At the Sept. 26 meeting of the Island Park Public Schools’ board of education, the district continued a time-honored tradition of recognizing staff members who have gone above and beyond in their service, leadership and dedication to the educational program. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosmarie Bovino presented Superintendent’s Outstanding Achievement Recognition (SOAR) Awards to three individuals who fit specified criteria.
Each year, the board and administration acknowledge an instructional staff member from Francis X. Hegarty School and one from Lincoln Orens Middle School, as well as a non-instructional staff member who plays a significant role in the district’s day-to-day operations. Esta Jacobskind and Irlanda Feil were selected from Hegarty and Lincoln Orens, respectively, and Lynne Closs was recognized for her work that began in the transportation department. Dr. Bovino shared remarks about the honorees and presented them with commemorative plaques.
Ms. Jacobskind and Ms. Feil were awarded for their creativity and innovativeness; their abilities to effectively hold high expectations for students, support students beyond the classroom and celebrate students’ success; and their demonstration of collegial and cooperative work, participation in professional development, involvement in building/district activities, communication with parents and the community and support of programs beyond the school. Ms. Closs was distinguished based on the pride she takes in doing her job as well as her ability to successfully initiate efficient ways to work, complete assignments independently, collaborate with others, complete all tasks effectively and improve her own skills.
An integral part of the district for the past 15 years, Ms. Jacobskind serves as a library media specialist and reaches students and teachers alike by making information available in many formats and offering support in the use of various resources and technologies. She builds a love of literature among students, as is evident through the highly-anticipated Authors Visit every year and has initiated numerous opportunities for staff members to familiarize themselves with new books aligned to the curriculum. Ms. Jacobskind’s knowledge and enthusiasm extend far past the library, as she facilitates workshops, leads events for Parents as Reading Partners and creates presentations for the board of education. She also serves as a member of the Nassau BOCES School Library System Advisory Council.
Six years ago, an opening in the FLES Program brought Ms. Feil to the district, where she quickly rose as a star educator. Her successful techniques for providing content-rich and energy-filled lessons resulted in students’ engagement in and understanding of the Spanish language, with aspects of core subject areas tied in. Ms. Feil moved on to her current position as an eighth-grade Spanish teacher three years ago and reinforces curriculum through use of technology. Ms. Feil advised the Spanish Club, comprised of students in grades 3-6, and also gladly offers her assistance as a translator in order to communicate district messages to parents and families. She participates in events outside of the classroom, including the Community Day dunk tank, where she helps to raise funds for scholarships.
Ms. Closs has been a familiar face around the district since 1979, when she was hired as a part-time school bus driver. She went on to become a clerical aide, a school monitor and a civil service recreation assistant and finally took on her current role as a security guard. All the while, Ms. Closs was and continues to be a valuable asset to the district’s recreation department, through which she has taught students arts and crafts and organized various annual holiday and community activities. She also assists the marching band in their training and shares expertise that she obtained in a 13-year stint as director of the Drum and Bugle Corps for the Catholic Youth Organization at Sacred Heart Parish. Ms. Closs has further offered her creative skills to make costumes for the middle school’s theater arts productions and volunteers for a number of organizations, charities and events for the schools.
The 2016-17 SOAR Award recipients were congratulated with rounds of applause from attendees. Many of their own colleagues, family members and friends joined them in celebrating this meaningful distinction.