Dr. Teresa Prendergast--New Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Teresa Prendergast will be the next superintendent of the Great Neck Public Schools, effective July 15, 2015. Dr. Thomas Dolan is retiring, effective July 31, 2015. Dr. Prendergast's appointment was approved at the public session of the Board of Education on March 30. She will become Great Neck's 11th superintendent and the second woman to hold that position. (Great Neck's first superintendent was also a woman--Elise M. Gignoux served from 1922-24.)
At the March meeting, Board President Barbara Berkowitz explained the process of choosing Dr. Prendergast. "The Board conducted rigorous interviews, comprised of hours of questioning and probing, followed by lengthy discussions and debates. The Board made a pledge to you last November, and often since then, that we would not worry about time constraints, that we would absolutely not settle, and that we were dedicated to our responsibility to recruit the best 'fit' for this position in this community. We enthusiastically proclaim that we have fulfilled and accomplished our mission." Mrs. Berkowitz then introduced Dr. Prendergast, who was welcomed with a standing ovation by everyone in the room.
Reflecting on her appointment, Dr. Prendergast said, "I am honored to have been selected to lead the Great Neck School District as superintendent, and I look forward to working with members of the Board of Education, school administrators, teachers, parents, and support staff. I know I will follow in the footsteps of tremendous leaders, great people who have come before me. Becoming a school superintendent provides the greatest opportunity to positively impact the lives of students. It is my hope that by working collaboratively with the members of the school community--communicating, trusting, listening--we may continue to build upon Great Neck's outstanding tradition of excellence."
Dr. Prendergast is currently assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Garden City Public Schools, a position she has held since 2006. An educator since 1987, she has had a varied career as assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, dean, and teacher. Prior to Garden City, Dr. Prendergast held two positions in the Lynbrook Public Schools. From 2004-06, she was assistant superintendent for curriculum and personnel, and from 2000-04, she was principal of the Lynbrook South Middle School. In 2006, she received the Lynbrook Public Schools Superintendent's Honor Roll Award. At the Woodmere Middle School, Dr. Prendergast held three positions. From 1995-2000, she was assistant principal; from 1994-2000, she was mathematics chairperson; and from January-June 1995, she was a teaching dean, filling an unexpected mid-year vacancy. From 1987-1994, Dr. Prendergast worked in the NYC Board of Education District 29Q Susan B. Anthony Intermediate School 238, first as a mathematics teacher and then as the sixth-grade dean of students.
Dr. Prendergast holds a Doctor of Education in educational administration and supervision, and a Professional Diploma in educational supervision and administration, both from St. John's University. Her Master of Science degree in mathematics education, grades 7-12, is from CUNY Lehman College. Her Bachelor of Science in elementary education, nursery-grade 6, and mathematics, grades 7-9, is also from St. John's. She has an Associate in Applied Science degree from Pace University.
In 2014, Dr. Prendergast participated in the select Future Superintendents Academy, a program sponsored by the NYS Council of School Superintendents. Dr. Prendergast is a member of several professional associations, including Nassau Association of District Curriculum Officials and American Association of School Administrators. She is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional organization for educators, and a recipient of the NYS PTA Honorary Life Membership Award.
Dr. Prendergast has been happily married for 26 years and has three grown children. She is an avid New York Mets fan and enjoys reading and traveling, spending her spare time with family and friends, and solving Sudoku "number place" puzzles--undoubtedly harkening back to her many years as a math teacher.
The district is preparing opportunities to greet Dr. Prendergast, who wants to get to know Great Neck and attend events prior to coming here in July. Mrs. Berkowitz, echoing remarks she made at the Board meeting, said she knows that all members of the community congratulate Dr. Prendergast and look forward to assisting and working with her to ensure her success!