JCC executive director to retire

Five Towns organization actively pursuing new location


There will be a change in leadership for the JCC of the Greater Five Towns as Rina Shkolnik, the executive director for the past 11 years, will retire effective June 30. Shkolnik confirmed that she will be retiring.

Her successor, whom she was instrumental in selecting, will be Joel Block, the current executive director of the Suffolk JCC located in Commack. Block, a Merrick resident, has worked at the Suffolk JCC for 18 years.

“We’re healthy and our programs are flourishing,” said JCC Board president Arnie Waldman, when asked about Shkolnik’s tenure as executive director. “This was planned for quite some time and Rina handpicked her successor."

Shkolnik, an Oceanside resident, helped revitalize the community-oriented organization by expanding programs that cater to all age groups from the youngest of children to seniors. Under her leadership, nursery enrollment has doubled and the JCC opened a daycare center for working parents. The group’s Russian elderly programs has tripled its offerings for the Five Towns area’s growing immigrant population.

"They say the JCC of the Greater Five Towns is an organization with heart," said Bob Block, executive director of the Five Towns Community Chest. "For over a decade Rina Shkolnik has been the beat of that heart producing programs aimed at benefiting our entire community from top to bottom."

In 2011, she was named one of the top 50 most influential women on Long Island based on her work. The JCC serves approximately 16,000 people at 18 different sites.

“It will be business as usual and there will be a very smooth transition for the next executive director,” Waldman said.

The JCC will honor Shkolnik for her work at an awards dinner on May 1. Block wasn’t available for comment as he was away on a family vacation.

Waldman also said that the JCC is “actively pursuing a new location” that is in the Five Towns. He would not elaborate, but said, “I am happy with it as well as my board.”

The JCC previously bid on the Number Six School site in Woodmere that the Lawrence school board voted to sell to Bronx-based Simone Development Companies for $12.5 million. The building is expected to be a multi-specialty medical practice. A public referendum on the sale is slated for March 20.