New faces, shuffled seats on the Hewlett-Woodmere board

Mitchell Greebel and Melissa Gates are named president and vice president

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A pair of new members to the Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education took their seats following their swearing in, and two familiar faces found themselves in the center of the table at the board’s reorganization meeting on July 12.

Debi Sheinin and Judy Menashe, former PTA Central Council president and vice president respectively, were sworn in at the meeting, replacing former Trustees Stephen Witt and Dr. Jonathan Altus, who both stepped down at the end of the school year. Melissa Gates, an incumbent was also sworn in for her third term, and was then elected to board vice president. Mitchell Greebel was elected president.

“In this case Melissa has been on the board for six years, and I’ve been on for five,” Greebel said. “We both served together as central council presidents so we felt that it was time for us to have a reunion.”

Gates agreed. “We both work very hard and this is just another way to continue to serve the community in another capacity,” she said.

Stepping down from the roles of president and vice president were Scott McInnes and Cheryl May, respectively. Both had held the position for five years. “I’ve enjoyed my time as president,” McInnes said. “But its time … I’ll still keep doing all the things I do, taking photographs of the kids, going to events and doing all the work that the board does, but I could not be happier that Mitchell and Melissa will be taking over.”

May expressed a similar sentiment. “Change is good,” she said before offering up the advice that the two should, “Pay attention to the community. Listen to the parents and the kids.”

Both Menashe and Sheinin conveyed how eager they were to start in their new roles as the board took a short break following their swearing in. “I’m very excited to be able to serve the community in this way,” Menashe said.

Sheinin said that she was having trouble picking and choosing one item in particular that she wanted to prioritize, explaining that there are, “So many things.” She said that wanted to help the district become the best that it can be.

Hewlett 2025, the district’s long term plan to, as McInnes described last year,

“Ensure the continued success of the district,” was noted by a few of the trustees as a focus. The district had conducted a survey and demographic study of their residents in 2016, and created a 19-member Stakeholder Planning Team which features a rotating cast of one middle school student, two high school students, two non-instructional staff members, a general education teacher, a special education teacher, a general education teacher’s assistant, a special education teacher’s assistant, two parents of students, two community members, two private school representatives, one building-level administrator, one district-level administrator, one district-level director and one Board of Education trustee, with the goal of guaranteeing they have the resources in place to support the programs and services the district offers.

Have an opinion on the Hewlett 2025 plan? Send your letter to the editor to jbessen@liherald.com.