*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                                                                        MAY 2018
May 6
ROBS General Meeting

May 24
Executive Board Meeting

Meeting Dates
Events Schedule

POSTED 5/1/18
      Our next General Meeting of the year will be held on Friday, May 6th at 10AM at the Brentwood Library. It is also that time of year when we are collecting donations for our annual Scholarship Fund. If you would like to contribute (any amount is greatly appreciated) make out your check to ROBS and on the MEMO line write Scholarship. Hope to see you at our General Meeting.

POSTED 5/10/17

     The BTA needs help this Saturday in advance of Tuesday’s school board election. The BTA is supporting “Row B” which includes fellow Brentwood retiree, Julia Burgos, in her bid for re-election to the board for a second term.
     Join us for a neighborhood labor walk on Saturday, May 12, 2018. We will be meeting at the BTA office, 350 Motor Parkway in Hauppauge at 8:30 am. We will then team up and visit fellow NYSUT members who live in Brentwood. It should be a two hour commitment. The BTA is supporting “Row B” which includes full support for a Brentwood retiree.
    View Flier here 

POSTED 5/29/18
   Kathy Locherer, wife of Bob Locherer, longtime physical educaton and special education teacher in Brentwood, has passed.
   Kathy will be waked at Chapey Funeral Home, Montauk Highway, E. Islip Wednesday, 5/30, from 2 - 5 and 7 - 9.


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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.
Check out the Famous People and Events on that special day in May see what else happened! Historical People and Events for May May 2018 Holidays, Bizarre, Unique, Special Days
Bizarre and Unique Holidays in May
All About May
May 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.
   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.



Ross Herzog
August 13, 2004 (Updated 2018)

     His given legal name is David Ross Herzog after Joseph Ross Herzog, his paternal grandfather. One day when Joseph asked Ross’ mother how little Ross was doing, she said, “No, it’s David.” He responded “…….No, it‘s Ross!” and from then on it was Ross because he didn’t want his grandson named David. Officially, Ross still uses David when signing legal documents, but otherwise he is known to us as “Ross.”
   One of six children, three boys and three girls, he is the oldest of the boys with two older sisters (Rosemary and Roberta), a younger sister (Grace) and two younger brothers (Fred and Michael). Rosemary and Roberta have, since this interview, passed away. His family had spread all over the country. They were scattered on Long Island, and in South Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon. Both his parents are deceased.
   Married to Carol for 41 years, he met her in Brentwood at a “New Teachers Party” and they both remember the moment vividly. Sadly, Carol passed away in 2014 after a five-year struggle with cancer. Their oldest son, David, age 42, was a graduate of SUNY Buffalo and Fordham University with an MBA, and he has worked for JP Morgan Chase, Amex, and is now with Vonage. His younger son, Brian, is 33 years old. He attended SCCC and Stony Brook University where he did very well having made the “Dean’s List.” When he left college, he established his own food delivery service, ran it for eight years and eventually sold it. He is currently a real estate agent for Coach and is engaged to be married to Lindsay in the fall. Both boys “have done well” and Ross said, “Life has been good.”
   David was a “readiness” kid and had always been careful about the choices he made, took his time deciding, and was deliberate. Brian, on the other hand, was the opposite, a risk taker and always will be. He liked to find things out for himself and tended to plunge into things. If he needed to, he would regroup and move on. He really was an experiential kid. “They are very different, and while they are eight years apart, they are emotionally very close,” said Ross.
   The third of six in birth order and oldest of three brothers, Ross was closest in age and temperament to his younger sister Grace. Both are laid back. He was strongly influenced by two aunts, Aunt Grace and Aunt Kay, both lifelong elementary school teachers. There are several teachers in the family, but the connecting thread seems to run in the direction of those occupations that unite people and service (nursing, education, financial services). His youngest brother, Michael and his wife were both graduates of SUNY New Paltz and taught elementary school in Dover Plains, New York for their entire careers. His brother Fred, after five years in the Navy, made his career in plumbing and heating. While they went in different directions, he and Ross are always in frequent contact.
    Ross was born in Bellrose, NY in 1940, just over the Queens/Nassau border. He grew up in Floral Park and has many formative memories of life there, including “hanging out” at Belmont Race Track which was only a mile or so from their home. It was there he spent many hours as a kid. Bicycles up and down the street all the time, lined with 60 x 100 plots, and it’s all still there, as is the original house in what was and is still a typical urban/suburban neighborhood.
    His mother’s maiden name was Mary Frances McGuire and his wife’s name was Carol Lynn Brady, thereby keeping an Irish heritage in the family. His mother grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in the Ft. Hamilton area. His mother’s father died quite young, a year or two after she was born, so she had no recollection of him. Ross has been able to trace his mother’s family back to Ireland for three generations, but she grew up in Brooklyn. The family doesn't’t have any close relatives still residing in Ireland. His father was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and his parents grew up there as well. Ross’ great grandfather came from Germany and his great grandmother, last name Kramer, came from France. Again, no known relatives still reside there.
    Ross and Carol made a ten-day trip to Ireland in 2004, two weeks from this scheduled interview and then went on to a two-week visit to Italy in 2005. Further travel was, of course, in their plans.
    Ross’ mother was a lover of culture, the theater, opera, ballet, and the arts. His father, on the other hand, loved spectator sports, especially the Mets. As a youngster, he was an avid fan of the Dodgers, more for a dislike of the Yankees than anything else. He had been a minor league pitcher of some repute and would often pitch several games in one day. He often told the story of how he pitched batting practice once to Babe Ruth. He became a Mets fan when Ebbett’s Field was razed. Ross said his dad, “would rather watch a baseball game than go to a concert.”
   Home life was often frenetic with six children, even though the older ones watched out for the younger ones. All had their own strong personalities even to the point of being strongly competitive. They often visited the grandparents in Brooklyn, mostly for birthdays. He recalled the trips as the children looked forward to driving over the “humming bridge” on the Belt Parkway. His father’s brother John lived on the same street as his parents. He was a NYC fireman. The neighborhood was changing and he and his family were the last white people of the block.
   Aunt Grace, his father’s sister, was a kindergarten teacher, and his mother’s sister, Aunt Kay, and elementary school teacher. A number of his parents’ friends were also teachers. Ross got to know them, including a woman named Virginia Carr from Eaton’s Neck. For guidance, Ross spoke with her a few weeks before starting teaching. She told him about her fire drill strategy. “You know, you mustn’t hit kids, but a fire drill is a safety situation.” She kept a list on her desk from which she dispensed her brand of discipline, all in good fun of course. As the last one out the door, she would smack certain ones on her list on the back of the head. “Quiet everyone.” “Move quickly.” “Close your mouth.” Aunt Grace spoke nostalgically of a 25th anniversary reunion when her original class of 25 years before came together to honor her, play with letter blocks, and dig in the sandbox.
   He also had an English teacher in high school named Mr. Carboy. He was not a good teacher, but Ross came to admire him, especially for his love of vocabulary. He fondly remembered Sister Joseph and Sister Mary Francis from St. Patrick’s elementary school (strict!), and Sister Emmerick (French) and Sister Pierre (Social Studies) from St. Dominic High School. Their stories helped Ross to become a teacher. However, he didn’t really decide that until after he had taught a full year and returned for year two.

Ross Herzog
   His first job as a kid was as a caddy. He was 14. He hated math, loved English and French, but not so much Social Studies. His favorite season was Fall. His favorite foods were roast beef and lamb. He remembers the aroma of cabbage (NOT his favorite) boiling on the stove as he was growing up, and he hated the taste of cocoanut and still does. His mother was an Irish cook. Enough said.
   He attended Our Lady of Victory in Floral Park, grades 1-6, moved to Huntington and attended St. Patrick’s, grades 7-8, went on to St. Dominic’s in Oyster Bay (four years), worked for one year in his father’s trade (plumbing and heating) but “didn’t like working outdoors in the cold,” and attended St. John’s University on a five year plan. He began teaching in 1964, immediately after graduation.
    Ross earned his Masters Degree in English Education from Hofstra University and administrative certifications at American University, NYU, and C.W. Post. In late 1970, he was one of the last Brentwood teachers to receive a full year paid sabbatical leave. He was accepted to Long Island University in Greenvale for their graduate degree in Theater Arts, completed 36 credits, including a performance production, but did not complete the thesis because he had been appointed Department Chair in English at Brentwood High School and could not do both.
    Ross arrived in Brentwood in the summer of 1964. He did not have teaching certification, student teaching experience, or a job. He saw an ad that they were hiring. Charlie Swensen, Assistant Principal, said they had no openings at North Jr. but called Mike DeBellis at South Jr., and there he was hired. There were no other interviews. He said, “I had a good pulse, so they took a chance on me.” “The staff in Brentwood were wonderful, but the turnover was tremendous. Even so, everybody was there to help you.” New people were coming in all the time, and they were all in the same situation. Pete DeMento was also at South Jr. and became a mentor to many future administrators. Ross spoke of all he owed Brentwood for the education, experience, and awareness he had received from the amazing, collegial staff in the District.
    He began at South Jr. and taught Eighth and Ninth Grade English for four years. He transferred to the High School and remained there for 20 years. Of that time, 16 years were devoted to teaching English to Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Graders and for eight of those years he served as the English Department Head. For his last four years at the High School he served as an Assistant Principal in the Sonderling Building. He then went on to North Jr. for two years as one of its Assistant Principals, working with Mark Nizewitz and Jose Suarez. He was appointed the Principal of East Middle School in 1990 where he spent his last twelve years in Brentwood, retiring in 2002.
   At South Jr., Ross was advisor to the Student Council, the Yearbook, and the Drama Club. He became a representative building delegate to the BTA. He never had training in theater work prior to his teaching experience. “It was just something that happened. They needed an advisor, so I volunteered,” he said. He worked with a fellow English teacher at South, Ken Moss, who had a lot of background in the arts and a passion for theater. They started doing plays together. When Ross moved to the High School, he continued with that interest and did many of the “senior” plays and, after Maury Burns retired, three of the High School Musicals. He also advised several yearbooks along with Rich Edwards and was involved with the Student Council.    His deepest affection was reserved for students with whom he worked in those drama groups, due to the closeness of their relationships. He spoke of a series of summer workshops where he, Frank Carnese and Jeff Wolfe, under the NDEA (National Defense Education Act) and funded through Arts and Education, provided creative workshops, improvisational theater, and fencing. They took their students each week into NYC to see Broadway and off-Broadway shows, something many of them had never done before. “It was a joy,” he said. “They loved doing it and they learned so much from that experience. They needed this exposure because they were so very innocent and naïve.” He spoke of taking students to see a production of The Fantastics at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in the Village where they had 80 of the 125 seats and came away from it very much the wiser for having gone. To this day, he keeps in contact with many of these students, especially those with whom he worked in the 70’s.
  When he was appointed English Department Head he joined the Brentwood Principals and Supervisors Organization (BPSO) and worked on several committees including Professional Growth, Negotiations (along with Tom O’Brien), and served two years as Vice President.
    Throughout our interview, Ross shared that he loved working in Brentwood and particularly loved working with young people. His first year here, he said, was full of angst. He had so much to learn, but year two was better. Mike DeBellis, his mentor principal, encouraged him. “Be patient,” he said. “Most teachers don’t hit their stride until year four.” But he shared that he always felt he was destined to be a school administrator. He relished the opportunity to hire quality teachers and to help them develop. And the toughest decisions he had to make as an administrator were to let someone go. He’d had a student teacher at South Jr. whom he had to tell that he couldn’t recommend her for certification. He fretted over that decision, but when he met her some years later, he remembers how she thanked him. Ross said, “When you’re not happy, it shows.” In her case, she never belonged in a classroom, she knew it, and he gave her the opportunity to find something else she enjoyed more.    June 30th, 2002 was his last professional working day. Ross was 38 years in Brentwood. He taught day school, summer school, night school and did home teaching. He said he loved every part of it. He earned $5800 his first year. “It certainly wasn’t for the money, but the benefits, especially the psychological ones, were well worth it.” At the end of his career, he still had unfinished business, but he knew it was time to leave. He retired because all the stars for him and his family came together and he knew it was time to move on. He misses the people but not everything that came with his multiple positions. He wasn’t finished and spoke of goals that remained unfulfilled at the end. He referred to challenges faced by Brentwood students of today, and he paid great respect to the teachers who committed their professional lives to their students and unflagging support of one another. “That is the unique character of Brentwood.”

    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

NYSUT Website

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