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.