If you have any announcements that you would like to post on the ROBS web site, please contact Nick Siciliano at
             News2@robsny.org. Announcements will be posted each month on this page. If you miss any previous month's announcements,
             you can view them at the Archives page of this web site. You can also read more news in our Newsletters. In addition, if you have
             your own web site, and would like to share it with other members, let us know and we can include the link on the ROBS site.
  IN THE NEWS                                                                          JULY 2014

July 17

Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates
POSTED 7/3/14

      Ellen Edelstain was honored with the 2014 NYSUT Community Service Award for her outstanding contribution to the community. Joan Perini, President of RC 21, presented her with the award.
     ROBS was also presented with several Awards of Distinction in the 2014 NYSUT Communications Competition for its newsletter and website. The following members were presented with awards: "Best Article About A Social Justice Issue" - Ronda Brooks; "Best Article About Local or Chapter Issues" - Marge Kirchner; "Best Creative Writing" - Carmela Criscione; "Best Overall Graphic Design" - Adrienne Eastman
; "Most User-Friendly Website" - Gloria Hannemann.
     Congratulations to all of our winners.
Please view the photos in the ROBS Meetings & Functions 2013-14 Photo Album on the Photo Gallery Page.

POSTED 7/22/14
     The following is a letter from Gerry Cohen, former head of the Brentwood Guidance Department:
     Dear Carmella. Haven’t spoke for a long time and hope all is well. Thought I would just send a note that I just completed my 50th year at Brentwood in June and wanted to make a few remarks. I have really enjoyed all the years there and at the different positions and schools. Things have changed (in my mind) since I first started at West Jr. High in 1963. I was first offered a position in the Ross Building by Mr. Weaver in 1959 but decided to return to Mass to teach there. In 63 wanderlust took over and I again came to NY. Positions were available everywhere and were being offered, but I thought Brentwood fit me better.
     Over the years, mostly very good ones, I have met and became friends with many of my peers and a large number of past students, whom I still socialize with and speak to very often, some dating back to my first year at West. Brentwood to me was a community that I knew nothing about, coming from New England and I found the community in general very friendly and willing to do almost anything to help the students. Many things were done to do this, some cannot even be discussed as in this day and age they would be considered questionable. I am still working at Evening High School and Summer School and still find pleasure in the fact that I feel that I am doing something that is right. Many of the students that I see now, I remember their parents and feel very comfortable speaking with them. I don’t know when I will stop, but the time will come and when I leave I will be thankful for the many years I spent in both day and evening school . I will always be thankful for Brentwood’s help in making me a better and more understanding person.


POSTED 7/10/14
Tom Veryzer, Patricia Goedtel's brother passed away on Tuesday. The arrangements are at Overton's Funeral Home in Islip... Today (Thursday) at 2:00 (maybe 2:30?) to 4:30 and 7:00 to 9:00. The mass is Friday a.m. at 9:45,
      You can send condolences to Pat at:
Patricia Veryzer Goedtel
35 Union St.
Islip, NY 11751

You might remember Pat's brother from his time in MLB. Newsday published this article today:

POSTED 7/15/14
Reprinted from The Atlantic, "In Focus With Alan Taylor", July 15, 2014
     Tomorrow will mark the 45th anniversary of the July 16, 1969 launch of Apollo 11, the NASA mission that first landed human beings on the Moon. Years of effort, dangerous experiments, and bold missions led up to the Moon landing, an event watched on live television by millions around the world. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin left the Earth on a Wednesday, landed on the Moon on that Sunday, spent a bit more than two hours walking on its surface, deploying experiments and collecting samples, then splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean the following Thursday, after 8 days off-planet. Collected here are 45 images of that historic mission, a "giant leap for mankind," 45 years ago. View the full photo gallery >

POSTED 7/10/14

Check it out here.

POSTED 7/19/14
Posted on AOL June 27, 2014
"Bosnian Serbs erect statue to Gavrilo Princip, teen assassin who ignited WWI"
     SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- Marking the eve of the centennial of the beginning of World War I in their own way, Bosnian Serbs on Friday unveiled a monument in their part of Sarajevo to the man who ignited the war by assassinating the Austro-Hungarian crown prince on June 28, 1914.
     At the other end of the city, the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra was rehearsing for Saturday's grand EU-sponsored performance, planned as a symbolic start of a new century of peace at the place where the century of wars in Europe started 100 years ago.
    View entire article online

OUR 20 YEAR PROJECT 1994-2014 - POSTED 7/22/14
Presented by John M. Sherin, for the Retirees of Brentwood Schools
There have been several endeavors that resemble it but never has there been an effort even remotely similar to the way in which our History Project chronicles the lives and careers of Brentwood’s public educators.
      This was the year we called it ‘a wrap’. You may have participated as an interview subject, a participant volunteer, or as a member of the one of many live audiences who viewed in whole or part, the recorded accounts we shared. Ours has also been your history. These first person Golden Age of Brentwood stories from the years bridging decades and both halves of the twentieth century linked Modern Times and old Brentwood with the School District’s present and future. It was our time.
      The year 1932 in which our chronology begins there also began the famous Eight Year Study which concluded as World War II got serious. Again, in May of 1964 a film called “Seven Up” followed lives of seven year old British children for 7 years. It is today a series that includes 7 Plus 7, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up. Up Series. More recently “Boyhood”, starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette had its New York Premiere. Filmed over 12 years it follows the character of Mason as he transforms from a chubby cheeked 7-year-old into a doe-eyed college freshman.“The Wonder Years”ran for 5 years from 1988 – 1993 and now after years its cast is reuniting for the first time.
     Absent personal gain each project, encompassing twenty years, eight years, fifty-six years, twelve years, unique and unlike anything that had come before or since, might never have seen completion but for the passionate vision and cooperative purpose which participants brought to each project. Anything could happen over such long periods of time. We watched as 47 of our friends and colleagues died during our tapings, including Jack Zuckerman, who appeared in the very first interview and Dorothy Zuckerman whose idea contributed to initiating our project in the first place. Sometimes even I was given to worry that I might not be here to see it through to the end.
      Fortunately, I can still look forward to celebrating with ROBS and all of you when we present our digitized collections to Hofstra University and The Brentwood Public Library in the weeks ahead. Coming this Fall on a date to be announced, an invitation will be extended to all available interview subjects, family and friends to attend a gathering at the Brentwood Public Library for the posing of an historic group photograph. Watch ROBS Newsletters for further details.

How are we doing?
We'd like to hear from you.

Please visit our
Letters to the Editor

where you can share your views and comments

View the "In Memoriam" page
with the list of our Brentwood colleagues who have passed away. This list will be updated on a yearly basis.
Support VOTE-COPE with your voluntary contribution. Download the VOTE-COPE Contribution Card here.

RC 21 Website: http://rc21.ny.aft.org/
Sheila & Letty Sustrin
Children's Books Authors

John M. Sherin
Local /Regional
(Jigsaw Maps)600
Geography Manipulatives


Complete Team Building Kits
Teaching Cooperation/ Collaboration
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)


Alida Thorpe
Island Vision Photography, Inc.

Rick Mundy
Watercolor Prints of L.I., Adirondacks, NYC...

Gloria Hannemann
Hardwood Flooring and
Home Improvement


Elmon Kazandjian
NYC Art Gallery

Rose Marie Brousseau
Brentwood Rotary Club

Ronda Brooks
Children's Social Skills Groups
Rich Graziano
Mr. Graziano's Science Class
Academic Enrichment and Remedial Websit


July 4 - Independence Day
Did you know New York City has the biggest fireworks display in the United States and that three U.S. presidents died on July 4?
Learn some more facts about July 4 here

5 Myths About the American Flag
Amreican Flag Myths

What happened in history on a certain day in July?
Historical People and Events for July

All About July
July in History

The Story Behind Famous Inventions

Famous Inventions

Why did we do it?
     What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; for which we evolved a script of questions and got answers from over 150 subjects for two decades?
     We couldn’t answer the question in 1994 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational purposes we had to document our record now or lose the chance to preserve so many poignant accounts, funny stories and touching tales told by exemplary educators. We knew these dedicated public servants might shortly, for reasons yet unknown, be leaving Brentwood for good.
     So, we decided to let time sort out the details. We began scheduling appointments. We asked questions and listened saving for generations the essence of what it meant to have been an educator or employed, in this large public school system during the second half of the 20th century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all others; a diverse microcosm of America reflecting 124 districts on Long Island while simultaneously resembling thousands across the U.S. We’ve accomplished something here to be proud of. Whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few professionals in the State of New York or elsewhere have positioned themselves to share in the way we have.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting with a subject for an hour and giving them a hundred percent focused attention seemed somewhat daunting to a number of friends and colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined our repeated invitations to speak with us as they left careers or retired from full employment. Despite all assurances that we were not about investigative journalism or invading privacy, they deferred. Now, twenty years after we began, some are saying they may be ready. “Better late than never” we say. However, to all among you who were willing to share not only your classroom experiences and personal stories, but precious memories from your lives along with your fondest hopes for the future, we say “Thanks”. Thanks for allowing us to continue the process by paying it forward as we share these interviews with the Brentwood community and countless professionals and researchers near and far. Through an acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with Archivist Dr. Geri Solomon and The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University our History Project lives on in academia as well as in the collection of the Brentwood Public Library, thanks to Director, Thomas A. Tarantowicz.
  Enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org/ where you can watch and listen to segments from featured Interviews in the ROBS History Project Section on our Announcements Page each month. Return here to listen and learn again and again.


Dorothy Zuckerman

Elementary Education

      Born Dorothy Sugarman, she was known informally as Dot, Dotty or “Spunky” as her vanity plate informed one and all while on the road in the sports car that spoke her name. Addressed as Dorothy by her mother she came into the world the namesake of her paternal grandmother (also a teacher) changing her name to Zuckerman (not much of a stretch) at the time of her marriage to Jack her husband and life long partner. They had two children, Richard and Jerry, who gave them five grandchildren, 4 boys 1 girl. Their son “Ric” resides in Baldwin, their daughter Jerry in Port Jefferson, while Oakdale was home to Dot and Jack.
     Born in The Bronx, Huntspoint  (Ft Apache), when it was still a quaint little village, Dot was a child of the depression though she reports never having experienced a sense of need or want during those years. Her father was a teamster truck driver delivering chickens up and down the East Coast. He was a religious man whose own large family came from Baltimore MD (seven or eight siblings) where family traditions were maintained. Dot’s mother was born in the U.S. where she  graduated from high school. Both her parents were actively involved organization people.
     Her earliest memories are of the ice man, horse drawn wagons, street vendors selling jelly apples and toasted marshmallows. Her grandparents were both born in Russia. Dotty came from a family with generations of strong women and a lineage of first cousins. Her mother enjoyed knitting at one stage until at Dot’s urging. she became involved in Hadassah, the  PTA, and other organizations. She was “a super person” according to Dot. Having had an older sister, deceased 10 years prior to the interview, Dot was then the surviving member of her nuclear family. She was also the only one in her family to attend college. A carefree kid, unaware of much of what was around her during WW2 except for what she experienced through friends families, Dotty remembered victory gardens, saving tinfoil and cleaning blackboard erasers of chalk dust without regard to the environment. From age 4 and preschool on,  she wanted to be a teacher.  Learning to read opened up the world to her. She was a voracious reader until her eyes gave her problems in college.
     Legally too young to accept her first offer of employment, Dotty altered her birth certificate to make it appear that she was older than she was,- much to her regret in later years - in order to become a sales clerk at Bloomingdales. She was assigned to the teen aged girls department where she did more modeling of clothes than finalizing of sales.

     Her favorite family holidays were mostly religious holidays like that of the Jewish New Year. Consistently a night person, she still favors evenings acquiring a second wind about 8 pm.The first school attended was PS 48 in the Bronx. She remembers her mother walking her to school on the first day. She next attended Junior High 60, an all girls school. She describes having had a wonderful public school education throughout. When it was time to attend High School she chose one that was co-ed over another all girls school.     
     Her favorite teachers were those demanding of the best she had to give. She loved Queens College and its campus which she said was beautiful and “out of town,” a two and a half hour commute from the Bronx, making being on time for her first class very difficult. She was a people person who always marched to a different drummer. English was her major at first then changing to education w/ anthropology and sociology as her minor. She acquired the best Liberal Arts education possible at $7.50 per semester which she freely admitted she couldn’t afford at the time.
     She talked about how and why she first came to the Brentwood area. Her first year teaching at Bay Shore High School and before becoming pregnant she made $3,200 per year. She was paid once a month. The only interview she remembered was the one she had after a 9 year hiatus to raise Jerry and Richard when she returned to teaching again, this time in Brentwood. She taught a 4th Grade class and remembers her nightmares with students picking away at her and her belief there was not enough of her to go around. After that she learned to draw a line between what she was willing to share of herself and what to reserve for herself. It came down to self preservation at which she was more than successful.       Dot was always more of a loner though still a people person. She recalls those with whom she worked her first year in Brentwood.
     The Dotty and Jack Team begins to work in earnest in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Simultaneously, Dot  is expanding her reach by becoming Principal of her Temple’s Religious High School. She’s becoming involved with the Democrat Party as a Committee person and increasing her work load with the Brentwood teachers Association and allowing it to become all consuming.
     Asked about her own perceived personal purpose as a teacher, Dotty admits to always being people oriented; a teacher advocate providing financial assistance and information to both active and retired people as a spokesman for those who are not able to speak for themselves. In that capacity she admits to being a lifelong activist.  
   Dot came to Brentwood after Jack did and following the organization of the union that he and others had succeeded in creating. The first union contract had been approved in 1968. Jack became President of the Union in 1969 or 1970. They were already a team. Thus it was that Dotty confronted one of the greatest challenges, in her career; defining her new role - that of being her own professional person while continuing to wear the mantle of organizational leadership and finding freedom and its limits as a modern woman, wife and mother.
     She jumped in and found her path by becoming Coordinator of Communications, Editor of the first IMPACT Newsletter, plus taking on the time consuming Community NEWSLETTER for a single issue. She was a member of the Union Negotiating Team for years. The most satisfying and demanding task of all was undertaken when she took charge of Grievances for the BTA.  Acting in the capacity of semi- lawyer, her work led her to greater union involvement and further association with NYSUT.
     Elected a delegate to represent Brentwood Teachers at its’ Representative Assembly, she began to serve on a multitude of committees and task forces. She remained active as a delegate from 1970 to 1991 when she began exclusively to represent retirees.
     She recalls the changes and antagonistic conflicts of the early years when a strike was averted prior to Labor Day. It was extremely difficult she said, for others to comprehend how members of the team could battle tooth and nail with adversaries during the day, then break for dinner and enjoy a civil relationship with their counterparts knowing how much work was yet to be done. The surface obscured the sense of purpose that pervaded her enterprise. It was during an era of early union organization establishing boundaries and limitations of conflicting associations. Recalling periodic slates of unchallenged candidates during times when organizational participation was hard to enlist, through it all she persevered.
     Meanwhile, the values of our country were changing. Smaller battles like those of dress codes were addressed, fought and won. The wheel turned re-inventing changes morphing from the 1950’s to 2000. All that Dot says “is good. It’s as it should be”.  Asked to name the names of her colleagues she sees only a sea of faces acknowledging that she’s been surrounded with people who have made her ask the tough questions and confront central issues. There were no “yes” people around our Dot. They all, she said, “contributed to her growth as a professional.”
     So unlike many of the rest of us she didn’t have a timetable. Dot gave no thought to leaving, until in 1991, while preparing for her move with the 6th Grade the following year to the new Middle School, the State offered New York’s first retirement incentive to teachers. She had been looking forward to a new beginning, a new challenge. But for the first time she crunched the numbers for herself she discovered that after 40 years she would have been foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity. She didn’t actually retire, she simply moved on and began again.

     With a small group of people she helped organize ROBS – The Retirees of Brentwood Schools, in October of 1991. Soon thereafter NYSUT established Retiree Councils throughout the state of New York based upon geographical areas. Long Island was assigned seven Retiree Districts. Brentwood became part of Educational District 21 that included eleven school districts. Subsequently,  Dot was elected President of ED 21.     
     Then in the Spring of 1972 seeing the benefit of creating, a L.I. Retiree Delegate Council (LIRDC) Dot Zuckerman was appointed Chairperson of the group which met once a month to coordinate the work and focus of the 7 retiree councils. Commenting on the growth of the local organization, Dot noted that the year before in 1999 ROBS had 400 members, acknowledging that at the time the prevailing fear of active member chapters was a retiree takeover. It was a constant struggle to gain acceptance and the trust of active chapters. At the time of the interview NYSUT could boast a retiree total of 25% of the 400,000 NYSUT statewide .members.
     Dot cited the COLA Retiree Rally of the previous year where 10,000 members turned out in support of the widely held belief that a cost of living adjustment was long overdue and deserved by members. The success of the Rally showed that NYSUT Retirees were a force to be reckoned with and that their time had come.
     Then in a move that had not been anticipated Dot stepped down from Leadership of ROBS and LIRDC and accepted a newly created staff position to serve Retirees in the Hauppauge office of NYSUT where she would represent all retirees instead of individuals.
     She had continued to offer Ready or Not workshops from the late 70’s for 20 years and once again had to shift her view of reality, transitioning the purpose for which she had dedicated her service, helping even more people work their way through the system.
     We talked about her latent artistic Folk Art talent discovered  years before and then set aside after an initial successes with her Grandma Moses Folk Art paintings. Her life had not included sufficient leisure to encourage her creative expression in the last few years. Yet, for her the unfinished business was to discover how “to give more of me.” It bothered her that given her personal standards and high expectations she “could have done better.”
     The real challenges of the day were the dangers to Public Education of competition from the private sector. At this point survival is the key for young people – bottom line advice is, “do what you know in your heart is right for you.”
     Dot continued to look forward to organizing travel groups to remote corners of the world which she did for the next fourteen years. She was and remains, a Woman of Valor standing apart in memory as a force unlike any other.

You can also view any of these past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives :
Baker Bernhardt, Ruth
Baker Bazata, Eleanor
Balinski, Wally
Brooks, Ronda
Carey, Dick
Carpenter, Beverly
Cerullo, Peter
Corkery, Florence
Cuneen, Ray
Curio, Rich
DeBellis, Claudia
DeBellis, Helen
DeBellis, Michael
DePlaza, Marilyn
Desoto, Edward
DiMento, Peter
Edwards, Richard
Efron, Martin
Fasullo, Mike
Felicio, Anthony
Filosa, Edith
Fiore, Marcy
Hannan, Edward
Helman, Harriet
Hodges, Shirley
Kirschner, Marge
Koehler, Florence
Lane, William
Lange, Joan
Laub, Dr. Herb
Martz, David
Mascaro, Barbara
McNicholas, Barbara
Monsen, Pattie
Moss, Ken
Mundy, Rick
Murray, Alma
Nanos, Jim
O'Conner, Thomas
Pace, Ron
Purcell, Joseph
Rosenthal, Ivy
Rosenthal, Ruth
Salerno, Hank
Scharf, Karen
Sekac, Evelyn
Sheele, Raymond
Sopp, Lorraine
Spencer, Franklin
Stuhler, Patricia
Sustrin, Letty and Sheila
Vannoy, Evelyn
Veech, Chris
Walker Lloyd, Shirley
Wolfe, Jeffrey
Zuckerman, Dorothy
Zuckerman, Jack


    Classified Section
THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn De Plaza
The Town Crier" was set up a number of years ago so that the retirees of the Brentwood School District could have an email center to stay in touch. Since I began to send out all sorts of information, retirees from all over the country have sent me their email addresses. Some have asked, "Do you have any idea where so and so is?" Others have sent proud news of their accomplishments, their family news, photos,etc. and sadly, we often get bad news. Many retirees whom I have never met write me to thank me for keeping this connection going, as everyone remembers the Brentwood years with warm feelings.

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