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School Notebook: Brentwood reading corner

In Brentwood there is a new look to the library at North Elementary School.

The school held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month for a reading corner in the library that includes everything from a jungle-themed mural to inspirational quotes on the walls to a "reading rug." More than 250 new books -- including 50 finance-themed books -- were also donated, and each of the school's 850 students received two books to begin building their own libraries at home.

Such library makeovers have occurred at 14 U.S. schools this year and are the doing of The Heart of America Foundation and Capital One Bank. Their goal is to create lively reading spaces for schools with low-income families while promoting literacy and financial skills.

"This shows kids we take literacy seriously," said North Elementary Principal Patrick Morris of the READesign program. "The library should be the focal point of any school, and ours is definitely kid-friendly."

Before the ribbon cutting, 100 Capital One Bank volunteers worked at North Elementary over a two-day period to assemble new furniture, decorate the room and stock books. Volunteers also visited classrooms the day of the event to discuss financial awareness.

One activity saw first- and second-graders treated to a reading of Judith Viorst's "Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday" read by Ellen Weber, the Suffolk County market president for Capital One.

"After reading it I asked, 'Who will now do a better job saving?' and hands went up," Weber said. "One of the best investments we can make is in education."

READesign's vice president John Flynn agreed, adding that the room's reading corner is expected to foster "an inspirational learning environment."

Local officials in attendance included Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan, who issued a citation of appreciation to Capital One.

BABYLON

New appointments

Peter Daly has been named interim superintendent of Babylon School District, replacing Ellen Best-Laimit, who retired. Al Cirone and Randee Bonagura have been named principals of Babylon Junior-Senior High School and Babylon Memorial Grade School, respectively. They replace Rob Visbal and Eric Freidman, who retired.

Daly was previously the district's superintendent for business. Cirone has served as assistant principal at Lindenhurst High School since 2005 and before that was the district's coordinator of practical arts for career and technical education.

Bonagura was previously an assistant principal in Copiague and a supervisor of reading and supportive math in Wantagh.

GREENLAWN

New superintendent

Diana Todaro has been appointed as acting superintendent of schools for the Harborfields Central School District, replacing Frank J. Carasiti.

Todaro has served as the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and deputy superintendent since 2001. Before that she was principal of Woodland Middle School in East Meadow and East Meadow High School and was the math department chair and coordinator of instructional computer programming at Kings Park High School.

NORTHPORT

Leader of Tomorrow

Sarah Connor, a seventh-grader at Northport Middle School, has been selected to receive a Leaders of Tomorrow Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Long Island Chapter based on her "exceptional accomplishments" through volunteerism and philanthropic activities. She and several adult honorees will be celebrated this fall during a luncheon in Huntington.

Connor's efforts include raising $3,000 to replace 20 cherry trees last spring on Main Street in the Village of Northport and $6,000 for various charities -- including the American Cancer Society, UNICEF and American Red Cross -- through a "lemon aid" stand. She is now raising funds to replant trees in tornado-ravaged Missouri.

TUCKAHOE

New principal

Kevin Storch is the new principal of Tuckahoe Common School. Superintendent Joseph C. Dyer, who previously held both the superintendent and principal positions, will remain with the district as superintendent. Assistant Principal Gail Ackerson resigned in July, and her position was eliminated.

Storch served the past seven years as principal of Hidden Oaks Elementary School in Lake Worth, Fla., and has been assistant principal at four other elementary schools in Florida.

"In my career I have served a variety of different schools and had a positive influence in each setting," Storch said in a recent letter to the community. "I love to learn, and I enjoy helping others to do the same."

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