Editor’s note: All week long, Brittany Wait is profiling people around Great Neck, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town.
Sherry Ross Goodman, 69, has lived in Lake Success, one of the nine villages on the Great Neck peninsula, since 1967. She was hired to teach kindergarten at Parkville Elementary School in Lake Success in 1992 and retired in 2009.
Community affiliations: Treasurer of the Open Door Parent-Child Caring Center in Great Neck, which is closing after 31 years of service to the community.
Tell me about your time at Parkville Elementary School.
When I taught there I’d stay until 11:30 at night, designing my own curriculum. I taught those kid what they needed to learn. I taught them as much as possible about history. I had 3D dolls, things they could touch and a bunch of books. I loved teaching kindergarten. I think what they could do more of is allow for more socialization among the kids.
What initially brought you here and what has kept you here?
I didn’t think I’d stay here at first. Parents spoiled their children with fancy clothes and fancy cars. People needed to show their money. That was the negative. I decided to raise my two girls under our own family values. Housing can also be expensive in Great Neck. But on a positive note, since I grew up next door, in Port Washington, and my first husband was commuting to Wall Street and I worked in Herricks School District, I chose to live in this area.
When you first moved here, what was most notable about the community?
The schools and quick commute to Manhattan. If people didn’t want to send their kids to city schools they would move here. Whether our schools are better than those in Roslyn or Manhasset, who knows. One thing about Great Neck that is truly unique is that the apartments near the railroad station is in a good part of town. Usually, that is not true.
What does the community have to offer?
The park district is amazing in Great Neck. Living in the incorporated village of Lake Success, we’re not part of the district, but we used to take advantage of the ice skating rink, pool and gymnastics center. I liked that we had all these things available for my kids.
Tell me more about the closing of the Open Door Parent-Child Caring Center.
It was a question of the state of the economy and the lack of busing and daycare that parents needed. For us to sustain a program like this, serving over 30 kids, it just wasn't possible anymore.
What are some of the challenges the community faces?
Certainly you have different groups of people who have different expectations based on their own cultural values or where they were brought up. It makes it harder for schools to keep offering small class sizes.
Define the character of the community.
Multicultural. I think it’s a community that strives for excellence whether it is in sports, a great library program, parks or in the schools.