For Long Beach schools Superintendent David Weiss, the lessons of Hurricane Katrina lingered as he worked to reopen schools in the days after superstorm Sandy devastated his longtime community in 2012.
“The idea was to keep schools going so that if there was one thing the children had, is they have the stability of schools to keep that constant in their life, despite everything else,” Weiss said. “That’s the stuff they don’t teach you in school.”
Weiss recalled those days in an interview Monday night, shortly after formally resigning at a 15-minute school board meeting.
The longtime schools administrator is to become head of U.S. public schools for the International Baccalaureate Organization, a global educational nonprofit with a U.S. office in Bethesda, Maryland. He is the first person to hold the position.
Weiss, a veteran of the Rockville Centre and Commack school systems, has championed the International Baccalaureate program on Long Island.
He said that in his new role, he will work to support the quality of the programs in the 1,700 U.S. schools that have them. In addition to Rockville Centre and Long Beach, other Long Island school districts that offer an IB curriculum include Bay Shore, Commack, Hauppauge, Locust Valley, North Shore, Northport-East Northport, West Islip and Sag Harbor.
The IB curriculum, introduced in the 1960s, has emerged as a competitor to College Board’s Advanced Placement program. Students can earn IB diplomas by taking a series of advanced courses and by fulfilling other requirements, including the completion of a 4,000-word paper, a course on the “theory of knowledge,” and community service.
School officials vowed to conduct a search for Weiss’ replacement and said Weiss will serve in the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.
Long Beach school board president Stewart Mininsky said at the meeting that Weiss “has set the bar high for our district’s next leader.”
Karen Bloom, executive vice president of the Long Beach Classroom Teachers Association, told Weiss at the meeting: “Many of your achievements can be attributed to your leadership style and the vision and goals you had for the district.”
William Johnson, superintendent of the Rockville Centre school district, recalled working with Weiss for 20 years as a teacher, administrator and IB coordinator.
“He’s had leadership roles at every single level and understands how to get things done inside a school district,” Johnson said in an interview earlier Monday. “From IB’s point of view, selecting somebody who understands from the inside how to make things happen is both a wonderful opportunity for both them and him. He speaks the language of schools. He knows it well.”