East Williston school superintendent retires; Gately named to post

Brandon Duffy
The East Williston Board of Education unanimously appointed the district’s Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Danielle M. Gately as the district’s next superintendent of schools, effective July 1, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the East Williston School District)

East Williston School Superintendent Elaine Kanas announced at a Board of Education meeting Monday night that she was retiring, effective July 1. 

Kanas became the second superintendent in recent weeks to announce a retirement on the North Shore, following Herricks’ Fino Celano. 

 Deputy Superintendent Danielle Gately will succeed her as superintendent. 

“It has been such a pleasure and honor to serve the wonderful students, families and staff of the East Williston School District,” Kanas said in a letter posted to the district’s website. “I look forward to working with all during the remaining months of this school year and I am excited to continue to work together with Dr. Gately as we set a path for a seamless transition to the 2022-23 school year.”

Chief among Kanas’ accomplishments were the development of two five-year strategic plans, 2013-18 and 2019-23, as well as the use of capital reserves to support long-range facility improvement which resulted in no additional cost to taxpayers.

District planning priorities were established by Kanas through a yearly program called “SMART,” an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based goals.

“Under Dr. Kanas’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, East Williston was one of the few school districts in the nation to achieve full in-person student attendance during the 2020-21 school year,” said board President Mark Kamberg. “While we regret her decision to retire, we understand and wish her well when she begins the next chapter of her life.”

He also noted that Kanas began student literacy screening programs to determine student need for acceleration or support.

Kanas began her role as superintendent in 2012, following four years at Valley Stream District 30 in the same post. Before working on Long Island, Kanas served as an assistant superintendent in upstate New York.

Gately, the district’s new superintendent, said she plans on pushing the district forward.  

“I look forward to working together with my colleagues, students, parents and the community to build on our district’s reputation of excellence,” Gately said in a statement. “I bring to this role the firm and lifelong conviction that education is the most dynamic and impactful work there is. Thank you again for this opportunity to build on our success and move our district into a future filled with limitless opportunities for student development and achievement.”

Kamberg said that the board has expressed the utmost confidence in Gately to flourish in her new role. 

“Dr. Gately, who currently serves as deputy superintendent, brings 20 years of professional leadership experience to her new role,” Kamberg said. “Her professional skills and personal characteristics coupled with her support of our district’s education philosophy and firsthand knowledge of our students and community contributed to the board’s unanimous decision.”

Before taking her current post, Gately served the East Williston district as chief information officer, director of secondary curriculum and social studies, director of district curriculum information and middle school student life. 

The Long Island native has  bachelor’s and master’s degree from Molloy College, a master’s degree from St. John’s University and a Doctor of Education degree from Concordia Lutheran University. 

During the time for public comment at the meeting several parents expressed concern about an antisemitic incident last week. Details about what happened were not available as a police investigation is underway.

One parent said that the incident involved four students attacking another student.

Kamberg responded that the board cannot comment on specifics of an ongoing investigation but it is being taken very seriously and appropriate action will be taken when all the facts are known.

John Nugent contributed reporting.

About the author

Brandon Duffy

Brandon Duffy is a New Jersey-based reporter for The Island Now, a position he assumed in July of 2021. He covers news out of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, the Willistons and Mineola, previously reporting on business and elections.
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