Joseph F. Laurita Jr. running for OBEN School Board

Adept negotiator would take his expertise to the OBEN board


Joseph F. Laurita Jr. has always served his community, first as a young emergency medical technician with the Williston Park Fire Department, and then, as a Brooklyn police officer. He would like to continue his service as a member on the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education. Given the opportunity, he is certain he would excel at the position.

Laurita, 47, has lived in Oyster Bay since 2012. He is married and is a father to a 17-year-old son, and two daughters, who are 12 and 10. His children have always attended OBEN schools.
Originally from Williston Park, Laurita moved to Oyster Bay after attending the North Shore Community Church for a few years.

“Jeanne and I are from Long Island and thought Oyster Bay was gorgeous and safe,” he said.

A realtor since 2004, he currently works for Keller Williams Real Estate, in Garden City. Laurita said his job there and prior experience as a police officer will help him be effective as a school board trustee.

“With real estate I have experience with contracts, with parties that don’t necessarily care if the deal is made, including attorneys and appraisers. I have to corral all of them in to get a deal done,” he explained. “It’s all about negotiations. Everything is a negotiation and I have experience with that.”

Laurita’s first job was working for Merrill Lynch in operations. He had interned there while attending the New York Institute of Technology before earning a bachelor’s degree in 2000.
He had been a member of the Williston Park Fire Department since he was 18, responding to calls as an EMT — which he said was in his blood. Laurita worked alongside many police officers there.

“The older guys seemed to enjoy themselves on the job and were getting paid for it,” he recalled. “When I was working in my office (at Merrill Lynch) every time the police sirens went off, I would look out the window. I decided to take the police test.”

He worked in Bushwick and Brownsville for eight years before taking the test to be a Nassau County Police Officer. He had to resign from the NYPD to work as a police officer elsewhere, which he said was intimidating. But his 20 years as a Garden City police officer ended up being good ones.

When he retired in 2002, Laurita became a realtor following his father and uncle who were successful. “I like the process of finding a client and making deals happen,” he said, “and knowing what’s going on with the properties.”

Laurita, an Eagle Scout, volunteered as assistant scout master for Oyster Bay’s Troop 253 for years. Being an Eagle Scout shapes you, he said.

“It gave me the opportunities to do things I wouldn’t have done growing up in a suburban area,” he said. “Being in Boy Scouts teaches you how to be a leader. You learn interpersonal skills and learn to teach others.”

He said what concerns him most at the OBEN schools is safety. He would like to use his experience as a police officer to help take care of other people’s children. If elected, Laurita would like to be a member of the district’s school safety committee.

“I’m concerned with the direction we are going as a society,” he said. “The issues, like girls sports should be for girls so they can achieve scholarships without boys competing with them. I want the district to stay focused on the core curriculum and stay out of the business of teaching what should be taught at home.”

He said the OBEN school district is “fairly conservative” and “excellent.” His goal, he said, is to ensure it stays that way.