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Lynbrook Schools Chief Santo Barbarino Dies Suddenly

Superintendent Barbarino suffers apparent fatal heart attack Monday.

Dr. Santo Barbarino, superintendent of the Lynbrook school district, died suddenly Monday at the age of 67.

"Dr. Barbarino was an outstanding educational leader and an all around great person," Lynbrook Board of Education President Cathy Papandrew told Patch. In a statement released Tuesday, Papandrew added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Barbarino’s family and friends during this very difficult and sad time. Dr. Barbarino was someone who always put our children first. The success and well being of our students was always his number one priority. As the educational leader of our school district, he was a pleasure to work with. He was admired by all who knew him and served as a role model for our staff and our students.”

Lynbrook Police received a call around 10 a.m. Monday from a doctor's office located on Merrick Road that a man was unconscious. Upon their arrival they administered CPR and used an AED to try to revive Dr. Barbarino. When the Lynbrook Fire Department's Emergency Medical Company arrived, the EMTs took over and transported the Lynbrook schools chief via ambulance  to South Nassau Community Hospital in Oceanside, where he was pronounced dead at 10:44 a.m., according Lynbrook Police Chief Joseph Neve.

"He was a great man," Neve said.

The Brooklyn-born Barbarino was not only a resident of Lynbrook but he devoted 32 years to the Lynbrook School District and had been serving as its superintendent since 2008.

Barbarino held a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from St. John’s Universit and a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from New York University, but his long career in education began at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, where he graduated from in 1967 with the Outstanding Undergraduate Award and became a member of Alpha Phi Delta, according to the foundation's Web site. 

After graduation Barbarino became District Governor of the national fraternity in the New York City area, served as Kleos editor from 1968 to 1978, and was then elected National President of Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity. He later became an original director on the Alpha Phi Delta Foundation and was the sole remaining active member of the original scholarship trustees formed in 1974. 

"This is a sad day for all of us who had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Barbarino," stated West Hempstead Schools Superintendent John Hogan, whose friendship with "Santo" stretched back 38 years to their days at St. Francis College. "We have been fraternity brothers in Alpha Phi Delta for all that time and, more importantly, friends. He has been a mentor to many of us and a friend to all.  He never thought about himself, but always of others and what he might be able to do to help them."

Barbarino joined the Lynbrook school district in 1980 as a high school chemistry teacher, and later served as Administrative Assistant for Instruction and Director of Athletics. He was also the principal of Lynbrook High School from 1986 to 2006, and then went on to become assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction before becoming superintendent.

Regardless of what title he held though, Dr. B, as he was affectionately called, "always cared deeply about the boys and girls in his care and was simply a great educator and outstanding person," Hogan said. "I cannot imagine Santo not being here ... he will be sorely missed."

During his tenure, Dr. Barbarino also served as a member of the New York State Education Commissioner’s Blue Ribbon Panel on School Leadership and the New York State Team for the High School Reform Leadership Summit. He was a past President of the Nassau High School Principals Association and the Nassau County Athletic Association. He was named a 2008 New York State Educator of the Year, a New York State High School Principal of the Year, Village of Lynbrook’s Man of the Year, Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year and Knights of Columbus “Humanitarian of the Year.” He was also awarded the New York State PTA Life Membership award and the Rotary Club award for Service Beyond Self.

Former Lynbrook Village Trustee and Lynbrook Fire Department spokesman Steve Grogran described Barbarino as "a great guy [who] was truly respected and admired in Lynbrook." "He was a man who was always willing to work with village government for the betterment of our community, not just the school," Grogan added.

The Lynbrook School District released the following statement Monday:

"'Dr. B' has been a champion of the Lynbrook School District for most of his professional career.  His leadership and presence at all school events will be sorely missed.

The District will be mobilizing our crisis management team. Support services and grief counseling for all will be available at the high school tomorrow, Tuesday, August 28th, between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. More information will be forthcoming. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this very difficult time."

Pete Celiberti August 28, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I only spoke with Dr. Barbarino on two occasions, but each time it was obvious that he was a man of character and integrity. He was a blessing to my children, and to every child who attended Lynbrook schools. He will truly be missed. My prayers and condolences go out to his family.
Bill Savino August 28, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Dr. Barbarino had so much to offer and gave, gave, gave! A special teacher of mine years ago at the all boys, Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens that related to teenagers in a manner that earned the respect of the student population hands down. Not an easy task by any stretch. Patience, sense of humor, he would always stop and give you his time. You knew he understood you when others didn't. Today Mother Earth Sheds tears as Heaven embraces the soul of our beloved Dr. Santo Barbarino. Thank you sooo much Dr. B! I have often thought about you throughout the years and will continue to do so. ~Bill Savino~ Holy Cross High School~Class of '76~
Elyse B August 28, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Dr. B was so kind to me throughout my years at LHS - he encouraged me to sing , perform, and got such pleasure out of all of our performances - we wanted to work harder and do our best for him because he was such a source of unconditional acceptance. When I was feeling intimidated by a group if older students, he took care of it in such a controlled no nonsence way and made us all feel safe. You will be sorely missed, Dr B.
Jean August 28, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Dr. Barbarino will be greatly missed in the Lynbrook Community. He brought so much to the Lynbrook School District. He always had a smile on his face. Heaven is getting a Special Angel to look over all of us. He will be loved and missed by many. God Bless Santo and his family.
Sinuana August 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
My son texted me from college this afternoon to give me the news. What a tremendous lost for our community. Goodness, hard work, caring... What a legacy! My deepest condolences to his family.
Charles Fiore August 28, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Santo was truly "one of a kind" The experiences that so many of you had with him in Lynbrook were the same as our experiences in Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity over the past 47 years. About how many people can you say that- He liked everyone and everyone liked him? But perhaps the most important thing I can add to the other comments is that he was a man of great intelligence and judgment and great humility. Alpha Phi Delta is a national organization of more than 10,000 college educated men but with the loss of our brother Santo we are greatly diminished. He has served as a Trustee of our Scholarship program since its inception in the early 70's because our members who started the program, who were 40 years older than him, valued his pressence as much as our newly inducted members do today. Charles Fiore, Alpha Phi Delta Scholarship Chairman
Dr. Edward Fale August 28, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Santo was not only an outstanding educator and superintendent but also a man of the highest character who consistently exemplified professionalism, kindness, intelligence and caring for others. He was inspirational and a true role model. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, friends and all those whose lives he influenced. Thank you Santo for all that you did and for being a true friend. Dr. Ed Fale, superintendent Valley Stream District 24
Lucio Gandolfo August 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM
A man of Compassion. a man of Integrity, a man vision and a man of duty. Thank you Mr B you will be missed,
Janine Louise August 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Our hearts are saddened as we lose a fabulous human being! Dr. Barbarino was with our family all the way when we lost my son, Erik. He was the pillar of strength and has always been so supportive. I cannot imagine Dr. Barbarino not walking on this earth again. He was truly an angel. Love & hugs to Dr. Barbarino's Mom.
J.ANN August 28, 2012 at 11:58 AM
It's a very sad day. His memory will live forever in the hearts of our families. Rest in peace dr b
Nia Hernandez August 28, 2012 at 12:15 PM
A true "icon" in the Lynbrook community. Dr B was a friend to everyone. His compassion and dedication to the children was what made them love him so much. He was always there for you. He will be missed so much. RIP Dr B.
Jack Tulley August 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM
I had the privilege of havind Dr. Barbarino early on in his career as a science teacher and homeroom teacher at Holy Cross High School in Flushing. He was great person, teacher and mentor even then. When I moved to Malverne years later I was happy and not surprised to see his position in the Lynbrook School district. It always hurts to lose one of the good guys.
Carol Siegel August 28, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I had the privilege of working with Dr. Barbarino in the beginning of my career as a teacher. I would not be the teacher I am today if I had never met him. He was a kind gentle man who taught me many of the techniques I still use in my classroom now. He truly was a bright light to those of us who knew him. Thank you Santo!
Linda Terracciano August 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM
From my son Michael, who graduated from LHS, after I told him of Dr. B's passing... "I learned yesterday that the principal of my old high school passed away. I have nothing but fond memories of Doctor Santo Barbarino, or just "Dr. B" as we all affectionately called him. From encouraging me to chase whatever dreams for the future I was entertaining to trying to get me to listen to Chuck Mangione, he was a great man who genuinely cared about all us kids whom he took so generously under his wing."
D. Murray August 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Dr. B. was a true gentleman, in every sense of the word. We will especially miss his smile. Because of the lives he touched, his presence will be felt forever.
Flavio Ricardo August 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM
He was a fine, fine man, who sincerely cared about all people with whom he interacted. Rest in peace.
Carol Wilkerson Russo August 28, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This is so sad, Dr. B was a kind and caring man who's passing will have a profound lasting affect on all who knew him. As an Educator he embraced all who passed through the halls of LHS. He always knew each students name and could always see the good and potential in each of them. My thoughts and prayers are with his family...
Richard Ferricane August 28, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I sat next to Santo on Saturday afternoon, catching up after over 40 years of not seeing each other. We discussed education, our days as undergrads (he at St. Francis College, me at Brooklyn Poly). He told me he liked my joke "engineer joke." Everything he said was positive, flattering, uplifting. I was reminded again of what a special human being he was. When he left our little fraternity gathering I was grateful to have re-connected and looked forward to seeing him again. Now I'm overcome with sadness. My sincere condolences to his family and all the people he's touched in his lifetime.
DANIEL T SMITH August 28, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Deeply grieved but always, as a colleague and friend, deeply appreciative of everything Santo accomplished since his1967 entrance into secondary education - Dan Smith - Most Holy Trinity HS Class of '62, Faculty '66-'72 Sincerest condolances to family.
Anthony Lombardo August 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Services wil be held at Perry Funeral Home Wednesday 8/29 from 4pm-9pm and Thursday 8/30 from 1pm-8pm. Dr B. I will always remember that smiling face and talks that we had. You will be missed by so many and am I glad to have known you.
Bernard J. Panto August 28, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Bernard J. Panto Santo and I were friends and grade school classmates at All Saints Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY where we graduated from in 1959. He was then, and continued to be a "great guy." He will be truly missed and always loved. I offer the following in his memory: IN BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT When suddenly the flame that glowed, so brightly in the night, Flickered softly in the wind and breathed one loving last bright light. The world lost its way just briefly and gently sighed and wept. Then fluttered strong again with the memory that it kept. Of one so loved and caring filled with charity so pure. A soul whose heart in bright white light, will shine at Heaven’s door. God bless you, Santo.
Sal Pate August 28, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Barbarino (he was not Dr. Barbarino yet) as a student at Most Holy Trinity in Brooklyn from 1967 to 1971. It was his first teaching job I believe. He left a lasting impression on me and I am so fortunate to have had him in my life. Rest in peace.
Thomas Mauro August 28, 2012 at 07:44 PM
It is said that we all have an appointed time. Many of us believe deep down that the rule somehow does not apply to us. But those of us who were priviledged to know Santo in college and as an Alpha Phi Delta brother knew that he was indeed an exception to the rule. The comments of his colleagues, family and friends today are a testament to a life of humility, great achievements, intelligence and compassion for his fellow human beings to which all of us can only hope to aspire and which will in fact always be remembered.
Nikki Diaz August 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM
What an amazing man! Lynbrook will never be the same! Thank you Dr. B for all that you did!!!!
Teresa Bilotta August 28, 2012 at 09:04 PM
We are so saddened by this terrible news. Dr. B was a wonderful, caring person. He was a true friend in our time of need. Our family will miss you dearly and we will never forget you! Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother and family. The Bilotta Family
Leo Cavallo August 28, 2012 at 10:04 PM
My prayers are with you Santo. Iam blessed to have known such a humble and great man. Leo Cavallo
Liz Romero August 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM
R.I.P. Dr.B, you will be missed. You were a great principle when I was in high school. You and the staff at LHS were truely special.
Alan August 29, 2012 at 04:48 AM
To My 11th grade chemistry teacher and friend - Santo Rest in Peace. Alan Berch
Billy Mirenberg August 30, 2012 at 12:21 AM
A true gentle soul with the warmest smile and biggest heart. His priority was the students of the Lynbrook School District. He didnt care if your child played a sport or instrument, was a writer or an artist. Dr. B was always full of praise, encouragement and pride. He loved this community which he referred to as Lynbrook USA almost as much as the district which he affectionately led for for the past 3 years. As a fitting tribute to his legacy, the new athletic field which is to be built at Marion Street Elementary School AND the new Music Room at the West End Elelmentary School should both be named in his memory. Thank you Dr. Barbarino. We have lost one of a kind.
Bridget Atkinson August 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM
He will be greatly missed. Always a respected member of our community. May he rest in peace..

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