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Lynbrook School Community Rallies to Keep Burak in Superintendent Role

Residents and faculty push for Interim Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak to get new schools chief position.

The Lynbrook school district is searching for a new superintendent to replace the late Dr. Santo Barbarino and has even hired a firm of specialists to help. But according to former Lynbrook Board of Education Trustee David Hermann, "The best candidate for the job already works here in Lynbrook."

Hermann is referring to Dr. Melissa Burak. He was one of five people who spoke up Tuesday night at a forum the Lynbrook school board held to collect feedback from the community regarding the superintendent search. All of them expressed their support for Burak to become the new schools chief.

The school board unanimously appointed Burak, a Lynbrook resident who had been serving as the district's assistant superintendent of business, to the interim superintendent post at its Sept. 5 meeting after Dr. Barbarino suddenly passed away in late August. Months before he suffered a fatal heart attack though, Dr. Barbarino had expressed to the board his plans to retire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year so they had contacted School Leadership, LLC, a highly respected executive search firm, to engage in preliminary discussions regarding a search for a new superintendent. Dr. B's death has expedited the search for his replacement.

In addition to Tuesday's forum, School Leadership has been conducting focus groups and surveying the school community about what they would want in a new superintendent, but so far, what they've been hearing most from those participating in the discussion is a resounding call for Dr. Burak's temporary appointment to become a permanent one.

A Facebook page, titled "Support Dr. Burak as Lynbrook Superintendent," has even popped up and has garnered more than 80 fans so far.

"The community needs to let the Board of Education know that we support Dr. Melissa Burak as Superintendent of Schools ... The future of the Lynbrook School District depends on this major decision. Let's not allow an outside representative tell us what is best for our children," wrote the page's moderator, encouraging supporters to send letters to the Board of Education.

"I see no reason why the district needs to waste money on a firm to do the hiring, when the most qualified person is right underneath their noses!"  Lisa Cornicello-Renz wrote on the page.

"There is not one person I can think of who better fits this position than Dr. Burak," added Donna Bastanzio Smith. "It seems to me that our time and our money would be better spent where it is really needed."

Many of Burak's supporters touted her excellent understanding of the district's policies and procedures, her leadership abilities, her responsiveness, her experience teaching in the Lynbrook school district at both Marion Street School and the High School before being promoted to the administration, and her ties to the community as a resident.

"Frankly, I dont think I have met another person who works so hard," wrote Julie Bergin, a parent with students in the district. "She is a Lynbrook resident, who obviously cares a great deal about the place, and those in it!"

To express your thoughts to the Lynbrook school district regarding the superintendent search, visit www.lynbrook.k12.ny.us to fill out the Lynbrook UFSD Superintendent Search Questionnaire before Oct. 26. You may return it either directly to School Leadership, LLC or to District Clerk Elizabeth Mueller at the district's administration office located at 111 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook, NY 11563.

Tom Garrett October 22, 2012 at 08:16 PM
OO, All of what you said are ALL the reasons the district need not look any further we have the perfect replacement for Dr. B, Dr. B! As for Phill, Alan, Judith and their other posting personalities they do not and can not understand the qualities, integrity, knowledge the Dr. B brings to the table and most of all the fact that she understands and has experience in ALL facets of the Educational process from top to bottom. Btw: your doing it again @ you just forgot the - , hehehehe
Objective Observer October 22, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Hello Judith Clearly you did not read the Newsweek article very carefully. There almost 25,000 high schools in the United States. In Newsweek's list of the top 1000 high schools in the United States, Lynbrook was ranked 670. That puts us in the top 3% of the high schools in the entire United States. In addition, if you had checked carefully, the top high are either highly specialized (Bronx High School for the Sciences) and have a strict admission requuirement or are in generally upscale high average income areas (Great Neck, Manhassett, Locust Valley, Bergin County, Rye, Jericho...) It appears demographics DO have an impact.
Mark reyes October 22, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Judith, I attended 2 board meetings last year and one this year. Where are all the concerned people so worried about the school district? There were the same 25-30 there every time I went. Maybe they're not there becasue they're satisfied with whats going on.
Tom Garrett October 22, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Judith, Phill, Alan and your other multiple personalities, Heheee, nothing like getting fact checked to spoil an ill-conceived comment, thought we were a Second Rate district?? Top 3% in the Country sounds pretty STOUT to me, not that I needed a “Newsweek National Ranking Article” to know what we have. The sad part is your attention to detail is juvenile, you put no thought into your comments and frankly you haven’t a clue about what you’re talking about, which is the only reason why I continued to respond to you. It is now obvious to anyone that’s reads this thread, you haven’t a care what is in the best interest of our School District........ Arrivederci "@-"
ansan February 14, 2013 at 04:38 AM
They hired an assistant superintendent that gets paid $1000 a day!!! We are just making these people rich with our hard earned money with the illusion that we are providing an excellent education to our children. But we are not! We are being robbed blindly. My son can't barely spell in 8th grade!!! It is all wrapped in hypocrisy and small town politics. Wake up folks!!! They are getting paid big bucks here!! More accountability please!!! The least we must do is ASK what she has to offer!! More of the same. No thank you! No thank you! We deserve more, our children deserve more!!!! We work hard, not to pay HIGH HIGH taxes and see our money wasted away. We can do better folks! We should do better. This is an international, global economy. Kids are now competing for jobs with kids from all over the world. Are our kids really well prepared?? I have my doubts.

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