*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
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  IN THE NEWS                                                                         FEBRUARY 2015

February 26

Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates

Calendar of Events
POSTED 2/1/15
Reprinted from NYSUT United, February 2015
     NYSUT celebrates Black History Month in February with a poster highlighting the life and career of Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014), an author, poet, dancer, actress and singer.
     Angelou received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010. She recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" in 1993 at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, the first poet in more than 30 years to have the honor.
     Born Marguerite Annie Johnson, Angelou published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry and was credited with plays, movies and television shows spanning more than 50 years. Angelou is best known for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of her seven autobiographies.
     The poster is free. You can download printable posters at www.nysut.org or order via email at orders@nysutmail.org. Reference Project No. 514C_15; include your name and mailing address.

POSTED 2/26/15
     Mary Jo Gallo passed away this past week. The Mass was held at St. Matthew's in Dix Hills on Tuesday, Feb 24 at 10:45am.
     No further information is available at this time.

POSTED 2/11/15
     It is with great sadness that we share the passing of George Catandella former Coordinator of Music for Brentwood Schools (1965-1987) and father of Lisa Catandella, Coordinator of IMC. A celebration of life service will be held in Punta Gorda, Florida (date to be determined). A scholarship fund will be made in his name to benefit the music students of Brentwood (details below).

Condolences can be sent to:
Lisa Catandella
36 Pembrook Dr.
Stony Brook, NY 11790
In lieu of flowers, please consider a scholarship donation.

POSTED 2/26/15
     It is with heartbreaking sadness that we inform you of the sudden passing of Dr. Joel Ratner, on February 23, 2015.
   Funeral services will be held on Thursday, February 26, at Temple Emanu-El, 123 Merrick Avenue, East Meadow, at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow at Mt. Golda Cemetery, 500 Old Country Road, South Huntington.
     Shiva will be observed at the home of Jody, Leslie and Eric Ratner, 460 Clearmeadow Drive, East Meadow on: Thursday, February 26, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, with a minyan service at 8:00 PM;  Friday, February 27, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM; Saturday, February 28, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, with a minyan service at 8:00 PM; Sunday, March 1, 1:00 to 4:00 PM.
    If you are so moved, please send a donation in Joel’s memory to: Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, NY 11368
   Dr. Joel Ratner Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Brentwood High School
2 Sixth Avenue, Brentwood, NY 11717
    He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
POSTED 2/13/15
     It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Thomas DeRosa, father of Vincent DeRosa (retired Special Education Teacher), father-in-law of Laura Alicastro (retired Hemlock Park Principal), and brother of Jerry DeRosa (retired English Teacher).
Funeral Arrangements:
     Chapey Funeral Home
     200 East Main Street
     East Islip, NY 11730
Saturday, February 21st from 7:00 - 9:30 and Sunday, February 22nd from 2:00 - 4:00 and 7:00 - 9:30.
Funeral Mass:
     St. Mary's Catholic Church on Monday, February 23rd at 10:45 a.m.
Main Street, East Islip, NY 11730
     Condolences may be sent to the family at: 37 Canterbury Drive, Hauppauge, NY 11788
     In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in memory of Tom be made to: The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, 355 Lexington Avenue 15th Floor, New York, NY 10017     

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.


Demand Governor Cuomo & Chancellor Tisch Stop the Assault on Public Education
If he wants a fight, we'll give him a fight

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 February and see what else happened!
Historical People and Events for February

February 2015 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays

All About February
February 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.




Thomas Frederick O'Conner

     Born March 17, 1937, Tom was known to one and all as a proud Irish American who could trace his family roots back through several generations of Long Islanders. His mother’s maiden name was Gannon. She gave birth at Meadowbrook Hospital, known today as the Nassau County Medical Center, in East Meadow. One of eleven siblings she grew up in Sag Harbor in the Town of Islip on Suffolk County’s South Shore. His father, grew up in the City of Glen Cove, on the North Shore of the Town of Oyster Bay where he and his brother were among the first to sign up for duty in World War One. A carpenter by profession, he died when Tom was about two years old. It had been his maternal family side that moved from Brooklyn where they’d lived before, to Sag Harbor during the 1880’s. They’d been on Long Island since the American Civil War. Tom had two sisters.
      Mr. O’Conner’s early years were spent in North Amityville where he attended elementary school. He graduated Hempstead High School and matriculated to Adelphi University in Garden City where he attended at night while working days. After high school he worked for Household Finance and Beneficial Finance Corp. He remembers the Kennedy assassination, Nixon’s resignation and his first day of teaching in Brentwood in 1969.
      He was introduced to the District by a sister who lived in Brentwood and due to its large size suggested he might try for employment there. In January 1968 he was hired as a substitute when G Guy. DiPietro had to replace a teacher who left in mid-year. When that position opened up, the Superintendent recommended Tom for the job in the Sonderling building that he held till retiring in 1992. During his tenure he taught World History, American History, Problems of American Democracy, Consumer Economics, Sociology, Criminal Justice and Mock Trial. In 1985 Brentwood won the Suffolk County Championship in Albany, coming in 2nd in State competitions. Tom was active with the Government Club, Moot Trial Club, and attending Town of Islip Board Meetings where his students got up to speak calling attention to their presence and bringing Tom’s controversial activities in Consumer Economicsinto question. He received a call from the Principal of Brentwood High School and was obliged to explain his assignment and justify his actions. Tom referenced the importance of NYS Tenure Laws for teachers. He believed without them he could have lost his teaching position.
      He assisted Cal Fornwald for one year when they Co-Advised the Brentwood Yearbook. He recalled the impact that Milton K. Siler Jr, G. Guy DiPietro, and Barbara Britt had on his career. He loved reading about History and Sports, Philosophy and Literature. Coming late to Education after a career in business he took only four Education Courses as electives prior to teaching in Brentwood and had no student teaching experience. His mission throughout his career was “to encourage kids to think and to become independent thinkers.”        
     This interview occurred on October 18, 1999.

      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

Feb 3
Executive Board Meeting

(No meeting in January)

March 24
General Membership Meeting
(No Meetings in Jan. or Feb.)

RC 21 Website:
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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