Sewanhaka teachers and staff return to school

The Island Now
Floral Park Memorial High School Teacher of the Year Gina D’Ammassa is pictured with Principal Maria Hecht. (Photo courtesy of the Sewanhaka Central High School District)

The Sewanhaka Central High School District welcomed its teaching staff back to school on Sept. 3 in the auditorium at Sewanhaka High School. The ceremony began with H. Frank Carey marching band members performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Born This Way,” under the guidance of teacher and marching band director Katie LoRusso.

Educators from around the district received inspiration from building leaders, including Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel and Special Education Services Regina Agrusa, whose remarks focused on hope, possibility and the promise of building relationships with students during the upcoming school year.

“Positive relationships with our students will foster learning and will promote kindness, empathy and a caring inclusive school,” Agrusa said. “After students leave your classroom, they may not remember everything you taught them, but, trust me, they will always remember how they felt in your class.”

The professional staff also heard from Board of Education President David Del Santo, Sewanhaka Federation of Teachers President Joseph Grossi and Sewanhaka Central Council of PTAs President Marie Saint Vil.

The school communities celebrated staff members with 25 years of service to the district. Congratulations to Elmont Memorial cook manager Anna Benedetto and guidance counselor Thomas Magno; Floral Park Memorial science teacher Kurt Brechtlein, Chairperson of Guidance Dr. Samine Charles-Pierre, maintainer James Colban, social studies teacher Carolyn Faggioni and art teacher Susan Lucey; H. Frank Carey cook manager Angelina Mangino; New Hyde Park Memorial evening cleaner Ernst Fenelon and chairperson of music Noel Monat and Sewanhaka High School ENL teacher Bonnie Schriro.

Recipients of the Superintendent’s Teacher of the Year award – Elmont Memorial English teacher Amy Giorgio, Floral Park Memorial world languages teacher Gina D’Ammassa, H. Frank Carey mathematics teacher Meghan Parenteau, New Hyde Park Memorial English teacher Mary Kay Mannle and Sewanhaka art teacher Allison Filippone – were also recognized.

New Superintendent of Schools James Grossane closed the ceremony by expressing his appreciation for the fine teaching that goes on in the district.

“When you’ve been a superintendent for a while and searches start, you have a bit of a say of where you might want to work next,” Dr. Grossane said. “I just want to make it abundantly clear to you that I very specifically chose to only interview in one place last year. I find it so rewarding to have the opportunity to work with you all.”

He also encouraged faculty members to inspire their students. “We all had someone who inspired us to be a teacher, so be that teacher. Be that teacher that students will talk about when we nominate you to be the teacher of the year.”

Submitted by the Sewanhaka Central High School District

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