Four newcomers to the West Hempstead School District made their debut at the monthly school board meeting on Aug. 9, as Molly Gegerson, Patricia Scollo, Katherine Wilkens and Jennie Yi will all be taking on new positions in the district this fall.
Yi will be filling the post of director of humanities, taking charge of social studies, ELA, reading, library and world language.
“I’m an absolute educator,” Yi said. “I was a social studies teacher for about 27 years. Then two years ago, during Covid, I decided to go into the administrative world.”
Yi taught at Cardozo High School from 1993 to 2007 before teaching social studies in Great Neck South High School from 2007 to 2020, before finally becoming the dean of students for Roslyn High School.
In her new position at West Hempstead, Yi said that much of her time will be spent familiarizing herself with the district.
“I’m very into an interdisciplinary approach,” she she stated. “I’ll try to get the English department and the social studies department, which are now part of humanities, to work together. We can enrich students’ understanding of historical events with documents and artefacts.”
Yi added that apart from the humanities, she would like to eventually help build up an AP economics program for the secondary school.
Scollo has accepted the position of assistant director of pupil personnel services, saying, “special ed. might be an easier way to put it.”
Scollo, who grew up in Malverne and attended Valley Stream North High School, previously worked in District 26 in Queens and at Middle School 74.
“I was a special education IEP teacher, so I was in charge of all the IEPs as well as teaching,” she said. An IEP, or individualized education program, offers a curriculum tailored to the individual needs of children with disabilities.
Scollo said she viewed the new opportunity with anticipation. “I’m just excited to build relationships with everyone to be honest,” she said. “I enjoy the community and the family atmosphere.”
Gegerson joins the district as the assistant principal for the West Hempstead Secondary School. “I was a teacher in Massapequa and at Nassau Community College,” she said. “I was going through openings and one of my friends actually sent me this posting. They said, ‘This kind of sounds like you.’ I read through it, and I connected to it.”
Gegerson is still familiarizing herself with her new stomping grounds. “I need to walk around a bit, otherwise I’ll get lost,” she joked.
“I’m excited to be a part of the new secondary school. I am hoping that I can foster creativity and engagement among the students,” she added.
Working with Gegerson will be Wilkens, who will be teaching math in the secondary school. Wilkens has a long history with the school district and may be a familiar face to summer school students.
“I actually started my career here as a leave replacement,” Wilkens said. “I’ve always come back. I loved it, and now I’m grateful enough to be here full time. I’ve always taught summer school here, for the last seven summers. I’ve taught math in Manhattan for the past seven years.”
Daniel Rehman, district superintendent, reiterated his faith in the new hires. “I can speak for each one of these four women who sit before us,” he said. “They’re learners, they chose to be here, and they’re going to do fabulous work.”