Mineola Middle School students Liam Quinn and Tatiana Marquez (fourth...

Mineola Middle School students Liam Quinn and Tatiana Marquez (fourth and fifth from left), shown here with Mineola educators and PSEG Long Island representatives. Credit: Mineola School District

Twenty-seven Long Island students have been named winners in a local contest that invited them to create public service announcements themed around energy conservation.

This year’s “I Am EM-Powered” Energy Conservation Video Public Service Announcement Contest, which was sponsored by PSEG Long Island, received a total of 273 submissions from dozens of schools across Long Island.

The annual contest was part of PSEG Long Island’s “I Am EM-Powered” program, which last spring educated nearly 4,000 children in grades four through eight on topics ranging from reducing reliance on fossil fuels to the benefits of renewable energy. The program was provided free to students.

“It’s great to see how these young learners are embracing the concepts of clean energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and tackling pollution,” said Michael Voltz, PSEG Long Island’s director of energy efficiency and renewable energy. “They are adding to the discussion about what we can do to protect and nurture our planet.”

The winners and their schools were: Olivia Caraballo, Twin Pines Elementary School in Brentwood; Christie Arce, Darlene Herrera, Stephanie Rekas, Carissa Spencer and Alyson Vargas, Copiague Middle School; Connor Malley-Bajohr, Collin Johnson, Brayden Olin and Nicholas Wolf, East Moriches Middle School; Aviva Kravets, Sarah Levi, Andrew Levin, Mikayla Oren, Eli Rochler and Jacqueline Soltanovich, Woodmere Middle School; Tatiana Marquez and Liam Quinn, Mineola Middle School; Georgina Placella, James H. Vernon Elementary School in East Norwich; Amy Chiarulli, Sophia Lanzilotta and Hailey Lucia, Cherry Avenue Elementary School in West Sayville; Gia Mayer, Mills Pond Elementary School in St. James; and Quinn Pepitone, Benjamin Rothfeld, Cody Stebbins and Ryder Zurita, Bayview Elementary School in West Islip.

The winning public service announcements are available for viewing under the “playlist” tab at youtube.com/psegli.


Interim superintendent

Kelly Fallon has been named interim superintendent of the Elwood School District. She replaced Kenneth Bossert, who is now superintendent of the Great Neck School District.

Fallon previously served six years as superintendent of the Half Hollow Hills Central School District in Dix Hills until her retirement in 2017. Since then, she has held positions including interim superintendent and principal of the East Quogue School District.

“I look forward to being part of the Elwood school community and supporting the tradition of educational excellence that exemplifies the district,” Fallon said.


New principal

Jennifer Alaimo is the new principal of H. Frank Carey High School in the Sewanhaka Central High School District. She replaced Christopher Fiore, who retired.

Alaimo most recently served as an assistant principal of Floral Park Memorial High School, where she has also been the special education chairwoman. In addition, she has served as a dean of students and a special education teacher at the district’s Sewanhaka High School.

“I firmly believe that a strong partnership between students, teachers, parents and the wider community is essential to the success of any educational institution,” Alaimo said.


New superintendent

Theodore Fulton has been named superintendent of the Hicksville School District. He replaced Marianne Litzman, who retired.

Fulton most recently served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Bayport-Blue Point school district since 2017. He is also immediate past president of the New York State Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development and president of the Long Island Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

“I look forward to continuing the traditions of excellence and opportunity in the Hicksville school district and will work tirelessly to serve our learning community,” Fulton said.


New principal

Lisa Marie Johnson has been appointed principal of Sagamore Middle School in the Sachem Central School District. She replaced Frank Panasci, who retired.

Johnson most recently served as an assistant principal at Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma. She has also been principal of the district’s Grundy Elementary School, assistant principal of Sagamore Middle School and a math teacher at the district’s Samoset Middle School.

“I am looking forward to working with the students, staff, and families,” Johnson said. “I feel very fortunate to be part of the Sagamore family.”


Project Citizen winners

Three Northport Middle School students — Isaac Aibel, Timmy McAuley and Ellie Triolo — of Northport Middle School were named state winners this summer of the Center for Civic Education’s “Project Citizen,” which is a competition that engages students in the research and design of a public policy in their school or community.

The team researched food waste in school cafeterias and developed public policy solutions to reduce cafeteria food waste based on an interview with Danielle Teicher, who is a lunch director for the Northport-East Northport School District.

The trio went on to represent New York in the middle school level of the competition’s national showcase in July.


New principal

Matthew Swinson has been named principal of South High School in the Valley Stream Central High School District.

Swinson, who replaced the retiring Maureen Henry, previously served as principal of Roosevelt High School since 2021.

“I want stakeholders to know that I am passionate about students’ academic, social and emotional development, as well as assisting my colleagues to shape students’ paths for their futures,” Swinson said. “My goal is to engage students in a way where they know they can trust me, and that it is ok to make a mistake as mistakes are about growth.”

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