Dr. Thomas P. Dolan
Named New Superintendent of Schools

"He always puts children first and is a master educator."

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 endeavor."

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 Administrator

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 Dolan."

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 of Fame.

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 soccer.

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 Queens College.

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.