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Board Officers Elected, District Positions Appointed at Organizational Meeting

The Great Neck Board of Education held their Organizational Meeting on July 5. This annual meeting establishes Board officers and several district-wide positions for the upcoming school year.

At the start of the meeting, Barbara Berkowitz and Donald Ashkenase took the oath of office and reaffirmed their commitment to serve the Great Neck Public Schools to the best of their abilities as members of the Board of Education. Both Ms. Berkowitz and Mr. Ashkenase were re-elected by the community in May to serve a three-year term on the Board.

This is Mr. Ashkenase’s thirteenth term, and he has set a new record for service on the Great Neck Board of Education. As he begins his 36th year on the Board, Mr. Ashkenase surpasses Lawrence Gross as the longest-serving Board member in the district’s 204-year history. According to Ms. Berkowitz, his unparalleled service “is indicative of how much Don cares for this community.”

The next item of business was the selection of Board officers for the 2018-19 school year. The Board unanimously voted for Ms. Berkowitz and Mr. Ashkenase to retain their positions as President and Vice President, respectively.

The 2018-19 school year is Ms. Berkowitz’s thirteenth straight year in this leadership role, which makes her the longest consecutively serving President of the Great Neck Board of Education. Mr. Ashkenase nominated Ms. 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.” Mr. Ashkenase added that the community benefits from Ms. Berkowitz’s recollection of events from her 27 years of service on the Board.

Ms. Berkowitz applauded Trustees Rebecca Sassouni and Jeffrey Shi on the successful completion of their first year on the Board, and she thanked Trustee Donna Peirez for her continued service to the district. Ms. Berkowitz said 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…The collaborative nature of this Board is what makes us so successful.”

During the Organizational Meeting, several other individuals took the oath of office to continue in their respective positions. In accordance with New York State law, 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 for the 2018-19 school year.