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Board renames school after late Nassau legislator Judy Jacobs

Linda Jacobs-Geller smiles as she hugs Plainview-Old Bethpage

Linda Jacobs-Geller smiles as she hugs Plainview-Old Bethpage School Board Trustee Ronelle Hershkowitz after the board voted unanimously Monday night, Dec. 5, 2016, to rename a district school after her mother, longtime Nassau legislator Judy Jacobs, who died in September at 77. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education on Monday night unanimously voted to rename Parkway Elementary School in honor of longtime Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs.

Jacobs, who died in September at age 77. She was an 11-term Democrat representing Woodbury at the time of her death.

The 7-0 vote represented the first time in the district’s history that the board named a school after an elected official, said President Debbie Bernstein.

“She’s a beautiful, beautiful woman, legislator and friend,” Bernstein said before the board voted.

At the meeting, members of Jacobs’ family, her legislative colleagues, and others who were close to her, took turns sharing heartfelt stories about the elected leader.

“I don’t think there was ever a closer pair of sisters,” said Jacobs’ sibling Lois Krugman, 71, of Port Jefferson Station.

Krugman called the tribute fitting and said “what you are doing for my family is just fabulous.”

Jacobs served on the county legislature since its formation in 1996.

She was diagnosed in May with myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder and form of cancer, her family has said.

In the resolution vote at Monday’s monthly meeting, the board changed the school’s name to Judy Jacobs Parkway Elementary School.

Jacobs, a former teacher in the Elmont school district, was elected to the legislature in 1996.

She quickly took a leadership role on several issues facing the legislature and became its presiding officer in 2000 after Democrats won the majority.

She served as legislative leader through 2008.

Before her election, Jacobs had established herself as a civic leader and community activist in Oyster Bay.

In a short video played before the vote, Jacob was shown working in the legislature, reading to students, posing with Hillary Clinton, and raising a glass of wine in a toast.

Superintendent Lorna Lewis told the audience of how Jacobs was there for her when she was hospitalized last year.

“Judy stayed in constant contact with me, trying to navigate my rehabilitation,” Lewis said. “She was my advocate, as she was for so many in the Plainview-Old Bethpage family.”

Jacobs’ daughter, Linda Jacobs-Geller, 45, of Woodbury, said the family was overwhelmed by decision to honor her mother.

“My mom’s favorite thing was to work with the school district and the children,” she said. “This is exactly what I would have hoped for.”

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