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An Evening of Recognitions

Stephen Gellar is recognized thumbnail185144

Prior to handling agenda business, the Board of Education made several important recognitions during the June 10 meeting, held in the West Islip High School auditorium.

Superintendent of Schools Bernadette Burns shared with the community that the meeting would be longtime trustee Steve Gellar’s last regular board meeting. Gellar has served on the Board of Education since 2006 and as president since 2009. He will now serve on the Islip Town Environmental Committee.

“It has been my privilege to work with such a passionate, dedicated leader,” Burns said. “And although we may not always have approached a situation in the same way, Mr. Gellar has never wavered in his passion to forward the district’s vision.”

Also in attendance to recognize Gellar were trustee Annmarie LaRosa, Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association Executive Director Lorraine Deller and Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to represent you for the past 15 years,” Gellar said. “I will miss it and I thank you.”

The Board also honored the district’s Class of 2021 Academic Leaders, including Selena Bello, Alexa Camillery, John DiBenedetto, Amanda Ditaranto, Kieran Farrell, Giavanna Genna, Emily Lau, Mia McCandless, Kevin Rion and Olivia Vice.

Following a successful 2021 season, the West Islip Unified Basketball team and coaches Ryan Foley and Erin Harris were recognized along with Athletic Director Tim Horan and Special Education Director Jeanne Dowling. As Horan called the team members to the front of the auditorium, the community cheered for the inspiring players.

Burns also thanked and recognized the West Islip Teachers Association and the school nurses for their work during the pandemic. She noted that the district has never experienced such as challenging school year and that she is grateful for how the teachers and school nurses “consistently prioritized students.”