Eighteen Faculty Members Retire From Jericho


By Jennifer Corr

At the most recent meeting Jericho Union Free School District Board of Education meeting on June 8, it was announced that 18 faculty members are retiring.
The retiring faculty members include: Gail Bodnar, Carolyn Clarke, Kathleen Crean, Domenico DiClemente, Cathy Ferris, Marcia Frank, Tracy Gilet, Barry Grossman, Mary Jo Moriarty, Jacqueline O’Neill, Debra Passafuime, Beth Pisano, Peggy Rudis, Claudia Siebenhuener, April Song, Barbara Spahn-Rudof, Kathleen Stannish and Marie Swierkowski.
“The highlight of our June Board of Education meeting is an opportunity for us not only to recognize retirees who have given 21 years, 21 years, 21 years, 20 years, 42 years, 19 years, 19 years, but who have committed a lifetime to the Jericho School District and the students of Jericho,” said Jericho Union Free School District Superintendent Hank Grishman. “So as we celebrate our retirees this evening, we also do that with our thanks for their commitment to our students.”
Retirees were called up, handed flowers and a certificate and were recognized for their impact on the district.
Mary Jo Moriarty was recognized by the Nassau Counselors Association as counselor of the year. She has just completed her 19th year as a Jericho High School counselor.
Gail Bodnar has worked for the district’s Technology Department for 21 years.
“As anyone who’s worked with her can attest to, Gail is so much more than a data person in the technology department,” said Patrick Fogarty, the district’s Director of Technology. “She’s a therapist. She is a help desk technician. She gets call from people multiple times a day, who I call the ‘Gailettes’ to ask her a bunch of questions, and she helps them as much as she possibly can. The most impressive thing to me about Gail is that she shifts seamlessly from one role to the other…”
Peggy Rudis worked in the Jericho Middle School Attendance Office since 1999.
“Mrs. Rudis’ commitment to the children of Jericho started well before she became an employee in the school district,” said Chad Gleason, the principal of Jericho Middle School. “Mrs. Rudis was a volunteer in the PTSA while her children attended Jericho Schools. She was a founding member of SEPTA. And in 1994, she was part of a committee that provided inclusion to students who at the time would be sent to a placement outside of Jericho Schools and she welcomed them back into the school district. That was groundbreaking work at that time.”
Jacqueline O’Neill, a Robert Seaman Elementary School science teacher, is retiring after 27 years.
Robert Seaman Elementary School Principal Joanna Kletter and Curriculum Associate for Science and Technology Education
Kim Libertini brought her up to be recognized.
“Jackie’s enthusiasm for science and for teaching was apparent the first time that we met,” said Libertini. “She’s taken students down the road of curiosity and her passion for science has taken flight in thousands of youngsters. A New York State Master Teacher, Jackie is among a select number of teachers who through professional development and through professional learn- ing teams, paved the way to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.”
Libertini added that she had asked O’Neill if she was looking forward to her retirement travels, and O’Neill said she hadn’t even had time to think about it because she was having so much fun doing her labs. And Kletter said O’Neill often stays late in her classroom reviewing her notes and preparing questions for her students.
Cathy Ferris has worked for the district for almost 20 years.
Colleagues, Jackson Elementary School Principal Dr. Alex Rivera said, agree that Ferris is organized and reliable.
Domenico DiClemente has worked for the Jericho Union Free School District for nearly 22 years. Colleagues said that his shoes will be tough to fill and that he works hard to keep Jackson Elementary School clean. Some say he is also a great dancer, and they’ll miss seeing how he turns his bushes into Disney characters for his grandchildren, as well as his passion of keeping goldfish.
“When I met Dom four years ago, my father retired after 29 years of being a custodian,” Dr. Rivera said. “The love and appreciation I have for this man, for the work that is done by all of our buildings and grounds crew, can not be understated. I will absolutely miss you. You have kept our building a beautiful place.”
Kathleen Stannish has been working as a secretary for Jericho Union Free School District’s Building and Grounds Depart- ment for 13 years.
“Kathy is my secretary, as well as the family therapist to the entire department, hears all of our problems and gives us an opportunity to talk things out and get things straight,” said Michael Hahn,Director of Buildings and Grounds, adding that she’s been extremely dedicated and a key part of the department.
Barry Grossman, a lab aide for the sci- ence department, has been with the district since 2004, after retiring as a meteorologist.
“Behind the scenes of the Jericho science department, there are so many elements that need to align in order to prevent a storm,” Libertini said. “Order supplies, make chemical solutions, set up labs and chaperone field trips are among the few. For over 20 years for a department of approximately 50 teachers, as a depart- ment lab aide, Barry Grossman has taken care of these elements, day in and day out. Like the eye of the storm, no matter what is going on around him, Barry is always calm. And holds a sunny viewpoint.”
Barbara Spahn-Rudof has been with the district for 22 years serving as clerical support.
“Knowing that Barbara has worked with so many high school administrators for nearly the past two decades, it’s essentially Barbara who has been running our high school,” said David Cohen, co-principal of Jericho High School.
Superintendent Grishman then congratulated Debra Passafuime, Beth Pisano, Claudia Siebenhuener, April Song, Marie Swierkowski. Carolyn Clarke, Kathleen Crean, Marcia Frank and Tracy Gilet, who were not at the meeting.


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