Great Neck ed board picks Grant Toch as new president

Great Neck ed board picks Grant Toch as new president
The Great Neck Board of Education nominated member Grant Toch to serve as its next president. (Photo courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)

The Great Neck Board of Education selected Grant Toch as its newest president Tuesday night, filling the seat formerly held by Trustee Rebeccas Sassouni.

Toch, who previously served as the board’s vice president, was elected in 2021. He was re-elected in May for a second term.

Sassouni was the only member who voted against Toch’s nomination but still applauded when the vote was approved. The board did not suggest any other board members for nomination.

Sassouni said no duly constituted meeting was held to discuss nominations.

“In my view, as only one of currently five trustees, after eight years of service, there is no place for partisanship in public education in Great Neck,” Sassouni said in a statement to Blank Slate Media about her vote. “Partisanship works across purposes against each of these: against accountability, against transparency, against viewpoint neutrality and against inclusiveness. Partisanship cannot be abided. Great Neck residents and students deserve better.”

Sassouni announced at the board’s last meeting on June 20 that she would no longer serve as president for the upcoming school year. She had held the position for the past three years.

She called her stepping down from the president position a “healthy transition” and said that a president should not serve for too long.

The board picked Donna Peirez as vice president. Sassouni, again, was the only member who voted against the nomination.

Trustees Steve Chen and Toch were also sworn in after their recent re-election in May. Both were unchallenged in their elections.

The board also approved the pending retirement of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Stephen Lando. His retirement is effective Jan. 31, which Superintendent Bossert said is to give the district time to find a replacement.

The announcement of Lando’s retirement resulted in a standing ovation for his 17 years of service.

Toch thanked Lando for aiding the district’s transition from former Superintendent Teresa Prendergast to Bossert last summer.

Another administrative change is the abolishment of the assistant superintendent of business position held by John O’Keefe. He will now serve under the position of deputy superintendent.

The board also discussed the lease renewal with the Chinese Cultural Association of Long Island for a Sunday program they hold at the district, which Sassouni opposed due to lack of information and district benefits.

The board approved the lease, with Sassouni abstaining from a vote.

Sassouni said she had requested more information about the lease and that some information was provided late.

She asked O’Keefe and the board if it would be more appropriate for the district to conduct a facility use permit with the association rather than a lease. She also asked for the percentage of students who are utilizing the lease and are Great Neck residents.

“Without that information, I am not comfortable signing off on this lease at this time, particularly when if we had a facilities-use permit it seems that we might be yielding more to the district,” Sassouni said.

She said the district receives approximately $1,300 a week for the program, yet 20 classes are being used.

“I don’t know that this juice is worth the squeeze,” Sassouni said.

O’Keefe said the use is complex since it involves many kids using a large portion of a building. Thus, counsel suggested a lease rather than a permit. He said leases also afford the district greater protections.

He added that rosters are not required under the lease, and thus, numbers are not available. He said a substantial number of district students are using the program.

No posts to display


  1. Sassouni’s tenure as President was a dumpster fire and she showed her true colors by being te only no vote. Now it is time for her to resign in the interest of the GNPS or be voted out. Have no doubt her medaling ways was not appreciated by Superintendent Bossert.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here