Herricks honors outgoing Trustees Feinstein, Hassan

Herricks honors outgoing Trustees Feinstein, Hassan
The Herricks Board of Education honored outgoing Trustees Brian Hassan and Nancy Feinstein at a Thursday night meeting. (Photos courtesy of Herricks Public Schools)

The Herricks Board of Education honored outgoing Trustees Nancy Feinstein and Brian Hassan, who each served 12 years on the board, at a meeting Thursday night.

Feinstein announced her retirement from the board during a March meeting. And newcomer Maria Bono, a former teacher and active PTA member, defeated Hassan in his race for re-election with 63% of the vote in a May 21 contest, scooping up the longtime trustee’s seat.

“The time on the board spent with the five of us as we were all this time was something that I can only say was immeasurable,” Board President Jim Gounaris said. “Nancy and Brian have always been the ones to keep the level head and to bring the focus back to the table about what was important.”

Though Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar was not in attendance, he did send a representative to read his congratulatory remarks and announce that June 6, 2024, would be declared Nancy Feinstein Day and Brian Hassan Day throughout the village.

Family members, friends and colleagues stood and applauded for the two outgoing trustees.

Feinstein and Hassan were presented with celebratory plaques, gifts and heartfelt remarks from their Herricks colleagues.

Trustee Juleigh Chin said it was a “special moment” because both Feinstein and Hassan sat on the board during her 11 years as a trustee. Chin and Feinstein first bonded when their children attended Denton Avenue Elementary School at the same time. Hassan and Chin served as board president and vice president for two years in a row during their tenure.

“We’ve come through and weathered so many storms, whether it was something like COVID and the pandemic, navigating through very difficult situations and also going through really good ones,” Chin said. “And I could not have been more blessed to be working right with these two folks who I really do consider to be like family, more than anything else, and because we’re family, you can’t get rid of me.”

A few members of the audience rose and walked to the podium to give speeches, including PTA District Council President Madeline Svitak.

“Even before your tenure as trustee, you were both PTA-ing and booster-ing and coaching and generally, as we like to call it, involved,” Svitak said. “I think people don’t realize how much work there is in being a trustee. Between concerts and sporting events, award ceremonies, the public Board of Ed meetings and the hours and hours of meetings behind the scenes, it’s a lot of time for an unpaid [position].”

The intense time commitment did not go unnoticed – Svitak asked, “How many nights have you spent away from your family in support of other people’s children?”

And Gounaris personally thanked the families of Feinstein and Hassan for sharing the two with Herricks.

Both Hassan and Feinstein thanked their families, fellow board members, district administrators and more during teary speeches.

Hassan, who grew up in Herricks, said it was a “privilege” to be on the board and that his three adult children owe their successes to the Herricks district.

Feinstein thanked everyone in the Herricks community for putting their trust in her.

It was an emotional ceremony with one persistent symbol: the board as a family.

“If I had to go to battle, I’d only want to be with the two of you and I love you with all my heart and I’m going to miss you very much,” Gounaris said.

As their last move, the Herricks board members approved a resolution of appreciation in honor of the two trustees.

The board also celebrated Nidya Degliomini, the outgoing president of the Herricks Teachers’ Association, who announced her retirement at the Thursday meeting.

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