The seven volunteer members of the Huntington School Board were recognized this past Monday night by a group of exceptional Huntington High School students, who saluted the trustees’ service to the community and their commitment to the academic and co-curricular programs that are the hallmark of the district.
Trustees do not earn salaries or stipends. They don’t receive health insurance or retirement benefits. They are legally responsible for overseeing a budget of nearly $130 million along with hundreds of full-time and part-time employees. It’s not an easy job.
Huntington trustees Christine Biernacki, Linda Tine-D’Anna, Tom DiGiacomo, Bill Dwyer, Jennifer Hebert, Michele Kustera and Xavier Palacios were recognized with an impressive performance by harpsichordist Mary Grace Rorke and gorgeous artwork by Niurca Chabla-Leon, Caroline Hartough, Shyann Maragh and Charlie Soljanich during this week’s business meeting.
Ms. Rorke performed on a large harp on the auditorium stage, entertaining trustees and the crowd with a splendid rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Etude No. 3: Sarabande.
The four artists created remarkable paper cut and paint marble portraits for each of the trustees based upon their Huntington UFSD website photographs. The framed artwork earned rave reviews.
Huntington trustees, like their colleagues serving on more than 700 school boards across the state, are true volunteers. Elected by the community, they receive no compensation for their service other than the satisfaction they feel for seeing that the young people who live here receive the free and full public education to which they are entitled to under the state constitution.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo proclaimed School Board Recognition Week as a way of honoring the thousands of trustees who “continually strive for improvement, excellence and progress in education.”
The trustees participate in dozens of meetings during the course of a typical year. They attend scores of school events, participate in training conferences related to their service and field countless phone calls and e-mails from residents anxious to share their opinions. They are all a familiar presence around the district.
What could possibly motivate a person to volunteer their services for a position that involves so much time and work? Trustees state that it stems from their desire to see the young people of the community enjoy the most broad based classroom education and co-curricular experiences possible. It’s not an easy task, but students across the district uniformly speak highly of the time they have spent on every grade level and in all eight school buildings.