Syosset Board of Education president Marc Herman surprised residents with his announcement that he will not seek reelection when his term expires next year. In addition, he announced he will not attempt re-appointment to the position of board president this year.
"I've decided that two decades is probably the limit that someone should sit on the board," said Herman with a smile. Herman, in addition to being a dentist with a practice in Woodbury, teaches and since his class size has doubled, the workload will be too much.
"I want to be around as a mentor to the new president and vice president, and I will still be here for this last year [on the board]," he said.
Two Board Members Say Goodbye
The Syosset Board of Education said farewell to two board members Monday night. Shari Dorfman and Sonia Rutigliano, at their last meeting as trustees, said their final goodbyes to the positions they have held so dear.
"Unbeknownst to my husband, I fell in love…27 years later, I am still in love with the district," said Sonia Rutigliano, who .
"For me, this was such a great honor and one that I took seriously. It has been an honor and a pleasure," she said, holding back tears.
"The job of a board member is very simple," said Dorfman, who didn't run for re-election in May. "Support the administrators, whom you trust, so they can provide the very best possible education for the next generation."
Herman congratulated the two as they moved on from the board, and instructed them to take time to think, read, play, be quiet, be aware, laugh, love and be loved.
"We wish you well in your future endeavors," he said. "We hope to see you around these halls in the future."
Superintendent Carole Hankin, who avoided speaking about Herman because she said she wouldn't be able to stop, also commended the two.
"They're honest, and that's not an easy word…The integrity of these two is unbelievable to me."
Hankin continued by calling calling Dorfman and Rutigliano best friend material and the "type of people you want in your life."
"And now that you're not on the board anymore, we're going out to lunch," she joked, referring to her requirement as a superintendent to maintain a professional relationship with the board.
Dorfman and Rutigliano were given several standing ovations by attendants of the meeting.
Audience to the Public Opened for All Comments
The board announced that the audience to the public will now be open to questions on and off the agenda. Public comments were previously restricted to agenda items.
One resident took this opportunity to question the controversial "robo-call" that was sent to district parents the evening before the May 15 election.
"A lot of us received phone calls while we were at work," said Robin Grossman, referring to the message informing residents of the alleged theft of election documents by Jeffrey Lafazan, father of newly elected board member Josh Lafazan. "We were under the impression it was for the unfortunate bomb threats or immediate closings…and what came through was something that was not detrimental to the district."
The board did not comment further on the situation.
Also during audience to the public, principal James Kassenbaum thanked and commended the board and district on their giving Syosset administrators the resources to do their jobs well.
"My colleagues [in other districts] are sometimes cutting programs and losing staff members," said Kassenbaum. "And we're not."
Kassenbaum also took a moment to thank Rutigliano and Dorfman for their service to the district.
"I knew you as parents at Thompson, you trust your administrators, and all of you have, allowing all of us to do our jobs."