Senator Martins Brings State Ed Commissioner to Great Neck for Forum with School Superintendents

October 10, 2012

Senator Jack M. Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel co-hosted a forum with five School Superintendents from Nassau County including Elmont Superintendent of Schools Al Harper, Great Neck School Superintendent Dr. Tom Dolan, Herricks School Superintendent Dr. Jack Bierwirth, Mineola School Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler and Roslyn School Superintendent Dr. Dan Brenner as well as John B. King Jr., Commissioner of Education for the State of New York.

The panel discussed issues important to education on Long Island as the superintendents challenged the Commissioner to take a closer look at Long Island school districts in terms of student achievement. The entire discussion can be seen at

When Senator Martins recently received a call from New York State Board of Regents member Roger Tilles about having a visit from Commissioner King, Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel got to work on planning a forum whereby they put together a panel of education experts and invited all superintendents and board members from the Seventh Senate District. The result was a meaningful discussion with the superintendents and the state commissioner during which important issues such as the APPR teacher evaluation system, funding for education and over-testing students were discussed.

The superintendents appreciated the opportunity Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel afforded them to bring their questions and concerns directly to Commissioner King. Each of the superintendents communicated the message to the commissioner that each district is unique and Long Island is unique in terms of how school districts educate their students. Therefore, an approach that paints all school across New York State with the same brush may not necessarily work for Long Island schools.

The forum took place at Great Neck South Middle School. Dr. Dolan, the Great Neck School Superintendent, presented a data sheet entitled, “What if Long Island was the 51st State.” The premise of the sheet, which was given to Commissioner King, outlined the fact that if Long Island were its own state, it would rank among the highest in the nation in student achievement. The point the superintendents were trying to make to the commissioner was that Long Island school are achieving well and should be allowed to continue with the methods that have been successful without further interference from the state education department.

The forum gave the opportunity for superintendents to bring their concerns to the commissioner and to initiate a discussion that will hopefully continue for the benefit of all students in the Long Island and Nassau County region.