Mineola school board sends off assistant super

Mineola school board sends off assistant super
Patricia Burns is retiring from her position as an assistant superintendent in the Mineola school district. (Photo by David Levin)

By David Levin and Noah Manskar

The Mineola school board on Thursday celebrated Patricia Burns, the school district’s retiring assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, as it appointed her replacement.

Burns came to Mineola six and a half years ago after serving as a principal and assistant superintendent in Valley Stream school district 30. She previously worked in New York City’s school system for 18 years.

Christine Napolitano, the school board president, said Burns has exhibited “a no-nonsense yet fair minded attitude” and a “deep love and respect” for Mineola’s teachers and students.

“I don’t think I’d ever seen as long a résumé as Pat’s at the time I interviewed her,” Napolitano said at Thursday’s school board meeting. “Within minutes of her initial interview years ago, I knew we had the one.”

The school board on Thursday appointed Matthew Gaven, the district’s director of technology, to replace Burns effective Jan. 3.

Burns, a Breezy Point, Queens, resident, said she is proudest of overseeing the district’s implementation of the Common Core learning standards and other programs, such as its distribution of iPad tablet computers to all students and its dual language program, in which students take classes in Spanish and English.

“I think we’ve aligned curriculum to standards with the teachers, with input from the teachers,” Burns said. “We made sure that all of the parents had an understanding of the standards and how to support kids.”

Burns also helped the district through what she called a “smooth” transition as it consolidated elementary schools and made other structural changes in 2011’s reconfiguration effort.

“Although the position of assistant superintendent is not as public a job as others, I know this community is very thankful for your unwavering determination in making sure the board was always aware of your extraordinary contribution to the advancement of teaching and learning in Mineola and we will forever be in your debt,” district Superintendent Michael Nagler said Thursday.

Burns said Gaven, a former Mineola Middle School principal who started the technology director’s position this year, is “very technology-savvy” and called him “the perfect choice to take my place.”

Burns looks forward to traveling and spending more time with her husband and five grandchildren in her retirement, she said.

She plans to return to Mineola for concerts, shows and other special events, she said.

“All of you know I have truly loved every minute here,” Burns said at the school board meeting. “I’m going to miss the kids; the teachers are dedicated and so caring. Our administrators are so caring.”

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