Ahead of her first school year as superintendent, East Williston School District’s Danielle Gately said she is enjoying the slow pace of the summer to gear up with administrators and staff.
“One of my favorite parts of being in education is this opportunity that we always get over the summer to have this fresh start,” Gately said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “We get to be reflective, collaborate and work together. It feels right now that we have the chance to take a breathe and slow down, so we are spending a lot of time with the new members of our team and planning ahead.”
Gately steps in for previous Superintendent Elaine Kanas, who retired this year after a decade in charge. Before assuming her new role, Gately served as East Williston’s deputy superintendent, chief information officer, director of secondary curriculum and social studies and director of district curriculum information and middle school life.
After working in the district for 11 years, Gately said it was a whirlwind first month. But she is primarily focused on the district’s wellbeing heading into the fall.
“Safety and security are always our short and long-term goals,” Gately said. “We’re also doing work to strengthen our social and emotional platforms with responsive classrooms and teacher training for our reading and writing program. There’s very exciting work that’s happening for now and the future.”
Capital improvements throughout the district include redoing the vestibule and main entrance at The Wheatley School and replacing all interior classroom doors throughout the district, among other things.
The doors will be in locked positions at all times, with swipe access being determined by building administrators.
When asked about any potential challenges she sees with the new position, Gately said she only sees opportunities and wants the community to know East Williston will always be poised to evolve. Almost one year removed from mask mandates for students that lasted for the entirety of the fall, Gately said she is looking forward to a return to stability and consistency for staff and students.
“Hopefully this summer will give us the opportunity to move forward with the social, emotional and academic growth our staff and students deserve,” she said.
Gately said her first desire to work in education came from the teachers she had while growing up. She said she had a great middle-school experience, which inspired her to become a teacher in that educational level.
The Long Island native has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Molloy College, a master’s degree from St. John’s University and a Doctor of Education degree from Concordia Lutheran University.
She began her career teaching as a seventh and eighth-grade social studies teacher. Gately is also an adjunct professor in the School Building and School District Leadership Program at Molloy College.