Mam’k Schools Honor 25 Retirees, Hire 2 Administrators

Rockefeller Awards Go to James Dailey and Zoey Scheler

by Joan R. Simon


Monday, June 18
Last day to obtain absentee ballot if picked up in person

Tuesday, June 19 - Budget Re-Vote
Vote at your local elementary school 7am - 9pm

(June 13, 2007) There was much for the Mamaroneck School Board to celebrate at their final meeting of year on June 12: 25 teachers were retiring, two new administrators were hired, and two high school seniors received Rockefeller Awards for their artistic achievements.

Before the honors could get underway, there was a formal hearing, required by law, on the revised budget that was approved by the Board on June 1 and will be put before the voters next Tuesday, June 19. (see:School Board Shrinks Budget By $1.57 Million) Not surprisingly, after many public sessions in late May and presentations at PTA meetings throughout the district in early June, there were no questions or comments from the audience.

Rockefeller Awards

Launching the evening’s festivities was the presentation of the Rockefeller Awards to James Dailey for performing arts and Zoey Scheler for visual arts. Mr. Dailey demonstrated his skill in one of the many thespian areas in which he has excelled by performing excerpts from a dance entitled “Absence,” choreographed by another senior student, Maria Biaggi.


Rockefeller Award Winner James Dailey performed "Absence" by MHS senior Maria Biaggi.

There had been a "3-way tie" for the visual art award, all won by Ms. Scheler, joked art teacher Michael Dollar. He presented a many-faceted slide show of her work and cited her outstanding ceramics, painting and graphic design. Ms. Scheler was also the designer of "Dugout Duck," one of the "historical ducks" created last summer to benefit the Larchmont Historical Society. (See:Fierce Bidding on Historical Ducks Raises $42K For Museum.)

A self portrait and other art work by Zoey Scheler demonstrate the versatility of this year's Rockefeller Award winner.

In 1982, Mamaroneck High School was one of only ten schools selected to receive a $10,000 award from the Rockefeller Brothers’ Fund. The school prudently invested the prize money and each year has been using the interest to award scholarships to two graduating seniors who have excelled in the visual and performing arts.

Retirees Recognized

Heading the list of retirees was Peter Berendt, director of special education, who has been with the Mamaroneck schools in various capacities for 30 years. He began as a teacher, but served as assistant principal at the high school and principal at Mamaroneck Avenue School. Others retiring include:

Chatsworth Avenue: Carole Garinger (38 years), Kay Kobbe-Miles (35), Judy O’Savio (music, 33), Gail Solomon (19), Colleen Spangler (librarian, 19)

Mamaroneck Avenue: Carol Dold (36), Pat Fanning (38), Eleanor Sieh (music, 46)

Murray Avenue: Carol Krissoff (18)

Hommocks: Cal Chang (guidance, 31 years), Joyce Dato (math, 24), Alice Dunning (math, 18), Dee O’Brien (English, founder of the Semi-Royal Shakespeare Company, 36), Alex Perucci (math, 37), Dean Reben (math, 33), Richard Rella (math, 37), Cora Rust (special education, 25), Jeri Waldman (math tutor, coordinator of the Teacher Institute, former Murray teacher, 32)

High School: John Esposito (English, president of the teachers’ union, 32), John Marcheschi (Spanish, 33), Paul Martin (coordinator of the guidance department, 36), Marylou Putignano (French, 20), Harvey Ann Ross (English, 39), Sandy Weinman (special education, 21), Dale Zheutlin (art, 22)

Board President Honored

Also “retiring” was board president Cecilia Absher, who trustee Amy Levere praised for her “thoughtful and thorough manner,” and her “southern charm” combined with a “steely determination.” With her two sons in elementary school, Ms. Absher promised “to stay involved” and commended the “dedicated and smart team leading the district.”

New Assistant Superintendent & Central Principal

The board announced the hiring of Meryl Rubinstein as assistant superintendent of business operations, a position responsible for overseeing finance, budgets, construction and other structural underpinnings of the school system. She will replace Dr. Christine Grucci, who is leaving after two years in the position (see: Two (of Four) Top Administrators Leaving Mam'k School District).

Ms. Rubinstein is currently the school business official at the Haldane Central School District in Cold Spring, where she is also responsible for the personnel office. Previously, she was assistant superintendent for business in Peekskill, as well as their director of personnel. She is working on her doctorate in education at Fordham.

Also announced was the hiring of Carol Houseknecht as principal of Central School. Ms. Houseknecht has been an assistant principal at the Heathcote elementary school in Scarsdale for the past 7 years and for 16 years before that was an elementary teacher in Scarsdale and Mt. Vernon for grades 2 to 4.