*Members: 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
IMPORTANT DATES   IN THE NEWS                                                                      APRIL 2019
April 5
General Membership Meetings

April 18
Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates
Events Schedule
POSTED 4/11/19

   John Sherin’s Irish cousin Maire Ros, (pronounced Mara Rose), his father’s sister Marie’s daughter who lives in Dublin, will be visiting the Sherin’s this May. While on L.I. she’ll introduce her recently published memoir, Time to Be Me, at a reading and book signing at 2 pm in the Jericho Public Library on May 6th and on May 9th at 7pm at The Book Revue, in Huntington.  John and his brother Mike with family will be welcoming friends and relatives at The Book Revue.
   Please check out her biography and introduction to the book by Maire Ros. For a further brief glimpse into history, click on The O’Rahilly, to learn of her Grandfather, a highly celebrated and respected national hero.
   The following is a link to an interview that Maire-Ros gave where she talks about her experiences of writing her first book, the challenges she faced and the lessons learned along the way.

Interview with Maire-Ros O'Rahilly

POSTED 4/9/19

   Congratulations, Ellen Edelstein! Ellen received the Community Contributor Award from the Mid-Island Club of The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. A wonderful honor, Ellen!

POSTED 4/10/19
Josephine (Jo) Geluso, a retired Physical Education teacher from the Brentwood School district, will be doing a reading from her latest book of poems. Jo began writing poetry at the age of 80, and now at age 97 has published her 6th book entitled Storyteller. The reading will be on Saturday, April 13th at the Oyster Bay - East Norwich Library at 2:00pm.
   You can see samples of her poems on her website at: www.jogeluso.com.

POSTED 4/18/19
     On March 23, 2019, the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade took place in Brentwood.
     The folowing is a link to the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Journal for you to view. This jornal marks the 51st year for this event in which everyone is welcome to participate. After the parade, the community is welcomed to the fire house for corned beef and cabbage. The entire parade is funded through donations and proceeds from journal ads - we receive no taxpayer monies. We ask that you support our advertisers as they support Brentwood.
Brentwood's St. Patrick's Day Parade Journal

POSTED 4/13/19
    NYS Legislature proposed the freezing of the reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums for all NYSHIP retirees with Medicare primary insurance. The proposal would also eliminate the reimbursement of the IRMAA for certain retirees.
    We ask that you write to your NYS Assemblymen and Senators requesting that they advocate for the removal of these proposals.
    Click on the link below to download sample letters that can be sent to your local representative. A list of their names is included.


   For further information, refer to the article "BEWARE...BE AWARE!" by Carmela Criscione in the Spring 2019 issue of ROBS Newsletter

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.
NYSUT Website

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

Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in April and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for April
April 2019 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in April
All About April
April 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. W
e 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.
   You can 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.

Judi Weissman
English Teacher
Interviewed 10/10/07

   Judi, by way of introduction explained that she had lost her mother recently to Alzheimer’s disease and wishes she had had one more day to have asked her the questions that only a mother could answer. Hers was a very small family. There was only herself, her mother and father and her younger brother Kenny. Her mother’s sister Sally who was married to her Uncle Bill, lived around the corner from them. They had two sons Ronny and Bobby. Judi was the same age as her cousin Bobby and because of that they were very close. She attended the City of Long Beach schools through high school. There were cousins on her father’s side; Lynnie and Dori, Sherry and Elliot, with whom she had recently re-connected, to her great joy. Judi described family life as being up and down. There were many good memories but she describes having had a tumultuous relationship with her father. He was a tough guy but in later years, Judi learned that he was a “Rescuer” at the end of the Holocaust and went into the camps to rescue fellow Jews and other victims. Judi understands how much that likely affected her father. Childhood was challenging in some ways but her memories of those times are mostly good ones. Her mother was always the go to person for Judi, the citadel of strength in many ways. Her Aunt Sally and Uncle Bill were very strong and positive influences in her life. Her decision to become an educator was mostly influenced by a teacher she had once had. Jay Abramowitz was her 11th Grade English teacher. He was funny, smart, and engaging. She loved going to his class. She babysat for his children and when he passed away at a very young age, she remembered being greatly affected by the loss. During her early college years she remembered having Professor Bill Williams as a teacher. He was her English professor and a poet. She also remembered Richard Sypher, who was brilliant. “He opened a door to my love of romantic poetry. He was an inspiration”. She had Dr. Brickman for Education class. School was always a consistently positive place for her. Judi said she felt blessed to have a career and also a passion – and they happened to be the same thing.
   I asked her, what was one of the most difficult decisions you ever had to make in your career? Clearly, she said, it was to retire. “Teaching has defined me,” she said. She was blessed to have a career that she loved; she didn’t have her own and thus teaching became an even more significant part of her life. When she approached her fifty-fifth and considered the possibility of retirement, she began to feel anxious. Walking into Carmela Criscione’s Office to hand in her retirement papers was literally gut wrenching. She wondered if she should wait a few more years. She imagined her last year in Brentwood being full of sadness and walking out of the building for the last time being inconsolable. As it happened such was not the case. We asked what, of all the honors she received, was the most memorable. Judi told us she had twice received recognition as Teacher of the Year at Brentwood High School. The second time being more special than the first, it was ten years later and she was older. It meant even more to her being recognized in a school of such size with so many students. She was also the First Runner Up for NY State Teacher of the Year and Holocaust Educator of the month. Her alma mater, Hofstra University, named her Teacher of the Month in conjunction with News 12. Judi always felt extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to spend her entire career teaching in the Brentwood School District.
   She babysat as a teenager and because her mother worked for the Democratic Party in Long Beach her first “real paying job” had been as a ticket taker at the famous Long Beach boardwalk and beach. Little did she know how much her mother’s involvement in the Democratic Party would influence her own political leanings.
   Thanksgiving was the big family holiday she remembered; however it wasn’t until after she was married that she appreciated how her husband’s family celebrated get-togethers. Just as her own family had done, she now celebrated holidays like Passover and Thanksgiving with both families.
   When she was younger, she loved sports and athletics; kickball, tennis, volleyball. When she got to high school she earned letters in sports. English was her favorite subject and she was also a member of Future Nurses of America.    Like many of her colleagues in the English department, Math was her least favorite subject. Perhaps surprisingly, her favorite season on Long Island was - autumn. She liked the beach better when it was less crowded; after the summer season was over and a many people were gone, she had the beach all to herself. She loves the four seasons, especially autumn colors and aromas - and the Robert Frost poetry that depicts it so well.
   There is an Este Lauder perfume that her mother and ten thousand other women of her generation wore that evokes feelings of love as does the male fragrances that are worn by her husband Lenny.
   She began school in Long Beach at four and a half years because her mother was secretary to the Principal at Central School. When the family moved to the canal section, she then attended East School. She vividly remembers all her elementary school classes and teachers. Middle School was less vivid to her. She remembered the scariest guy in the world who was their Dean. He was an Ex. Marine turned teacher. She attended Nassau Community College for two years before enrolling at Hofstra University. Judi student taught English at Baldwin Harbor Junior High School; she loved this experience and she was sure she only wanted to teach in a Junior High School.    She did her graduate work at Stony Brook University. She’d also gotten her certification from South Oaks Hospital where she did addictions counseling; she ultimately had a private practice. She began teaching at the Long Island Institute and Brooklyn College about fifteen years ago and recently returned to Stony Brook, this time as an adjunct professor teaching graduate courses. It became easier to retire knowing that she could still teach college if she wanted to continue doing what she loved.
   It was during her first seven years of teaching at Brentwood High School that she never knew if she’d have a job the following year due to excessing that took place from year to year, due to changing populations and changing budgets. She talked about those days with Dave Martz and Tom O’Brien who shared those memories with her. She began to learn the importance of our union from colleague and friend Caster Howard who, along with Betty Stosuy, were her two mentors from the English Department.
   Judi graduated from Hofstra University in 1974 where it had been recommended that she develop a plan B. There were so few openings available for teachers and most graduates were not going to find work in teaching. For that reason, she considered becoming a reading teacher. This was prior to the introduction of personal computers. She applied for a position to every school on Long Island (with hand-written applications in the pre-computer years!) and interviewed at schools far away from her native Long Beach. When she did get an answer from Brentwood, she didn’t even know where it was. She thought it might be similar to Brentwood, California. It wasn’t. She ultimately had three interviews on the day she arrived. She was seen by Frank Carnese, John Gallaris and Tom Campi who ultimately sent her to be introduced her to the English Department Chairperson in the Ross Building, Gilda Mantin. Her heart had been set on teaching at Middle School level but when Gilda offered her a full time position at the High School she took it because she needed the money to pay her student loans – and because she absolutely fell in love with Gilda and just knew how wonderful it would be to work for her. Judi was right; working for Gilda was a huge blessing in her career! Frank Carnese had offered her a partial 3/5 schedule at the seventh grade Center but she had to turn it down. She realizes that she ended up in just the right place for her, with the perfect chairperson and incredible colleagues. High school was the place for her!
   The first person she had met from Brentwood was in a bar in Long Beach. Ken Moss was beginning his first year in the M-T Alternative school that opened in that year, Amy Citron, who was Judi’s good friend, had introduced them and arranged for Judi and her cousin Kenny to meet. Judi was somewhat intimidated by him and wondered if all of the English teachers would be like him. He showed her his taped version of an original play “I Heard it in the Boy’s Room” - he had been working on it with Jeff Goldschmidt. Subsequent to that, her closest confidants and mentors became Betty Stosuy, Caster Howard and Gilda Mantin. Further discussions led us to talk about teacher dreams; those nocturnal fantasies that in many cases stay with us as teachers all our lives.
   Brentwood is different due to its size, its largeness. Its diversity has always been here but it has changed. Every school has the same kinds of problems but not to the same degree Brentwood has. People came to us as believers; they heard how great Brentwood had been for the last thirty years. They come with an understanding of the culture and with the belief in family, the Brentwood family, and being a part of something larger than themselves. The commitment and loyalty those hires bring to their roles is in great measure due to the vision of forerunners like Tony Felicio, President of the Board of Education. He maintained the highest level of morale among employees throughout this large school district. Tony had a collaborative partnership with the Superintendent of Schools, G. Guy DiPietro, given the degree of selflessness each brought to the lives of students, staff, administration and families served.

   Judi was twirling coach for years with the district and worked very closely with the Green Machine, went to Washington DC for President Clinton’s Inauguration, one of the bowls in Florida, and several Thanksgiving Days when the Green Machine was invited to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She was a Senior Class Advisor and very briefly a track coach. She was then also mentoring new teachers and said that no amount of study can adequately get you ready or confidently equipped to face students when you are alone with them in the classroom your first day. Nothing prepares you for your life as a teacher like the student teaching experience. Having great mentors is key and Judi was always willing to share her ideas and materials with colleagues and particularly with new teachers. She believed that ideas from everyone you meet that can make you better at what you do.
   To attempt to explain Judi’s purpose in becoming and remaining a teacher for thirty-four years in the same district could not do her words justice even were I to try my best to give them to you. You must hear her tell you herself in order to grasp the depth of her love for what she taught and for the young people she cherished spending time with each and every day. She speaks for the vast majority of Brentwood’s teachers, throughout this interview, as she shares her passion for being an educator. It’s her story, yet it’s our story too. Don’t miss hearing it for yourself.
    Judi expressed being extremely grateful for all her experiences and is fortunate enough to be able to say that there is not one thing would she have done differently. She thinks Brentwood teachers are dedicated and its students are so lucky to learn in such a supportive, caring environment. 2003 was an especially great year of teaching for Judi but as she will tell you, they were all great. She hopes to be remembered as someone who loved to teach and would like part of her legacy to be the fact that so, so many of her former students are now very productive, smart and wonderful members of society.
    Where did you get the name Judi? Her parents gave her the name Judith. She spelled it “Judy” most of her life until about the 6th grade when she decided that the spelling “Judi” was cuter, and also a more proper shortened version of Judith. It was a more popular name during her generation. Her husband Lenny Weissman calls her “J” and she loves that. It was 2007 and they had been married for 11 years. They were married in 1996. They are, she says, “polar opposites”.    They live in Kings Park, on the north shore near the water. Coming in for this interview was her first time back to Brentwood High School since she taught the New Teacher course in October.
   Judi’s mother died in 2004 after suffering with the awful disease of Alzheimer’s. Judi was her caretaker for many years. Her aunt and uncle, with whom the family was always very close, now live in Florida and are in their 80’s. Her Aunt Sally, like her mother, has Alzheimer’s and her Uncle Bill is incredibly patient as her caretaker. He is one of Judi’s heroes, so loving and the last person to ever complain. She spoke of reconnecting with cousins on her father’s side. She had heard from her cousin Lynne with whom she had always been close. Judi has attended a couple of family weddings and seen people she always loved. She misses the closeness of blood-related family in her life.
    Sally and Bill were her closest relatives. She was close with her cousin Bobby who was her age. Bobby is in Vermont, and his older brother Ronne is in Utah. Judi’s maternal grandfather owned the big West End Theatre in Long Beach. The family had opened a store called Sonin’s Venetian Blinds, run by her grandfather and her Uncle Bill. Her father grew up in Far Rockaway. He had five siblings and he was a sergeant in World War II, serving in Europe.
    Her father’s life had been hard. He was shipped overseas during WWII. While on a ship coming home from the front, he won $2,000 in card games and gave all the money to his mother when he got home. She took the cash and bought a house in Far Rockaway and rented out rooms. Judi never knew her paternal grandparents but according to family lore her grandmother was a real character. Judi felt close to her Mother’s mother, who she called “Nanny.”
   One of Judi’s closest friends and colleagues was Robert “Chico” Frankel, a beloved guidance counselor who had recently died of cancer. She talked about the “Circle of Love” that she and friends had created around him. He also had been interviewed as part of the History Project shortly before he passed away. We both felt fortunate to have been part of the Brentwood experience during very special years. We were blessed while we worked and are now blessed to be enjoying life in retirement.

    You can also view any of the past interviews by visiting History Project Interview Archives

View May 8, 2015 History Project Celebration Photo Album

View History Project Slide Show on YouTube

May 14
General Membership Meetings

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