He was
the principal and I became the English department chairperson. Tom
is a wonderful supervisor. I learned a tremendous amount from him.
I believe I became the administrator I am, in no small part, due
to his mentoring. He always puts children first and is a master
educator. I am delighted with his appointment and look forward to
once again working with him."
Similarly, Sharon Applebaum, assistant principal of the William A.
Shine-Great Neck South High School, said, "I enjoyed working as an
administrator (facilitator of the Bridge Program, a selective
college-preparatory program) at H. Frank Carey High School under
the leadership of Tom Dolan. Dr. Dolan was always available, a
problem solver, and a compassionate, articulate, and thoughtful
principal. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with
him again and wish him well in this new and exciting
Reflecting on his appointment, Dr. Dolan said, "I am honored to
have been chosen to serve a district as accomplished as Great
Neck. The community has demonstrated a support of their schools
that has resulted in many outstanding programs for children. I
look forward to being a part of your school district and
continuing its traditions of excellence. I thank the Board of
Education for this opportunity."
As the chief educational officer of the Franklin Square Elementary
School District, a diverse student body of some 2,000 children in
three schools, Dr. Dolan is understandably proud of its academic
success--100 percent of last year's sixth-graders passed the State
assessment in mathematics and at least 90 percent of all students
earned a 3 (the passing score) or a 4 (the highest score) on the
State tests. He is adept at balancing educational and fiscal
concerns, consistently producing school budgets that have been
well supported by resident taxpayers. He is pleased with the
beneficial relationships he has established with elected officials
in local, state, and federal governments.
Prior to becoming superintendent, Dr. Dolan was principal of Cold
Spring Harbor Junior-Senior High School from 2003-06. Among his
initiatives were the Cold Spring Harbor Lab Partnership Program
and the Performing Arts Center Committee. He oversaw the final
stage of a bond-issue renovation project at the school. He also
supervised an articulation program with the elementary principals
in the district. Because of his outstanding performance, he was
awarded tenure during his second year as principal, more than a
year earlier than the norm.
Before that, in January 2000, Dr. Dolan became assistant
superintendent for personnel in the Manhasset Public Schools, a
position he held until June 2003.
Sewanhaka Central School District
In 1992, Dr. Dolan was hired as an administrator in the Sewanhaka
Central School District (Elmont), where he remained for almost
eight years. In his first year there, he was administrative
assistant to the superintendent and director of personnel. In
these roles, he assisted the superintendent with supervision of
staff and community interaction, including training in shared
decision-making, and led personnel operations for the district. He
was also district hearing officer for matters concerning
discipline and residency.
In 1993, Dr. Dolan assumed the position of principal of the H.
Frank Carey Junior-Senior High School (Franklin Square), one of
five high schools in the Sewanhaka Central School District. Among
his many accomplishments were the implementation of CAPP
(Carey-Adelphi Partnership Program), a unique, award-winning
partnership with Adelphi University that enabled Carey seniors to
enroll in college courses on the Adelphi campus and earn credits
towards high school graduation and for college credit. CAPP was
recognized for its excellence by SAANYS (School Administrators'
Association New York State). Dr. Dolan was also responsible for
transforming the high school into an all-Regents school; creating
a middle school within a grades 7-12 building, thus enabling the
seventh- and eighth-graders to be provided with opportunities
similar to those in an actual middle school; and co-authoring a
report that led to the designation of Carey as a Blue Ribbon
School of Excellence by the US Department of Education.
Carey bestowed numerous Founders Day Awards on Dr. Dolan,
including the Joanne Bergbom Award, a humanitarian award given by
the Franklin Square Interschool PTA in recognition of service to
others. Dr. Dolan was the first recipient of the Bergbom Award,
established to honor Ms. Bergbom, a revered teacher and student
activities director at Carey. In the Three Village Times article
cited above, Ms. Bergbom is quoted as saying, "Anyone who believes
that one person can't make a difference has never met Thomas
At Carey, Dr. Dolan was actively involved with the Dads Club, a
group of fathers who build stage sets, fund raise, serve as
linesmen at football games, and virtually do anything that
benefits the school. He is now is a proud lifetime member of the
Carey Dads Club, which was also responsible for making him the
only adult honoree to be inducted into the all-student Carey Hall
The Early Years
Dr. Dolan's talents were recognized early on. In 1978, he
graduated from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) with a Bachelor of
Arts in history and psychology and was the recipient of the Winton
Tolles Prize in Education, awarded to the graduate who
demonstrates the greatest potential for a career in education. Dr.
Dolan's long career in education began soon after. For
two-and-a-half years, he taught all levels of social studies at
Canastota High School (Canastota, NY). He also advised student
government, coached baseball, bowling, and women's golf, and
participated on the Gifted and Talented Committee.
Dr. Dolan, a native Long Islander, moved back in 1981 to become
director of Hewlett High School's Alternative Learning Program,
dean of students, and a social studies teacher. Staff
supervision/development and student discipline/attendance were
among his many duties. He also coached baseball and women's
Graduate Degrees and Awards
Dr. Dolan holds a Doctor of Education degree from Hofstra
University and was a Doctoral Fellow during his matriculation. He
received a Professional Diploma in school administration and a
Master of Science degree in social studies education, both from
He has been published in the Congressional Record and has authored
curricular materials for WNET's The Mind. In 1998, he was named
Educator of the Year by 21st Century magazine, formerly published
in the New England area. He was also an Elmont Youth Outreach Man
of the Year. Dr. Dolan is a charter member of the Franklin Square
Rotary Club. He is a professional baseball umpire on the
collegiate and high school levels.
Currently, Dr. Dolan is an adjunct professor at Hofstra
University; formerly, he was an adjunct professor at Long Island
University'CW Post Campus and Queens College. He is one of two
Nassau Superintendents' Association (NSA) representatives to the
Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association. He is also a member of
the NSA Legislative Committee.
Dr. Dolan and Karen, his wife of 33 years, attended junior high
and high school together. In 1974, they went to the Oceanside High
School Prom and, as Dr. Dolan so aptly puts it, "since then, she
has been my most valued friend." The Dolans have five children
(Tom, Kelly, twins Brian and Matthew, and Michael) ranging in age
from 22-30. Dr. Dolan is a big Yankees fan who had the privilege
of umpiring High School All-Star Games at Yankee Stadium a few
years ago. He loves visiting stadiums in other cities as a great
way to see the country. He is an avid reader of a wide range of
books, enjoys the Broadway stage, and considers himself a Savoyard
(fan of Gilbert and Sullivan).
Over the next few months, Dr. Dolan is looking forward to visiting
every school in our district and to interacting with various
groups within the school and larger community.