Lynbrook school district superintendent Santo Barbarino died Monday morning shortly after feeling ill and losing consciousness while at a doctor's office in Lynbrook, police said.
Barbarino, 67, was having a district staff meeting in preparation for the new school year when he felt ill and went to his doctor's office on Merrick Road, police said.
A notice on the Lynbrook schools website Monday night said: "It is with the deepest sadness that we must inform you of the sudden and unexpected passing of Superintendent of Schools . . . 'Dr. B,' as we have all come to affectionately call him [was] . . . a champion of the Lynbrook school district for most of his professional career. His leadership and presence at all school events will be sorely missed."
Barbarino had numerous positions within the Lynbrook school district during a 25-year-career there. He first worked as a high school chemistry teacher, and then moved on to high school administrative assistant for instruction, high school principal, district assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and finally the district's top administrative post, district superintendent.
Henry Grishman, Jericho school district superintendent, said he knew Barbarino for decades, and described him as being totally involved with his district and the Lynbrook community.
"He was amazing as to the number of events he would attend," Grishman said. "I know people referred to him as 'Mr. Lynbrook.' Being a superintendent is a tough job and takes a piece out of you, but Santo always did it with class and sensitivity, and always with a smile on his face."
Barbarino, a Lynbrook resident for many years, was born in Brooklyn. He earned a bachelor's degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, a master's degree in administration from St. John's University and a doctorate in education administration and supervision from New York University.
Tom Rogers, Nassau BOCES district superintendent said, "Long Island lost a beloved educator who was admired by colleagues and residents alike for his tireless dedication to Lynbrook, his graceful leadership, and the warmth of his friendship. He will be deeply missed."
Grishman said that he once tried to recruit Barbarino for a position in his Jericho district, but was turned down by Barbarino, who told him, " 'I'm a Lynbrook guy. I'm staying in Lynbrook.' "
The Lynbrook school website said the district would be mobilizing its crisis management team, and support services and grief counseling would be available Tuesday at the high school, where staffers are preparing for the school year.
Barbarino was survived by his mother, Santa, and a brother, Al, both of Lynbrook, and a sister, Gracie Shelley, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Services were being scheduled at Perry Funeral Home in Lynbrook Wednesday and Thursday, and a Mass is to be celebrated at St. Raymond R.C. Church in East Rockaway. Burial will be at St. John's Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.
With John Hildebrand