*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.

  IN THE NEWS                                                                          AUGUST 2012


General Membership Meeting
Meeting Dates

     Pronto, the community action group we support, is in need of dry or canned goods, paper products and toiletries, Please bring your contribution to each meeting. the need is great.

POSTED 8/12/12
     Myrna Serino, a retiree from the Brentwood School District, passed away last night. She was in Northwest as a Kindergarten Teacher's Assistant when it was an elementary school, and then at Southeast Elementary School as an ESL TA. Myrna devoted more than 30 years to the children of Brentwood.
WAKE: Overtons, 172 Main Street,
Bay Shore, N.Y.
Sunday, August 12, 2012: 7-9
Monday, 2-4:30 and 7-9
FUNERAL: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at St. Patrick's in Bay Shore at 11:00 A.M.

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.

When Brentwood High School had its Parents Night program on January 11th, John Sherin, an afternoon teacher in the Ross Building protested the concept behind it visually by donning a black muslin hood. Pow-Wow wanted to know what reasons were behind his action. Here is his reply as it appeared in the Pow Wow under headline: Protest Explained.

by John Sherin
Pow-Wow,Vol. X, No 4, Brentwood, N.Y. March-April 1973
     Would you trust someone you didn't know with the life of your child? Would you consciously risk placing the future of your kids in the hands and charge of a person about whom you knew nothing? Would you then permit that person to exercise the freedom and responsibility that had formerly been yours alone to poke and probe the intellect, provoke the emotions, question and sometimes confuse the values, to upset, to hurt but all the while even to love the one you love? Would you care even if that person, that stranger, didn't care? Would you want to know if they didn't care?
      There will come a day when most of you will be confronted by these questions. You will bring your own child by the hand to the first day of school. Perhaps the child will be screaming as some of us did on that first day,fearful of that about which we knew nothing, convinced that what we were about to lose was going to exceed by far whatever there was to be gained. When the day arrives just as sure as you are reading this now, you will be placing your child in the hands of a person about whom you will probably know nothing; a stranger. It will be from that moment on that someone other than yourself will begin molding and shaping the personality and character of your child. I hope everything will go well for you then. I hope that first teacher is a person who cares; who likes children and who will extend themselves offering who and what they are in order that your child might continue to learn who he is and why he is so very, very special. Henry Adams said that a “teacher effects eternity.” We know that whatever a teacher does is done in loco perentis (In place of parents) even when those parents DON’’T KNOW THEIR OWN CHILDREN'S TEACHERS or have any idea about what they're doing with them. But how do you get to know a teacher? One way is to get to talk to them. How long though do you think one might have to talk to a person before trusting them with "eternity?" Ten minutes? Two minutes? Two hours? 
     This was the object of my costume on Open School Night. The mask I wore concealed only that part of me that was superficial. A blind person wouldn’t have noticed. Regrettably, it is all too often the case with those of us who have the gift of sight that instead of using it as one of the means we have to know someone, we employ it instead as a crutch; as if it was the only means of knowing a person. We make superficial judgments based on prejudice and ignorance and draw conclusions from the flimsiest of evidence. It might be said of us that we have neither the insight of the sightless nor the perception of the pre-schooler we once were. There were among us on that evening people whose minds had atrophied. My approach earned for me the label of “kook”, “creep” and “fool.”
     I wield tremendous power to affect lives. I can direct and encourage a person in their outward growth as effectively as I can guide, counsel and influence the development and internalization of personal and spiritual values, of loyalty, of patriotism. “Why do you believe as your parents believe? How do you know what you know? Together we probe the very foundation of conviction and assumption. In the classroom I turn the light of reason and logic on hand-me-down generalization and stereotype. I tend in this sense to be somewhat of an iconoclast; a revisionist-- even controversial.
      I experiment. I take chances. I risk. So do other educators. Yet it worries me to see such blind faith placed in us by so many parents--as if we were possessed of some divine quality which precludes even the most remote possibility of our erring. Alas, speaking for myself, I am human after all and have been know to make an occasional mistake. It is for this reason that I am moved by my responsibility to share with students and parents, my ideas, my expectations, my strengths, my weaknesses; all in fact that I am. My mask made a statement. It said, “Do not claim to know me after a ten minute conversation. After tonight, you won’t even know what I look like.”
      At the same time I was saying--through the mask--”Please, let’s get together again sometime in the near future when I am not wearing this silly outer mask. We’ll talk then. I may find that you approve or disapprove of what I’m doing with your kids, but first become aware of what I THINK I am in fact doing. I want you to know that that is your right. It is your responsibility to ask and mine to explain. My mask is indicative of how superficial all this role playing is. We must both become more involved with one another concerning that which we have in common--our mutual concern and commitment to the future of his young person.”
    One night out of every year is too much to ask and too little to give. More time must be shared, not our of fear or token respect or pang of conscience but out of the very pragmatic realization that in the long run it will be the only qualitative way both teachers, their students and parents have to get what they need and want most from the system: the best education it has to offer those we intend to serve.
      That’s what I said to those who came to listen and thought it was important enough to ask, “Hey, how come you have that thing over your head anyway?”

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

Check out Member Benefits

NYSUT Social Services
Counseling in Times of Stress


August 21
September 4
Executive Board Meetings

September 27
Congressional Luncheon
Info and Registration

For information visit
RC 21 Website: http://ny.aft.org/rc21

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

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.

Joan Lange

Joan K. Lange was born on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, grew up and in time married Fred Lange with whom she bought a house in Westbury about 1970. It was, she told us, located in an area that at the time was affordable. After twenty six years their marriage ended and Fred left. He was an electrical engineer and the owner of his own successful business. Joan remained in the house where she resides to this day continuing in her role as stepmother to three daughters who were 3, 7, and 9 when they first came into her life. She knew early on that she would one day represent her family as the educator. With two powerful influences leading the way; her mother, a brilliant and accomplished woman who’d been teacher and principal in a school where she met Joan’s father, and her father who was himself an educator of considerable stature and influence. His career had carried him all the way to the position of 15th Commissioner of Education for the State of Massachusetts following in the footsteps of Horace Mann, the first Commissioner. Joan was raised on Horace Mann quotations including this one that would define her purpose for the greater part of her career: “Be afraid to die, until you’ve won a victory for mankind”.  Her considerable abilities and passion for the work fueled her ambition and were earmarks of her distinguished career in Brentwood and other districts on Long Island. Arriving in the Hamlet in 1963 she was initially denied a teaching position by Fred Weaver because he said, she was certified only in Massachusetts. An ironic chain of events followed and she was hired by John Moroka and Charlie Swenson later that same year. Having attended Bridgewater State College and Harvard University she approached Brentwood looking for a job believing it was a place where no one would recognize her family name. Perhaps mistakenly, she now admits to distancing herself from her father’s influence in favor of achieving her own success. Her administrative career began in 1971 when she was hired by Ken Stubbelo and Frank Mauro. The difficult decision to leave Brentwood was made a year later when she embarked upon a succession of appointments in Rockville Centre,  Jericho, William Floyd, Islip, Hewlett–Woodmere only to return to Brentwood at the request of Donna Jones,. In 1987 and following her fathers lead, she assumed a membership in the National Horatio Alger Scholarship Board and became Northeast Field Director of what remains the largest needs based scholarship in the nation. As Coordinator of Language Arts in Brentwood, she took pride in representing the district to the outside world stressing the wonders of the Brentwood family whose students were amazing individuals who fail to recognize obstacles. Coming from a family of musicians and as a gifted pianist herself, she enjoys playing and recognizes how she’s been (in her own words) “blessed”. She believes strongly in the importance of academics and identifies the love of children as a vital ingredient for success on the part of people entering the profession. When it’s missing she recommends pursuing another profession. “We should never be off”, Joan says teaching is a 24/7 profession.  Administrators she admits often put in a longer day but not one that is any harder than that of teachers. It may even be easier in some respects but no less stressful unless ones intention is to maintain the status quo. “Never be content”, she says. When asked which year was her favorite she replied, “I loved every year”.

Part 1 - Joan Lange

Beverly Carpenter

Special Education Teacher

     Beverly Ann O’Neill Carpenter, a dedicated professional, served as a Special Education Teacher in the district for 33 years. She arrived in Brentwood in’61 and taught till 1994 when she retired from active service. She taught for most of her tenure at Twin Pines Elementary School. Beverly was an active NYSUT member and strong union advocate. She participated in the Brentwood Teachers Association (BTA) as Chief Delegate and member of the House of Delegates. She was Co-President and founder of the Suffolk County Grey Panthers. A believer in universal health care with her husband John, they worked tirelessly together in support of medical coverage for all. She served as Recording Secretary to ROBS (Retirees of Brentwood Schools) and her two part interview is part of this History Project. She sat down for it in the TV studio of BHS on March 5, 1999. She remained active in the community until her death on June 29, 2012.

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

Barbara Mascaro
Edward Hannan
Florence Koehler
Franklin Spencer
Ivy Rosenthal
Jack Zuckerman
Joseph Purcell
Lynn Desoto
Marcy Fiore
Marilyn DePlaza
Mike Fasullo
Patricia Stuhler
Pattie Monsen
Rich Curio
Richard Mundy
Ron Pace
Ronda Brooks
Ruth Baker Bernhardt
Shirley Hodges
Shirley Walker Lloyd
Wally Balinski




    Classified Section
THE TOWN CRIER -  MarilynDePlaza@aol.com

Marilyn DePlaza
  "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.

About Us | Executive Board Members | Meeting Dates Schedule | Calendar of Events
Photo Gallery | Newsletters | Announcements | ArchivesMembership/Join | Links | Contact |Home

Return to top of page