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Long IslandEducation

Suffolk: Jewish Academy dedicates new home

In Commack, Jewish Academy science teacher Harvey Goldstein

In Commack, Jewish Academy science teacher Harvey Goldstein leads sixth- graders in a study of hair follicles under a microscope. Last week the academy dedicated its new home at the Suffolk Y JCC. Photo Credit: Handout

Suffolk County's only Jewish day school has a new home.

The Jewish Academy, a private school for grades K-7, moved this summer to the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center in Commack. A dedication ceremony that included a 15-foot menorah was held last week during an open house.

The aim of the move is for the academy and center to combine resources as a campus "hub" for Jewish life in Suffolk County, school officials said.

"The Suffolk Y JCC is seen as the heart of the Jewish community in Suffolk, so it made sense to put our energies together," Head of School Rabbi Michael Druin said. "They had space available and we had a need for space."

The academy opened in 2004 as a nursery, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten facility, Druin said, and it has added a new grade level in each of the past few years. The school plans to expand one final time in the next school year and become a K-8 facility.

Classes range in size from seven to 14 students, with a maximum of 18, Druin said.

In other news, the academy is partnering with Stony Brook University for college students to teach principles of science, technology, engineering and math to academy kids through National Science Foundation funding. A law curriculum partnership also is being piloted with help from Touro Law School in Central Islip.

Previously, the academy leased space in East Northport from the Commack Union Free School District. Its mission is to promote a student-centered community that combines academic excellence with a rich Jewish heritage, Druin said.



New principal

Edwin Smith is the new principal of Henry L. Stimson Middle School, replacing Fay Robins, who retired. Smith was an assistant principal at Merrick Avenue Middle School. He also has been a seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher in the Harborfields school district and an administrative dean at Stimson.



Interim superintendent

John Finello is interim superintendent of the Springs Union Free School District, replacing Dominic Mucci, who held the position on an interim basis last year. Finello was interim superintendent of the East Islip school district and before that spent 39 years in the Huntington school district, where he started his career as a classroom teacher and was named superintendent in 2001.



New superintendent

Bernadette M. Burns is the new superintendent of the West Islip Union Free School District. She replaced Richard A. Simon, who retired.

Burns most recently was the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She also has been principal of Paul E. Kirdahy Elementary School and Udall Road Middle School, both in West Islip.

"I have been privileged to serve in a number of different positions in the district, and in each one I have been able to learn a great deal about the students, my colleagues and our community," Burns said. "Additionally, I have come to appreciate the wealth of knowledge and professionalism the faculty and staff bring to our district."



National ensembles

Thirty-four student musicians from Long Island high schools are among a group of 300 teens nationwide selected to perform at the All National Honors Festival in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 27-30.

The event, held by the National Association for Music Education, chose students for concert band, jazz band, mixed choir and symphony orchestra.

The 18 chosen in Suffolk County are Justin Albinder and Michael Lamendola of Hauppauge High; Robert Buonaspina, St. John the Baptist in West Islip; Anna Byington, West Islip; Abigail Carberry, West Babylon; Monica Chen, Half Hollow Hills West in Dix Hills; Daniella Greene, Hampton Bays; Ryan Harrigan, Elwood-John Glenn; Nicholas Kleinman, Sachem North in Lake Ronkonkoma; Phillip Losquadro, St. Anthony's in Melville; Megan Jane McGuinness, Eastport-South Manor; Gabriel Nekrutman, Ward Melville in East Setauket; Maggie Pizzo, East Hampton; Connor Regan, Westhampton Beach; Sasha Rubman, Stony Brook, Daniel Saulle, Harborfields in Greenlawn; Leah Stevens, East Islip; and Brandon Walters, Connetquot in Bohemia.


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