The School Administrator’s Association of New York State recently named Jericho Principal Dr. Don Gately the Middle School Principal of the Year.
Serving as a school administrator since 1996, Gately has been in his current position at Jericho Middle School (JMS) for the last 10 years. Known for his sensitivity to the unique emotional and developmental needs of early adolescents, he is always available and works diligently to create a safe and welcoming community for everyone.
Gately implemented the Olweus Bully Prevention Program resulting in a substantial decrease in incidents of bullying. The school is a member of the Nassau County Anti-Bias Consortium and hosts an annual Diversity Day, as well as being one of the few middle schools to offer a Gay Straight Alliance Club.
As noted by student Nuzhat Tarafder, a Bengali Muslim student who is a strong ally for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), Jericho offers a safe space for all its students.
“I am proud to say in the brief three years at the school, I have heard no homophobic remarks or witnessed homophobic activity.” Tarafder said, “Diversity Day has offered me a place to talk about Islamaphobia. I finally was able to face my demons after years. The students were attentive and the staff very comforting.”
Considering himself lead learner, Gately is equally passionate about professional growth and community development. Commented the team of teachers that nominated him for this award, “His work ethic is infectious. It trickles down to his staff and ultimately to the students of JMS, providing a shared vision for every member of the JMS community. Dr. Gately refuses to accept anything less than his own personal best and this permeates throughout Jericho Middle School.”
Under his leadership, Jericho Middle School has been selected as a National School to Watch in 2009, 2012 and 2015 and hosts visiting teams from throughout the state. He is also the co-founder of EdCamp Long Island, which recently hosted more than 275 educators; serves on the planning teams for nErDcampLI and EdCampLeaderNY; and consults with several districts to help organize their staff development activities.
“Don is a true lead learner in that he is always modeling what he expects of others, which is evidenced by the fact that he leads voluntary PD sessions during lunch for his staff, consistently engages with students in an effort to amplify their voices, and shares his beliefs with the world in the form of a blog,” said Gately’s colleague Tony Sinanis. “He also always maintains an incredibly positive attitude that he shares with everyone around him! He is an example for all those around us.”
Gately received his bachelor of arts degree from Marist College, his master of arts in literature degree and professional diploma in supervision and administration from Queens College-CUNY and doctorate of educational leadership from Concordia University.