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Fire Award for Great Neck Teacher

FASNYAward_061715APaul E. Ziring has served in many roles since he began teaching in Great Neck in 1992 and his selection by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York as “Teacher of the Year” is the latest in a long line of satisfying moments for the school district’s special education outdoor education program coordinator.

Ziring, who lives in Mineola, was nominated by the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center in Garden City and is just the 11th recipient of the award given by the 92,000-member state organization that was founded in 1872.

“I didn’t even know I was nominated,” said Ziring. “I’m honored and humbled by it.”

“I love what I do,” he volunteered. “I can’t put it any other way. I love looking at what the kids need and the experiences that they need and what they don’t always necessarily get or get the opportunity to have. If I can provide a new experience, a learning experience (fire safety) that can save their lives, that’s great,” Ziring added. He especially enjoys staying in touch with many of his former students, one of whom is a New York City firefighter.

Referring to his state award, presented last week in a ceremony at the Firefighters’ Museum, Ziring added, “Bottom line is, all I really intended to do was take a fantastic program that they’re already doing and modify it so that my students know how to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Ziring first began working in Great Neck as a health education teacher after obtaining degrees in psychology, education and administration. He actually started the district’s girls soccer program in 1992 and coached the South Middle girls volleyball team for 13 years. He’s been running the outdoor education program for about 10 years but his work involves a large number of activities that take place indoors, too.

Looking for ways to expand opportunities for his students when the weather wasn’t so cooperative actually led him to his association with fire safety education. “In the winter months we do a lot of museum stuff,” he explained. “I started going to the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City and I looked in there and saw the Firefighters Museum and I was impressed. I brought the kids in there and found that the people at the museum are the most amazing human beings,“ he continued. “They were just taken with our kids. They were so good with the kids.”

Ziring started working with the museum to modify and customize the programs. “They told me that they wanted to form a partnership with the Great Neck School District,” he recalled. “They asked me to create and modify the curriculum to meet the needs of our students.” Great Neck officials quickly agreed to the partnership.

Fire safety educational trips for the 17 groups of youngsters he works with only account for a small portion of the 150 or so trips he arranges yearly for the district’s special needs students. Ziering says that he draws from among 50 or so programs in the metropolitan area including indoor rock climbing, archery, camping, fishing and having the students work with dogs and horses. In fact, district students have started working with DogAbility in Hicksville. “It’s about working and connecting with dogs and their handlers,” Ziring explained. “Most of the dogs are therapy and service dogs.”

The museum’s executive director, Alana Petrocelli, nominated Ziring for state recognition. Petrocelli’s organization has also given Ziering its Badge of Courage Humanitarian Award.

In her letter to the state association she wrote, “Paul created, honed, retooled and virtually perfected the fire safety curriculum to provide students with the training to stay safe in the event of a home or other fire.”

King Kong Invades Great Neck South!



Some of the Hollywood figures, except for Marvin Anchin. He’s wearing an orange shirt!


Joe Friedman, Marvin’s close friend and assistant, stands in the middle. That’s their Tommy Lee Jones creation to Joe’s left and Marvin’s right.

Paper mache master Marvin Anchin’s latest sculptures were a hit at the annual Great Neck South High School Senior event. [Read more…]

Schools Consider Abuse Revision

grschoolWEBThe Great Neck School District is considering revising its Policy on Reporting Child Abuse, [Read more…]

Career Program at South High


Career Advisors: ((left to right) Chairperson Jim Morrow, Julianna Lenahan, Danny Lopez and Advisor Catherine Campbell of South High’s Career Exploration program.

Jim Morrow, who’s been on the Great Neck South High School staff for 24 years, [Read more…]

Great Neck Spirits Basketball

Spirits_052715AOn Friday May 15, the Great Neck Spirits wrapped up their 21st season with a night of fun and bowling. [Read more…]

Schools Revise Summer Aid

SchoolNews_032515AThe Great Neck School District’s Board of Education recently devoted a portion of it public action meeting to revising two important school policies—the Policy for Scholarship Aid for Summer Programs and the Policy for Equal Opportunity. Both policy revisions were adopted, following the school board guidelines of at least three public readings for any policy revision, for any new policy and for any policy that is to be deleted. Thee April 21, school board public action meeting included the third reading for both policies.

The newly adopted revision for the Policy on Scholarship Aid for Summer Programs adds certification by the Nassau County Department of Social Services as another method to objectively assess eligibility for these programs. In the Great Neck School District, summer scholarship aid is available for resident children who attend summer programs provided by the Great Neck Public Schools. Children will be eligible for summer scholarships based on a review of income, verified by IRS tax transcripts according to a schedule developed by the school district, or certification by the Nassau County Department of Social Services. Based on the submission of all of this required information by the required deadline, a determination will be made regarding eligibility for scholarship aid.

The newly revised Policy on Equal Opportunity addresses the reality that the list of classes protected from discrimination continues to expand, In order to be inclusive of all new additions to this list, language has been added to indicate that the school district will not discriminate on the basis of any criteria. In addition, the policy now references that there are other school district compliance officers who are identified in corresponding school district policies. Basically, this policy affirms that discrimination, in any form to any degree, and towards any individual or group, “subverts the allowed aims of a free and democratic society.” The policy reads that the school board states that there shall not be any discrimination on the basis of any arbitrary criteria (which includes age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnic group, gender, genetic predisposition, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, religious practice, ses, sexual orientation or weight).

The next public action meeting of the school board is Monday, June 1, at Great Neck South High School, immediately following the 7:30 p.m. UPTC reports.

JFK Lighthouse Efforts Honored

Lighthouse_082214A (2)Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Councilwoman Anna Kaplan gathered at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Great Neck recently to honor students for their participation in the Save the Stepping Stones Lighthouse Contest. Students created dioramas, posters, stories, poems and pictures to raise awareness to help save the Stepping Stones Lighthouse.

Earlier this year, Bosworth announced the formation of a partnership with the Great Neck Park District and the Great Neck Historical Society to restore and preserve the lighthouse. The partnership was announced following a meeting last year between the Supervisor and representatives from the U.S. General Services Administration. Anyone wishing to learn more about, or donate to, the Stepping Stones Lighthouse Restoration project, visit:

Great Neck Observes Memorial Day


(left to right) Councilwoman Lee Seeman, Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Grand Marshal Melvin Goldberg, Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman.

Led by Grand Marshall Melvin Goldberg, Great Neck paid its customary annual tribute  to Memorial Day with a parade from South Middle Neck Road to the Village Green.  Local dignitaries were joined by representatives of the Town of North Hempstead, including Supervisor Judi Bosworth.


Photo by Jessica K. Vega


Photo by Jessica K. Vega


Members of the Great Neck Board of Education sitting with former Superintendent William Shine (right)                      Photo by Jessica K. Vega



School, Library Budgets Pass Easily

School Budget – Yes, 839; No, 179

Library  – Yes, 715; No, 251


Establishment of a Capital Reserve Fund for the schools: Yes, 807; No, 165

Donald Ashkenase and Barbara Berkowitz Reelected as Board of Education Trustees
Donald Ashkenase — 773
Barbara Berkowitz — 807 



Schools Boost ELL Support

schoolgoalWEBThe Great Neck School District is now set for an even greater effort in identifying English Language Learners [Read more…]