Smithtown High School East had six students place or earn...

Smithtown High School East had six students place or earn an honorable mention in a writing competition coordinated by the Stony Brook Young Investigators Review. Pictured from left, Principal Robert Rose, science research coordinator Maria Zeitlin, students Shriyans Singh, Jennifer Zhong, Sanjivani Singh, Charlene Chen, Jessica Penna and HolyMary Zaher, and K-12 science director Stephanie O’Brien.  Credit: Smithtown Central School District

Four Long Island students will have their research published in a science journal after being named finalists in a local writing competition.

The Stony Brook Young Investigators Review recently held its 2022 Young Investigators Writing Competition, which invited teens to submit 1,000-word articles exploring a scientific dilemma. This year’s competition received 65 entries from 18 schools.

The finalists were Vivian Chen of Manhasset High School, Jessica Curran of Westhampton Beach High School, Reed Paltrow of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington and Shreejita Satpathy of W. Tresper Clarke High School in Westbury.

They were selected based on their “high caliber of professional communication, a coherent and analytical construction of scientific evidence, and convincing prose,” according to the review.

“The aim of this competition is to capture the essence of scientific controversies and present it in an easy and accessible way,” said Ruchira Samant, co-director of the competition. “Each year, we are pleasantly surprised and impressed by the unique perspective that students bring.”

Participants wrote responses to one of four prompts in controversial science topics: the ethics of xenotransplantation (that is, transplants between species), investing in biofuels, devoting resources to space tourism, and the ethical ramifications of artificial intelligence-inspired art.

The semifinalists, whose entries are on the journal’s website,, were Mathew Vo of W. Tresper Clarke High School and Charlene Chen, Jessica Penna, Shriyans Singh and Jennifer Zhong of Smithtown High School East.

In Greenlawn, fourth-graders in Samantha Little’s class at Thomas J....

In Greenlawn, fourth-graders in Samantha Little’s class at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School participated in a writing workshop in which they learned how to brainstorm small moments from their lives to choose one great idea for a realistic narrative fiction writing piece.  Credit: Harborfields School District

“I’m so proud of these students for working so hard to communicate science in a meaningful way,” said Maria Zeitlin, the science research program coordinator for Smithtown East.


New principal

John Barnes has been appointed principal of West Side Elementary School in the Cold Spring Harbor School District. He replaced Alison Hazut, now the director of elementary curriculum and instruction for the Wantagh School District.

Lawrence Early Childhood Center students created “worry dolls” last month...

Lawrence Early Childhood Center students created “worry dolls” last month in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. From left, students Everett Levy, Roy Rodriguez Bustillo and Olivia Hernandez Bermudez.  Credit: Lawrence School District

Barnes was previously principal of Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle, in Westchester County. During his career, he has also held positions ranging from an elementary music teacher to staff developer.

“I look forward to getting to know the West Side students and families and to collaborate with the dedicated faculty members to build on the West Side and school district traditions and legacy of achievement and success,” Barnes said.


Principal appointed

Jack Bixhorn has been appointed principal of Rhame Avenue School.

The backpacks and school supplies donated to Jericho Elementary School...

The backpacks and school supplies donated to Jericho Elementary School by Port Jefferson Elks Lodge were among those made available last month to families in the Middle Country Central School District. Other donations came from local businesses, including Costco and Old Navy, Healing Waters Fellowship in Selden and the district’s PTAs and community members. Credit: Middle Country Central School District

Bixhorn, who replaced Ayesha M. McArthur, was previously the director of technology and data for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District and before that was the district’s K-12 mathematics supervisor. He has also been the assistant middle school principal in Deer Park and a math and science teacher at Rhame Avenue.

“I am thrilled to return to the Rhame Avenue School,” Bixhorn said. “During my time as a teacher in the school, I got to know the amazing students, staff and parents. The school and community were welcoming and supportive.”


Principal appointed

Joseph Piombo has been appointed principal of Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School. He replaced Sue Bailey, who retired.

In Carle Place, third-graders at Rushmore Avenue Elementary School participate in a...

In Carle Place, third-graders at Rushmore Avenue Elementary School participate in a variety of fun activities in the school’s gymnasium as part of the school’s Rushmore Games Day. Credit: Carle Place School District

Piombo has served as the school’s assistant principal since 2006. Before that, he was an administrative intern and a guidance counselor at Robert Frost Middle School in Deer Park.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School and the entire Connetquot family,” Piombo said. “My goal is to continue the tradition of academic excellence while creating new opportunities to support the diverse needs of the community.”


New principal

Linda Greening has been appointed principal of Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School in the Rocky Point School District.

Connetquot High School’s boys volleyball, field hockey, cheerleading and kickline...

Connetquot High School’s boys volleyball, field hockey, cheerleading and kickline teams raised nearly $6,000 during a fundraiser for the DezyStrong Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2019 by Matthew DiStefano. A district resident known as “Dezy," DiStefano was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in 2019 and died in 2020. Credit: Connetquot School District

Greening, who replaced Scott Bullis, previously served as assistant principal of the district’s Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School. She has also been an elementary assistant principal, middle school assistant principal, and the K-12 director of guidance in the Center Moriches School District.

“I’m honored to be appointed the new principal at Joseph A. Edgar and am excited about all the opportunities it presents,” Greening said. “I look forward to working with our dedicated staff and students and supportive community to help each child at the school achieve their highest personal potential and become leaders in our community and beyond.”


Interim principal

Megan McCormack has been appointed interim principal of Sea Cliff Elementary School in the North Shore School District.

First-graders at Sag Harbor Elementary School recently worked with their...

First-graders at Sag Harbor Elementary School recently worked with their parents to create family trees that they presented to their peers. Credit: Sag Harbor School District

McCormack, who replaced Jeanette Wojcik, has worked as a teacher in the school district for 10 years. She has also been the coach of the district’s varsity girls lacrosse team and has filled various administrative vacancies and participated in several district committees.

“I take pride in building positive relationships with the students, faculty and community and look forward to continuing throughout this year,”
McCormack said. “I will continue to encourage innovation and a commitment to learning while capturing students’ voices and empowering every child to continue the journey of discovering their dreams.”


New principal

Ruth Peets-Butcher has been appointed principal of Wheeler Avenue Elementary School in Valley Stream School District 13. She replaced John Frias, who joined Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

Peets-Butcher was previously a classroom teacher in the district and the summer school principal. Before that, she was the elementary chief education officer at the Roosevelt Children’s Academy Charter School and a principal at Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in Queens.

“I look forward to working with
our teachers, students, and parents during the coming year to build and strengthen a strong connection within the Wheeler Avenue Elementary School community,” Peets-Butcher said.

Latest Videos