The Nassau County Legislature approved the renaming of Brookside Avenue outside Freeport High School, between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road, as “Ernie Kight Way,” in honor of the late Ernest Kight Jr., a longtime Freeport educator who passed away on Feb. 27.
“The renaming of Brookside Avenue between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road is such an amazing and fitting tribute,” said Diane Caruso, Kight’s wife. “He spent so many happy and fruitful years at Freeport High School traveling up and down this street in service of Freeport students. It is an honor that Ernie would be so proud of, and we are grateful and appreciative to all those who made this honor possible.”
Kight graduated from Freeport High School in 1971, and immediately after earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stonehill College, in Massachusetts, he returned to Freeport High as a social studies teacher, his dream job.
Kight was not only a dedicated teacher, but also an inspirational coach as he helped mold the girl’s basketball team into a powerhouse, claiming the Nassau County championship for four consecutive years from 1989-1992. For his dedication to the Red Devils, Kight was eventually inducted into the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
By 1991, Kight was promoted to assistant principal at Freeport High, and in 2009, he was named principal.
In 2012, he retired after 32 years of serving the district, but, again, he was not gone for long as he returned in 2015 to serve on the Board of Education. Four years later, he became president of the board.
“Mr. Kight was a passionate educational leader with unwavering support for our students, schools and community,” said Dr. Kishore Kuncham, superintendent of schools. “His entire career was dedicated to helping others succeed. He will be remembered as someone who was committed to the Freeport students, families and the community.”
“His knowledge of education and school functioning made him an excellent board member, who thoughtfully weighed the needs of students and families while being fiscally responsible”, added BOE Vice-President Vilma Lancaster. “Mr. Kight enthusiastically supported the academic and extracurricular programs of Freeport Schools and was very involved in advocacy matters with policymakers. He was extremely proud of Freeport.”
During the pandemic, Kight worked to support students and staff by helping secure PPE and urging all to stay informed on how to combat the spread of Covid-19. He also worked with Northwell Health and the Memorial Presbyterian Church, in Roosevelt, to receive the Moderna vaccine live on camera in order to help encourage others to get vaccinated as well.
“The ‘Ernie Kight Way’ is marked by his embrace of education, commitment to community service, dedication to mentoring our youth, and his unwavering love for everything that makes Freeport unique and special,” said County Legislator Debra Mulé, of Freeport.
“Renaming this stretch of Brookside Avenue will serve as an especially fitting and lasting tribute to a man who gave so much to Freeport High School, its students, and the entire community,” added fellow Freeporter and Legislator Kevan Abrahams.