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Three LI schools named National Schools of Character

Meadow Elementary School in Baldwin is one of

Meadow Elementary School in Baldwin is one of three Long Island schools to be named a 2019 National School of Character. Credit: Baldwin Public Schools/Mary Furcht

Three Long Island elementary schools have earned national recognition for their dedication to character development of students.

The schools — Lee Road Elementary (in the Levittown School District) in Wantagh, Meadow Elementary in Baldwin and Smith Street Elementary in Uniondale — are among 88 schools nationwide named 2019 National Schools of Character by the nonprofit

To become selected, the schools met criteria that included providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families as partners in the character-building effort. They also underwent on-site visits and interviews.

They will be honored next month at's 2019 National Forum in Washington, D.C.

"These schools' representatives, including educators, parents and students, are working together to create stronger communities focused on character,"'s president and CEO Doug Karr said. "We are honored to validate their efforts and continue coaching them along their journeys."

In addition, Meadow's Character C.O.U.N.T.S. Club was among 232 organizations and schools nationwide this year certified as "Promising Practices" for their unique approaches to character development, peer mediation and conflict resolution, the nonprofit said.

Meadow's club is a cross-age peer-mentoring program that allows older students to mentor younger students. C.O.U.N.T.S. stands for Citizenship, Outreach, Unity, Nobility, Tolerance and Self-Discipline.

"I am extremely proud of our Meadow students and faculty," Meadow Principal Echele May said. "We have worked together to create a caring and inclusive learning environment where our students are empowered to be the stewards of our character education initiative."


New superintendent

James Grossane has been appointed superintendent of the Sewanhaka Central High School District. He replaced Ralph Ferrie, who retired.

Grossane most recently served five years as superintendent of the Smithtown Central School District and before that as superintendent for the Levittown School District.

"While I will be sad to leave [the Smithtown] community, I am excited to begin a new journey with the Sewanhaka Central High School District," Grossane said. "I look forward to working with the exceptional team of teachers and administrators that Dr. Ferrie has cultivated there and to continue to lead the district on its trajectory of success."


New principals

Kevin Steingruebner and Eric Nezowitz have been named interim principals of Garden City High and Garden City Middle, respectively.

Steingruebner previously served as the high school's assistant principal and replaced Nanine McLaughlin, who is now the assistant superintendent for human resources and leadership development for the Garden City School District. He also has been a social studies teacher, athletic director and dean of students at Valley Stream Central High.

Nezowitz previously served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Plainedge School District and replaced Peter Osroff, who retired.

"For the past 10 years, I have been a part of an amazing team of educators at Garden City High School, and now I am looking forward to being the leader of that team," Steingruebner said. "I will keep us focused on continuing to excel and improve in every way possible."


New principal

Mary E. Wood has been named principal of Heights Primary School. She replaced Regina Colardi, who retired.

Wood previously served as assistant principal of Harbor Hill Elementary in Greenvale, and before that was an assistant principal at Heights. She also has held teaching and administrative positions in the Northport-East Northport and Rockville Centre districts.

"Roslyn is an amazing community that celebrates learning, innovation and compassion," Wood said. "I hope to continue to build these values within the Heights community."

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