Gounaris looking to continue advocating for all of Herricks in ed board bid

Gounaris looking to continue advocating for all of Herricks in ed board bid
Herricks Board of Education President Jim Gounaris. (Photo courtesy of The Island 360 archives)

Herricks Board of Education President Jim Gounaris said if elected again, he would continue making the district better for residents and being a representative for all their voices.

“I have been a representative of all the people who live here,” Gounaris said in a statement to Blank Slate Media. “Their voice, their eyes, and their ears. I have always been dedicated to serving all the residents and will continue to do so as a trustee always remembering that the finances we manage belong to the residents and it should be treated accordingly.”

Gounaris, a Manhasset Hills resident, is running alongside incumbent Trustee Henry Zanetti in the May 16 school board election. He is facing challenger Bhajan Ratra for a three-year trustee term. 

Gounaris was previously president of the board from 2013 to 2015. He is currently serving his fourth term on the board as a trustee after winning re-election in 2020. He was appointed president last year, taking over for Zanetti. He currently works at Great Neck Public Schools as the director of food and nutrition services.

Gounaris is also running for the North Hempstead Town Board on the Republican line this November. He faces Democrat Christine Liu for the 4th Councilmanic District seat, which is being vacated by Council Member Veronica Lurvey, who running for receiver of taxes.

Prior to his time on the board in 2011, Gounaris was a member of the district’s PTA and booster organization while serving on multiple district-wide organizations, he said. One of his original goals when he sought out the trustee post was increasing transparency to Herricks residents.

During Gounaris’ time on the board, capital improvements at Herricks have included a renovated cafeteria at Herricks High School, library upgrades across the district, Google Chromebooks for students on a 1:1 ratio and new artificial turf and track at the high school. 

Much of the capital improvements were done in part by a $25 million bond issue that the district approved in 2016.

More recently, the district unveiled a newly renovated auditorium at the high school. 

Gounaris was also involved in hiring Superintendent Tony Sinanis, who replaced former Superintendent Fino Celano after his retirement last year, and said he has been helping him understand “the greatness of our district.”

“Knowing that the most amazing aspect of our district is the people who live here, people who are kind, tolerant, respectful, empathetic and most of all, grounded in our philosophy that every student matters and giving them the best education is of the highest importance,” Gounaris said.

On issues in the district, Gounaris said one of the challenges the board always has to face is security “in all aspects of the word.” On top of physical security on district grounds, students and staff should feel welcome in a place that has no room for intolerance, Gounaris said.

“Parents need to know that we are all welcome in this community and that feeling provides a unique sense of comfort, calm and belonging,” Gounaris said. “Ensuring this is my major goal.”

Gounaris added that he is asking for residents to support him to ensure Herricks’ continued excellence and so that he can maintain his advocacy for everyone in the community as he’s done for over a decade. 

“For 12 years I have had the honor of serving as a volunteer in the most amazing place,” Gounaris said. “Every decision I have made and voted on has always been in the best interest of our entire community. My track record of transparency is evident in all that has taken place during my tenure, and it will continue.”

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