A search is under way for a new Lynbrook School District superintendent — but many community members and teachers believe that the hunt could end now and that the interim appointee, Dr. Melissa Burak, should fill the position.
At a search forum hosted by the district Board of Education on Oct. 16, residents suggested throughout the evening that the “interim” tag be removed from Burak’s title. Burak was appointed in September, following the death of Superintendent Dr. Santo Barbarino on Aug. 27. She has also retained her title as assistant superintendent of business.
“I worked with Dr. Burak for six years,” said David Herrmann, a Lynbrook resident and a school board member from 2001 to 2007. “I’ve never met an individual more knowledgeable on education and school finances than her.”
Mary Kirby, a lifelong resident of the village and an English teacher at Lynbrook High School for 16 years, said that Burak is respected throughout the community. “Her exceptional dedication in all of her positions held, within all facets of the Lynbrook School District,” Kirby said, “qualifies her as the only candidate for the position of the superintendent of schools.”
The forum was open to the public, and was led by a panel comprising members of School Leadership LLC, a consulting firm hired by the board to conduct a superintendent search. For its services, School Leadership can be paid up to $18,000. The board approved the payment at its Oct. 10 meeting.
Dr. Charles Fowler, the firm’s president, is the former superintendent of Nassau BOCES and the Hewlett-Woodmere School District. With him were Lawrence McGoldrick, former superintendent of Valley Stream District 30, and Dr. Kathy Weiss, former superintendent of the Baldwin School District.
Fowler asked those in attendance what makes Lynbrook a special place to live and work, and about the challenges the new superintendent will face and the skills and background they would look for in a district leader.
“We don’t recommend who they hire — that’s the board’s job,” Fowler said. “Our job is to try to do some staff work, the [human resources] work, that would be done with any other position in the school district.”