NHP-GCP residents upset over phys-ed teacher transfer

NHP-GCP residents upset over phys-ed teacher transfer
Jensen Varghese presents his passion project at a New Hyde Park-Garden City Park board of education meeting Monday. (Photo by John Nugent)

By John Nugent

Members of the public expressed dismay at the transfer of physical education teacher Kerri Rudd from Hillside Grade School to New Hyde Park Road School at the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Kathryn Canese, a parent of two students at Hillside, praised Rudd for her high energy and said she was disappointed about her transfer.

Parent Karen Muntzenberger, a 13-year resident in the district, said she felt that some board decisions were motivated by fear of lawsuits against the district and that some “policies” were more important than the interests of the children.

She also said she was upset that some teacher moves were made after the budget vote.

Also, in regard to personnel matters, Anthony Guerrero stated that “although change is good, consistency is important.”

Board President Jennifer Kerrane said that all personnel changes are made for the benefit of the school and the children.

Superintendent Jennifer Morrison added that if the budget failed, three teachers at the bottom of the seniority list would lose their jobs. Thus, transfers were carried out after the vote to avoid that issue.

During the meeting, the board also heard presentations from Hillside Grammar School sixth-grade students about their passion projects.

The first presenter, Jensen Varghese, spoke about life without technology.

He told the listeners that there are many global challenges, like providing relief from natural disasters and emphasized how much can be learned by talking to each other rather than to electronic gadgets.

Ethan Mehta’s project focused on cybersecurity.

He warned of the dangers of computer hacking and stressed the importance of protecting one’s self online. Mehta recommended that computer users install anti-virus software and that they avoid joining unsecured networks.

The final presentation by Grace Heskial, Ann Aphraim, Rebecca John and Angelena Alias addressed the issue of bullying.

The girls gave a short performance of a bullying incident and followed by singing the song, “Whatever,” written by Heskial.

Part of the lyrics read, “Whatever, whatever, you and your friends are forever.”

Also during the meeting, Morrison thanked the community for passing the budget and highlighted some student achievements during her monthly report.

Jonathan Daniel, a fourth-grader at Garden City Park School, was one of six winners among over 1,000 entrants in an essay-writing contest sponsored by the Humane Society of New York, Morrison said.

In the Nassau County Math Olympiad Tournament, Nathaniel Park, a sixth-grader at Hillside Grade School, placed third and Justin Semet, a sixth-grader at Manor Oaks School, placed fifth among more than 300 entrants in the individual competition, Morrison said.

The New Hyde Park Road School also earned the highest team achievement for the yearly Math Olympiad, she said. The team’s score was in the top 10 percent of teams nationwide.

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