It was an emotional evening at the Levittown Board of Education meeting on Wednesday as the school district bid a fond farewell to 26 retiring teachers, staff, and administrators, while welcoming in a new generation of educators to take their places.
A heartfelt ceremony was held for the outgoing staff, where each was called up one-by-one to receive a special plaque for their years of service. Noteworthy among the retirees this year were Abbey Road Elementary principal Joann Wallace with 10 years of service, and Summit Lane Elementary principal Sally Evans with a whopping 35 years.
Assistant Superintendent Darlene Rhatigan assured the departing staff that they would be sorely missed in the coming years, and wished them well as they beginning a new chapter of their lives.
“We have a fantastic district, and the reason why is the people...it’s all about the people we’re honoring tonight,” she said. “It’s all about the hard work, and the years of service, and the amazing staff that we have that makes it all work. It’s simple...you hire good people, you get good results.”
The Board also appointed a number of new personnel this evening, including the replacements for the outgoing Abbey Road and Summit Lane principals. It was officially announced at the meeting that Frank Mortillaro and George Maurer would be taking over as principals, although it was not announced which man would be would be heading up Abbey Road and which would be taking over at Summit Lane. The official announcement regarding that is expected soon, according to the Board.
Multiple outstanding students of the Levittown school district were also singled out this evening, staring with many high school athletes. Special recognition was given to MacArthur’s Annie Park, the Nassau County High School Boys Golf Champion, touted by Superintendent James Grossane as “the girl who beat the boys”; the MacArthur Girls Spring Track Team, who made All-County this year; and the MacArthur Girls Softball Team, who not only made All-County, but went on to become Long Island Champions as well.
Another student athlete honored was track phenom Ryan Billian of Division Avenue High School, who recently won the Division One New York State Track Championship in 110-meter hurdles. Track coach Patty "Coach K" Kurz-Kolodnicki had nothing but praise for her star pupil.
“During the winter state meet, Ryan unfortunately fell over the second-to-last hurdle and didn’t qualify...but he came back in the spring and things ended a little differently - he won!” she said. “Not only did that make him a state champion, but he also competed in the long jump that day, and was All-State in the long jump. So, congratulations to Ryan!”
Another presentation this evening was by the members of Division High School’s “Best Buddies” program, where student volunteers befriended and mentored fellow students with learning disabilities throughout the school year.
Superintendent James Grossane expressed his pride in the accomplishments and moral fiber of the students under his watch.
“If tonight’s presentation doesn’t show you what kind of school district Levittown is, then you’re missing something,” he said.
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