Lynbrook School Community Rallies to Keep Burak in Superintendent Role

Residents and faculty push for Interim Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak to get new schools chief position.

The Lynbrook school district is searching for a new superintendent to replace the late Dr. Santo Barbarino and has even hired a firm of specialists to help. But according to former Lynbrook Board of Education Trustee David Hermann, "The best candidate for the job already works here in Lynbrook."

Hermann is referring to Dr. Melissa Burak. He was one of five people who spoke up Tuesday night at a forum the Lynbrook school board held to collect feedback from the community regarding the superintendent search. All of them expressed their support for Burak to become the new schools chief.

The school board unanimously appointed Burak, a Lynbrook resident who had been serving as the district's assistant superintendent of business, to the interim superintendent post at its Sept. 5 meeting after Dr. Barbarino suddenly passed away in late August. Months before he suffered a fatal heart attack though, Dr. Barbarino had expressed to the board his plans to retire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year so they had contacted School Leadership, LLC, a highly respected executive search firm, to engage in preliminary discussions regarding a search for a new superintendent. Dr. B's death has expedited the search for his replacement.

In addition to Tuesday's forum, School Leadership has been conducting focus groups and surveying the school community about what they would want in a new superintendent, but so far, what they've been hearing most from those participating in the discussion is a resounding call for Dr. Burak's temporary appointment to become a permanent one.

A Facebook page, titled "Support Dr. Burak as Lynbrook Superintendent," has even popped up and has garnered more than 80 fans so far.

"The community needs to let the Board of Education know that we support Dr. Melissa Burak as Superintendent of Schools ... The future of the Lynbrook School District depends on this major decision. Let's not allow an outside representative tell us what is best for our children," wrote the page's moderator, encouraging supporters to send letters to the Board of Education.

"I see no reason why the district needs to waste money on a firm to do the hiring, when the most qualified person is right underneath their noses!"  Lisa Cornicello-Renz wrote on the page.

"There is not one person I can think of who better fits this position than Dr. Burak," added Donna Bastanzio Smith. "It seems to me that our time and our money would be better spent where it is really needed."

Many of Burak's supporters touted her excellent understanding of the district's policies and procedures, her leadership abilities, her responsiveness, her experience teaching in the Lynbrook school district at both Marion Street School and the High School before being promoted to the administration, and her ties to the community as a resident.

"Frankly, I dont think I have met another person who works so hard," wrote Julie Bergin, a parent with students in the district. "She is a Lynbrook resident, who obviously cares a great deal about the place, and those in it!"

To express your thoughts to the Lynbrook school district regarding the superintendent search, visit www.lynbrook.k12.ny.us to fill out the Lynbrook UFSD Superintendent Search Questionnaire before Oct. 26. You may return it either directly to School Leadership, LLC or to District Clerk Elizabeth Mueller at the district's administration office located at 111 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook, NY 11563.

Theresa Ianono October 20, 2012 at 03:02 PM
2 mark How many kids has Dr Burak sent threough the district? I am not sure what is wrong with becoming a better school district. What is wrong in wanting more and better for outr children. Today they announced the Siemens science finalists - how many from Lynbrook? Dr Burak maybe the best candidate but we have not heard one idea from her yet on what she will do to take this school district forward. We cant stay ahppy with being a second level district. We need to always strive for better.
Parent of Lynbrook Children October 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM
When is a community given an opportunity to hear what the candidates for superintendent have to say about how they will improve a District? This is not an election. What we need in Lynbrook is a leader who already has a flawless reputation in all areas of our schools. Dr. Burak has been sucessful as an elementary teacher, high school teacher, Director of Communications and Assistannt Superintendent of Buisiness in Lynbrook. Dr. Burak has devoted her professional career to the Lynbrook Public Schools; there is no person as qualified for this position, and no person who the District and community can say has the work ethic, drive, diverse experienence and passion for the children of Lynbrook as Dr. Burak. The search team came together with many different facets of the community and schools to hear what communitiy members are looking for in a superintendent. On October 16th, the team asked to hear from the community at large...where were all of you on that night? The Lynbrook Public Schools would be remiss to not appoint Dr. Burak for Superinentent of Schools.
Concerned Resident October 20, 2012 at 07:30 PM
There seems to be another side to Dr Burak. There are alumni that do not believe she relates with students. She might shine on the business side but not on relating to students. There are personality issues in her neighborhood as well.
Lisa mullins October 20, 2012 at 08:02 PM
It is a little scary there is a rush to appoint her without hearing her ideas or what she will do to improve the schools. We should wait to hear what she has to say and what other candidates are availble. She just got a new 3 year contract there is no rush to give her the full time job.
Mark reyes October 20, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Concerned resident, Personality issues? Apparently you haven't spent any time with her. Second of all, since when were personality ever considered on a job application? Sorry but someone with the amount of support in this community that she has right now, has no problems with personality!
Denise Millow October 20, 2012 at 09:11 PM
@Mark - You must have a fun life to be spending all this time on line posting from Myrtle Beach. There really isnt the support out there you think there is for her. A few people on a facebook page is not overwhelming support. ITs time for her to let the community hear her ideas as compared to others or if she is unwilling she should step aside. But the community should nt be rushed into this decision. Dr Burak is not going anywhere.
Tom Garrett October 20, 2012 at 09:20 PM
How many children will an "Outside" Superintendent put through our schools? Hardly what I would consider a prerequisite for the position and I was unaware that it was a true bench mark of a district to have Students qualify for the Siemens Science Final's..... I guess if we apply that standard there must be many District's on Long Island that are second rate!
Tom Garrett October 20, 2012 at 09:34 PM
"Alumni" hmmmmmm, You know I can think of some "Alumni" that supported a National College Football Program once too..... Addressing POLC's point where were these "Alumni" on October 16th voicing their concerns about "personality issues"??? Really????? POLC has put it perfectly and if folks want to dither and waste time and money, fine but like I said it's wasting time and money. We have the best replacement to fill the enormous shoes of Dr. B and she already work for us...... How about that!
Denise Millow October 20, 2012 at 10:16 PM
@ tom We all know how much you love Dr Burak over her little slide presentation - but thats not reason enough to put her in the job -why dont you tell us one of her ideas to iprove the educational quality of the schools
Mark reyes October 21, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Denise, As far as support, it's probably a good idea to just sit back now and let the search team compile everything they've heard from the community and go from there. I would assume that eventually that will be made public.
Tom Garrett October 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Mark, As you and POLC have pointed out and accurately so, Dr. Burak is the best replacement to Dr. B. again not that he can ever be replaced. As for some of the others they are entitled to their opinion, however not one has offered anything as to WHY we should proceed with this charade, “Academic Rigors”, “Let’s just wait and See”, “# of children in the district” and my favorite “Slide Show’s “ just goes to show the shallowness of their argument, matter of fact a few have VERY similar writing skills...... We are just wasting money and time with this nonsense. Btw: Roslyn got a mention in Newsday this morning, yeah; I think we should aspire to run things just like they do!
Alan Wright October 21, 2012 at 03:34 PM
@tom - your problem is that you are happy to live with a second rate school district as long as it doesnt cost you too much. I want more for my kids and want the best candidate available. I am still waiting to hear any ideas either from Dr Burak or you as to why she should get the job.
Mark reyes October 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Alan, Lynbrook is a SECOND rate school district? When my 2 sons went there it had always been considered a good district where people actually wanted to move to because of the schools. That's a pretty insulting comment.
Alan Wright October 21, 2012 at 04:10 PM
@Mark - well Lynbrook is not one of the top ones in Nassau county - you are delirious if you think that
Tom Garrett October 21, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Alan Wrong, It is you that are delirious in your thoughts and demonstrate when presented with facts, folks such as you have nothing left but to sink to personal insults. To your point of second rate Districts, I can think of a number of them that qualify in that realm, names withheld, however if you think hard enough I’m sure one or two will pop in to your head, Lynbrook not being one of them....... As for cheap, want to pay my school tax bill, I’ll trade you and I’m sure I’ll come out ahead.......
Alan Wright October 21, 2012 at 04:23 PM
@Tom You still have not provided one supporting fact for Dr Burack. There are no personal insults here only facts. Fact that Lynbrook is not one of the top districts on Long Island. Fact you would rather save a few bucks than have a top district as you are happy with the mediocrity we have. You would rather sace the money of a search firm and just to Dr Burack in because it costs a few dollars to look. There are plenty of second rate districts around here and we are getting closer to them than we are getting closer to the top districts.
Tom Garrett October 21, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Not for nothing “Alan” but you seem to possess those “similar” writing skills as some others here, change it up your fooling no one......
Alan Wright October 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Tom Many of us have similar ideas that we want a better school district - but how come you still ignore the question. Tell us one idea Dr Burak has to improve the educational environment of our district. Stop avoiding the question Tom
Tom Garrett October 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Alan, Phill and Your Other Commenting Personalities, First I'm glad to see you actually can take a suggestion! Second we have answered the question see POLC, Mark's and the few I have posted but seems if we posted 1000 points as proof positive , it is you that are unhappy. That's assuming you actually reside here in Lynbrook or care what happens here........ Just curious how much do you get paid per response? Your Welcome...... hehehehehe
Judith Pearsant October 22, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Tom Yourself, POLC or whomever else you claim you are still has not posted one idea that Dr Burak has mentioned or stated as to what she would od to improve the Lynbrook schools education. Your cares are around the cost and we all know that. You dont want to spend the money to have a top district and that is your choice, but luckily we have a bigger group of parents who are concerned about our children's education.
Tom Garrett October 22, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Sure what ever you say.........
Judith Pearsant October 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM
@Tom There you go again refusing to answer the question - thats about the whole strength of your argument.
Objective Observer October 22, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I am intrigued with the concept of Lynbrook being the top rated district in the county. It seems to me that there are many variables that go into assessing that title. Some of those, such as size and demographics, are out of the control of the Superintendent of schools. Lynbrook Schools have been rated highly by many independent groups as well as reputable publications. Each of our schools is a blue ribbon school. I'm not sure what your expectations are but I do know that Lynbrook has always had high expectations for its students and staff. Dr. Burak has been at the forefront in terms many aspects of Lynbrook’s high standards. She helped institute the use of technology as a means of improving student performance. This includes programs that provide immediate data as a means of addressing students' needs quickly and efficiently. She has helped institute rigorous professional development that exceeds state mandates. She has evaluated staff in an attempt to see to it that we maintain quality standards across all grade levels. She brings personal experience to this having been actively involved in both elementary and secondary education (highly unusual for most superintendents). She has done all of this while working diligently to maintain fiscal responsibility. It seems to me that as a Lynbrook resident herself, it is in her best interest to see to it that Lynbrook stay on track as one of the best districts in the area. She is by far the best candidate for this job.
Mark reyes October 22, 2012 at 07:50 PM
These are not public elections where people campaign for the job and we have debates and they put commercials on TV. The search team,it seems will take the community's opinions they've gotten into account, and the process moves on.
Judith Pearsant October 22, 2012 at 07:57 PM
@ objective Size and demographics have nothing to do with being rated a top district. Check out the Newsweek rating of high schools to see where Lynbrook falls as compared to other Nassau county districts. We sshouldn't be kidding ourselves that the blue ribbon rating from over ten years ago means anything today.
Tom Garrett October 22, 2012 at 08:16 PM
OO, All of what you said are ALL the reasons the district need not look any further we have the perfect replacement for Dr. B, Dr. B! As for Phill, Alan, Judith and their other posting personalities they do not and can not understand the qualities, integrity, knowledge the Dr. B brings to the table and most of all the fact that she understands and has experience in ALL facets of the Educational process from top to bottom. Btw: your doing it again @ you just forgot the - , hehehehe
Objective Observer October 22, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Hello Judith Clearly you did not read the Newsweek article very carefully. There almost 25,000 high schools in the United States. In Newsweek's list of the top 1000 high schools in the United States, Lynbrook was ranked 670. That puts us in the top 3% of the high schools in the entire United States. In addition, if you had checked carefully, the top high are either highly specialized (Bronx High School for the Sciences) and have a strict admission requuirement or are in generally upscale high average income areas (Great Neck, Manhassett, Locust Valley, Bergin County, Rye, Jericho...) It appears demographics DO have an impact.
Mark reyes October 22, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Judith, I attended 2 board meetings last year and one this year. Where are all the concerned people so worried about the school district? There were the same 25-30 there every time I went. Maybe they're not there becasue they're satisfied with whats going on.
Tom Garrett October 22, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Judith, Phill, Alan and your other multiple personalities, Heheee, nothing like getting fact checked to spoil an ill-conceived comment, thought we were a Second Rate district?? Top 3% in the Country sounds pretty STOUT to me, not that I needed a “Newsweek National Ranking Article” to know what we have. The sad part is your attention to detail is juvenile, you put no thought into your comments and frankly you haven’t a clue about what you’re talking about, which is the only reason why I continued to respond to you. It is now obvious to anyone that’s reads this thread, you haven’t a care what is in the best interest of our School District........ Arrivederci "@-"
ansan February 14, 2013 at 04:38 AM
They hired an assistant superintendent that gets paid $1000 a day!!! We are just making these people rich with our hard earned money with the illusion that we are providing an excellent education to our children. But we are not! We are being robbed blindly. My son can't barely spell in 8th grade!!! It is all wrapped in hypocrisy and small town politics. Wake up folks!!! They are getting paid big bucks here!! More accountability please!!! The least we must do is ASK what she has to offer!! More of the same. No thank you! No thank you! We deserve more, our children deserve more!!!! We work hard, not to pay HIGH HIGH taxes and see our money wasted away. We can do better folks! We should do better. This is an international, global economy. Kids are now competing for jobs with kids from all over the world. Are our kids really well prepared?? I have my doubts.


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