Great Neck appoints interim superintendent in wake of Prendergast’s death

Great Neck appoints interim superintendent in wake of Prendergast’s death
Great Neck North High School. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Board of Education appointed Stephen C. Lando as interim superintendent of the Great Neck Public Schools Monday night in response to the sudden death of Superintendent Teresa Prendergast.

Prendergast, 60, had been the district’s superintendent for the past eight years. She was planning to retire from her position on July 21 to become principal of Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead starting in August.

Prendergast’s funeral will be held at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church at 65 Wright Ave. in Malverne.

Visitations will be held at Flinch & Bruns Funeral Home at 34 Hempstead Ave. in Lynbrook on Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m., as well as on Friday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.

Lando is the assistant superintendent of secondary education for the Great Neck Public Schools. He will serve in his new position until the Board of Education appoints a permanent superintendent.

The school district had been conducting a nationwide search for Prendergast’s successor since her retirement was approved in January.

Her death was announced by the school district Sunday. Her cause of death has not been disclosed.

The district said Prendergast was dedicated to the district and always put students and staff first, remembering her commitment.

“Dr. Prendergast always led with grace and dignity, attention to detail and a caring attitude,” the district said in a its letter. “These attributes not only made her an outstanding superintendent but were the qualities that endeared Dr. Prendergast to those who knew her well. She guided our staff, students and greater school community through several challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, with patience, understanding and a commitment to working with all community stakeholders.”

Prendergast had been an educator since 1987 and served in a diverse array of positions throughout her career, according to a press release from the Sacred Heart Academy. This included her former position as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Garden City Public Schools.

She earned a doctorate of education in educational administration and supervision from St. John’s University, a master’s degree in mathematics education, grades 7-12, from CUNY Lehman College and a bachelor’s in elementary education from St. John’s University.

The Great Neck School District has mobilized its crisis management team and is offering grief counseling for students and staff at every district building.

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