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                                                                          AUGUST 2014

August 21

Executive Board Luncheon

Meeting Dates
POSTED 8/5/14  
     We are proud to announce that once again ROBS was able to award five scholarships to graduating Brentwood High School seniors this year. Thanks to our very generous ROBS members we were able to increase the amounts of the general awards from $500 to $800 this year. Scholarship night was held on May 15, 2014 at Brentwood High School and ROBS Vice President Kathleen Guleksen was there to present the awards to the winners. Amanda Nadvonik was awarded the $1,000 Jack Zuckerman award and Estefany Gutierrez was awarded the $800 Lillian Kelly award. Ashley Fisher, Tiffany Hernandez, and Ana Argueta received $800 ROBS awards.

Click on photo to enlarge

POSTED 8/9/14

     Can you believe it's August already?
The changing of the calendar means that summer is winding down, it's nearly time to go back to school and election season is just around the corner. In fact, some would say that it is on us already.
     With the primary elections now literally just weeks away, hundreds of state offices are up for election, and we have a responsibility to make sure that strong education supporters -- people who share our priorities and values -- represent us in the New York state Legislature and statewide offices.
     Take action now at the NYSUT Member Action Center to see a current list of NYSUT's early endorsed candidates, and vote on September 9 and on November 4!


     Just a reminder to our members to renew your ROBS membership for the coming year. You can download the Membership Application here and mail it along with your check for $25 dollars to Marge Kirchner, 666 Hawkins Road East, Coram NY 11727. Make checks out to ROBS.
     If you are not currently a member, please go to the Membership page of this site to learn more about the many benefits of joining ROBS.  You can also download the application from that page.
     We hope you will be joining us, and to our current members, thank you for your renewal.

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.


What the Election Season Means for Education

Support VOTE-COPE with your voluntary contribution. Download the VOTE-COPE Contribution Card here.

Visit the History Place to learn about the month of August in history.


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

All About August
August in History


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

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


    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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