East Rockaway schools planning committee set to return


With an eye toward its future, the East Rockaway School District will soon reunite its Strategic Planning Committee to outline and assess the district’s goals for the future.

The committee comprises about 35 teachers, administrators, board trustees, staff members, parents and community members who engage in rich discourse to form goals.

“Any great organization or district has its vision for the future, and it has been more than five years since the district’s original committee met and developed our strategic plan,” Superintendent Lisa Ruiz said. “... Our schools and students have reaped the benefits of those plans and it is time to measure our progress and continue to advance forward. I’m really eager to reconvene with the group, welcome new members and continue setting the course for excellence in our schools.”

The past plan was a four-pronged system that was designed to address achievement, opportunity, innovation, and connection across the district. Essentially, it served as a blueprint for changes and decision-making over the past five years.

Changes included innovative teaching strategies, researched based solutions and forming relationships with local universities and realtors, and it was the first of its kind for the district, and also served long-term needs.

After the group re-forms, the changes implemented will likely come under new leadership after Ruiz announced at the Nov. 16 Board of Education meeting that she would retire at the end of the school year.

“I feel like I’ve spent almost 45 years in education, almost 42 years in public education, and I just felt that for personal reasons, this was a good time to move on to that next phase in my life,” Ruiz said.  “. . . I was going to leave at the end of last year, but because of Covid, I wanted to see the district through its difficult time.”

Ruiz’s retirement is to take effect June 30 next year. She came to East Rockaway nine years ago after serving as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Merrick and as the director of pupil personnel services in Levittown. She has been in education more than four decades. Among the many things she said she was proud of, Ruiz said she was pleased to institute and successfully oversee the district’s previous strategic plan.