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School Reopening Community Feedback Survey

Over the past several months district stakeholders have been working on a comprehensive school reopening plan.  As a district we are committed to bringing our students back into our schools, provided that we can do so in a way that is safe for our students, families and staff members, while complying with guidance and law. 

Later this week New York State will release guidance to school districts to utilize in the development of their reopening plans.  In addition to State guidance, a critical component of our plan is gathering feedback from the community.  Please take a few moments to complete a brief survey regarding reopening for the 2020-2021 school year. The survey may be accessed at the following link:

We are continuing our work toward reopening, and we will update the community throughout the summer.

LVCSD Appoints Executive Director of Special Education

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The Locust Valley Central School District is pleased to announce that Michael Saidens has been appointed as the Executive Director of Special Education. Mr. Saidens will begin on August 10, replacing Dr. Patricia Griffin who retired on June 30, 2020. 

The District received 43 applications for the position of Executive Director of Special Education, choosing twelve applicants to interview with Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Graham, Ed.D, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Anthony Davidson and Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs & Human Resources, Toni Meliambro. Those meetings narrowed the pool to seven candidates.

A hiring committee comprised of teachers, parents and administrators held thorough interviews with the seven candidates, recommending three finalists to the central office administrators. Those three candidates were tasked with giving a presentation on the CSE (Committee on Special Education) process to  Dr. Graham, Mr. Davidson and Ms. Meliambro, who evaluated the presentations and interviewed each of the three finalists again, delving deeper into their abilities to perform the job. Based on the results of this in depth interview process, Mr. Saidens was the standout candidate and moved forward for an interview with the Board of Education, which unanimously appointed him.

Mr. Saidens has held the position of elementary school principal in the Sachem and East Islip School Districts prior to being named Executive Director of Student Services in the Sachem School District. As a principal, Mr. Saidens chaired and facilitated 504 meetings and served as the CSE and CPSE Chairperson. Earlier in his career he was an elementary school teacher in the Smithtown Central School District and South Huntington Union Free School District. He taught inclusion classes, provided academic intervention support and wrote special education grant applications. During the 23 years that Mr. Saidens has been in education, he also served as an assistant principal in the Harborfields Central School District.

As Executive Director of Student Services, Mr. Saidens supervised 500 employees, ensured that the district implemented and streamlined procedures for special education services, addressing students’ academic deficits, scheduling conflicts and parent concerns. He ensured that students continued to receive their services virtually while schools were closed due to COVID-19, including weekly check ins with each family.

Mr. Saidens earned his school leadership certification from Stony Brook University, a Masters Degree in Special Education from Dowling College and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Clemson University.

Combining his professional experience, references and impressive interview responses, Mr. Saidens will bring a collaborative, child-centered and proactive approach to his new position.

“I am confident that Mr. Saidens will provide great leadership for our special education students, staff and families,” said Dr. Graham. “His dedication to 2,000 special education students in his former district will translate into great student success for Locust Valley’s special education population.”

New Part 3: A Conversation with Dr. Graham

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Class of 2020 valedictorian Michelle Hsu and salutatorian Julia Forte held a virtual interview with Superintendent of Schools, Kenneth Graham, Ed.D. The interview will be shared in four parts over the next few days. Thanks to Michelle and Julia for helping us get to know Dr. Graham!







Middle School Teacher Named Teacher of the Year!

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Locust Valley Middle School teacher Kathleen Reilly has been named Middle/Junior High School Teacher of the Year by the Long Island Council for the Social Studies. The honor is bestowed upon a teacher who has demonstrated knowledge of social studies content and current social studies issues and has demonstrated effective and inspiring social studies teaching, including the ability to convey the importance and vitality of social studies to his or her students.

Ms. Reilly was nominated by Bryan Sarandrea, Coordinator for Social Studies and Business, K-12. Recommendations from her colleagues and statements by her former students were also shared with the Long Island Council for the Social Studies and considered in their decision to name her as Teacher of the Year. 

Mr. Sarandrea said that Ms. Reilly is most deserving of this recognition. “This award recognizes an outstanding social studies teacher who inspires others, and Kathy Reilly epitomizes those characteristics,” he said. “Her passion for history has enriched the experiences of countless students, and we are lucky to have her as a part of our school community.”

Middle School Principal H. Howard Hogan said that Ms. Reilly gets her students excited about social studies, teaching the curriculum with contagious enthusiasm. “This is a teacher who shows us every day that she is meant for this role,” he said. “She is an expert on the subject she teaches and shares her passion for social studies in a manner that embraces discourse and reflection."

The Long Island Council for the Social Studies plans to recognize Ms. Reilly at a ceremony this fall and has invited her to be a presenter at an upcoming conference.

Congratulations to Ms. Reilly on this extraordinary accomplishment! The Locust Valley school community is grateful for the dedication this outstanding teacher has had toward her students and colleagues for the past 20 years. 

Lead in Water Sampling Report

School districts across the state are required to sample all water outlets which may be utilized for drinking every five years. The state has defined 15 parts per billion as the safe limit to the amount of lead which may be present in water to consider it potable.  The district has recently completed our lead in water sampling and the results are attached.

Any area with an exceedance has been addressed and remedied. All necessary resamples have been taken and have come back below the allowable threshold. 

All water outlets throughout the district are safe for use by staff and students.