*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                                                                          NOVEMBER 2012

November 2

General Membership Meeting
CANCELLED due to storm

November 15
Executive Board Meeting
Meeting Dates

December 7
Holiday Luncheon
See Calendar of Events

POSTED 11/14/12

By Beth Whitehouse
Reprinted from, Newsday, Monday November 12, 2012

     Over the past 10 years, identical twins Letty and Sheila Sustrin have accumulated quite a collection of ballet shoes. And they don't even dance.
     The Deer Park sisters, 74, have written a series of children's books called "The Teacher Who Would Not Retire" about a teacher named Mrs. Belle, who always wears her trademark ballet slippers.
     And so the siblings make sure to wear ballet shoes themselves to presentations -- silver ones, gold ones, black ones, pink ones. The former kindergarten and first-grade teachers, who taught side-by-side in the Brentwood School District for 38 years and have always lived together, also dress alike. "The children get such a kick out of us dressing the same," Letty says.
     But they do offer a clue to their
identities: Each makes sure to wear a necklace or a pin with her first initial.
     On Sunday, the twins are scheduled to present the fourth book in their series, "The Teacher Who Would Not Retire Becomes a Movie Star," at 12:30 p.m. at the YMCA Boulton Center in Bay Shore. The book, geared to ages 4 to 10, tells how Mrs. Belle's town nominates her as "favorite teacher" and a crew is sent from Hollywood to document her life. More- Read entire article in Newsday

POSTED 11/12/12

To all my friends and family:
      I've accepted an invitation from Neal Flum, Associate Director of University Bands at The University of Alabama, to conduct The National Anthem this Saturday, November 17 with The Alabama "Million Dollar" Marching Band. I think there will be video posted to Facebook and YouTube next week. Neal is a former student of mine from Brentwood, LI, NY. It should be lots of fun to wave my arms again after all the years of retirement.

POSTED 11/15/12

     The impact of Hurricane Sandy has been disastrous for a number of ROBS members as well as others here on Long Island. NYSUT has offered to help those impacted by the storm by creating the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund. If you feel you qualify for assistance please download the application below. You can also contact Jeff Lockwood at: 1-800-342-9810, ext 6252 or disasterrelief@nysutmail.org. Completed applications can be forwarded to NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund: Attn: Jeff Lockwood, Accounting Department, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110.
      ROBS is joining this effort by making a contribution of $500 to this fund. You can also help your fellow ROBS and others impacted by the storm by making a contribution in any amount to this fund. Make checks payable to "NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund" and send them to the attention of Jeff Lockwood at the above address.
      We thank you for any assistance you can give during this critical time.

Download Application

Additional Storm Relief Resources

POSTED 11/29/12

George Keeley, Kate Corkery's father-in-law, will be waked at Chapey's on Montauk Hwy. in East Islip Thursday and Friday. Please check with Chapey's for times. George's daughter, Elizabeth is married to former Brentwood HS English teacher, Drew Dvorkin.

POSTED 11/18/12
Dear ROBS Members,
     As we celebrate the beginning of our 21st year as an organization, we can be proud of many of our accomplishments; one of them being "ROBS PROJECT HOPE." This project is a way for the retirees to show their continued support and concern for the children of Brentwood. Through SUBURBAN CHILDREN, INC., ROBS adopts families during the traditional holiday season. A complete Thanksgiving Feast is provided for each family and many gifts are bought, wrapped and delivered to them at Christmas time.
     Through our donations, PROJECT HOPE touches the lives of many. It is an opportunity for the members of ROBS to add to the joy and spirit of the season. Please help continue this fine tradition. It is truly appreciated by the folks at Suburban Children, and especially by the children and their families.
     Please make your checks payable to" "ROBS." You must write "Project Hope" on the memo line, so that we can keep proper records, please send your checks to:
Marge Kirchner, 666 Hawkins Road East, Coram NY 11727.
     Thank you for your continued support! Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.
Sheila & Letty Sustrin

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.

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

by John M. Sherin

“It came burning hot into my mind, whatever he said and however he flattered, when he got me into his house, he would sell me for a slave.”  - Paul Bunyan

     The voice on the other end of the phone said, “I promised myself, once I left I would never set foot in Brentwood again”. This came to me after asking a former colleague to assist with a project. We were compiling an oral history of educators who served during the second half of the twentieth century all of whom had retired from the same suburban school district. Never did I expect that kind of response. Taken aback, I wondered why he felt the way he did.  It sounded like anger, but why I thought, would someone choose to hold on to anger for so long after the events that triggered it had passed into times mists.
     Here was an experienced teacher, a tried and tested professional master of his craft, who had not only talked the talk but walked the walk, Aware that he was respected by colleagues and admired by his students, I found myself confronted by the paradox. This guy was demonstrating the embodiment of power & powerlessness that as teachers each of us brought with us to school. Here was a career pursued by a self-imposed exclusion from personal history. A choice had been made that carried a consequence that was painful in its realization. He seemed to say, “This place is beyond my ability to control. It has always been and remains to this day, outside my area of control. When I’m here, I’m powerless; vulnerable. This place, this system, has controlled me for 30 years, but no more. I refuse now to subject myself to further surrender of personal efficacy. I’ll keep my distance. As a teacher here, I was expected to be less than I might otherwise have been – if I were free”.


     As teachers, we know only too well that teachers are not yet free. Limited by the system within which we work we may exercise what power we have inside and out of the classroom. Whether active or retired there yet remains considerable power in teaching. Consider these manifestations of our ability to make a difference in students’ lives.
INFLUENCE. “A teacher effects eternity. (He/s/he) never knows where his/her influence stops.” So wrote Henry Adams.
AUTHORITY. “In locus parentae”. In so many cases, the teacher is the most significant adult in the life of some child. We must never negate the responsibility that comes with the power of the State we exercise every day. Once certified all teachers are powerful.
KNOWLEDGE. Information, skill, experience are within reach of teachers. Words, ideas, feelings, culture, history, who, what, when, where, why, and how are the building blocks of civilization that teachers impart each and every day.
REFERENCE. The first Resume’ you ever wrote probably had, a teachers name on it. The first letter of recommendation you ever asked someone to write for you was probably that of a teacher
WEALTH. Few people I know entered teaching for the money. If it was about making money there would be far fewer people trying to get into the profession today. We’ve made some progress. When I retired thanks to inflation, I earned ten times what I did when I began. Things have changed for us for the better, even though other professionals command higher salaries. Considering the way teachers are courted by both political parties today, it appears that we’ve learned how to maximize our considerable clout in the voting booth.
COERCION. The day of the rod is happily behind us. The Courts in many States have issued more than a few decisions regarding abuse of this power in school. Sadly, force continues to be used as an effective and important tool in the hands of educators. Standards and curricular requirements impose strict testing demands on teachers and students – perhaps more than ever before are teachers recipients and executors of coercive powers of local, State and Federal mandates.
      How could a teacher who had completed thirty plus years of dedicated service to this school district leave being so turned off? How could feelings of such bitterness and intensity remain after accepting the State’s Golden Parachute which carried him gently off toward the approaching millennium? What power but the human spirit could sustain such a hold?  Hopefully, from this perspective of distance he will be able to see that in the end and given the limits of his freedom to determine overriding policies of the system within which he worked, teachers are powerful people who can make all the difference.

November 14
NYSUT 12th Annual Regional Conference

December 11
Welcome Brunch

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”; the one for which we’ve evolved a script of questions with corresponding answers from over one hundred and fifty dedicated volunteers for nearly two decades?
      We couldn’t answer the question in ‘94 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational and informational purposes we had better document our record or lose any chance to preserve innumerable poignant accounts, humorous stories and touching tales told to us by exemplary educators and dedicated public servants, who shortly and for reasons unknown might soon be leaving our Brentwood for good.
     We decided to let time sort out the details as we commenced making appointments to ask questions and simply listen. Listen we did as this project evolved saving for subsequent generations the very essence of what it means to have been an educator or employed in a large student centered public school system during the latter half of the twentieth century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all the others; a diverse microcosm and accurate reflection of the approximately one hundred and twenty seven neighboring school districts on Long Island and the thousands across this country. We’ve accomplished something here, something we can all be proud of having been part of, whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few other professionals in the State of New York are positioned to share in a like manner.
     INITIALLY the practice of sitting for an hour with the Subject of our interview and giving them one hundred percent of our focused attention for that period of time seemed a little threatening to many of our friends and former colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined repeated invitations to be interviewed as they left careers behind or retired from full time employ with the District. Despite all assurances that this was not to be about investigative journalism or invading their privacy, they’ve deferred. Until now, almost seventeen years after we began, some say they may finally be ready. We say, “Better late than never”. However, to all those among you who were willing to share openly not only your classroom experiences but personal stories, precious memories from your lives and fondest hopes for the future, we say thanks for allowing us to be able to continue the process of giving as we now are able to share interviews with you, with the community and with countless regional professional educators and researchers through tentative acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University.
      You can now enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org/ where you’ll see and hear segments from the History Project Interviews featured here in the ROBS History Project section on the Announcements Page archived each month thereafter for those wishing to return again and again.


Ken Moss
High School English Teacher

    Jan 26, 2012 arrived and around mid-day so did Ken Moss. Asking about the broadest categories we wished to query, we answered with four; early influences, introduction to Brentwood, life after M-T, his advice to those who may follow. Taking little notice of ROBS question and answer format he began talking openly and confidently for almost fifty minutes straight, speaking in his own fluid and wholly captivating manner until he’d conveyed all he wanted to say. What follows in two parts ends as did most of his work in the district with his audience waiting for more. His initial job interview with Mike De Bellis at South Middle School was brief. Right afterward he was presented with a contract to teach 8th Grade. No call back necessary. At one point during that first year a NEWSDAY reporter was waiting for him outside his classroom door with a question posed by a father of one of his students. Ken tells us how Mike De Bellis, “to his credit”, stepped in and asked, “What do you want to do Ken?” They both agreed to bury the particular issue ( which, according to Ken had come “too early” in his career ) perhaps assuring Ken’s tenure which he did not as yet possess. As one of the moving forces of a BTA Humanistic Conference held in Brentwood during the late sixties and voluntarily attended by more than 1,000 participants, he conducted workshops  promoting his own technique for advancing student writing. He called them Easy as 1, 2, 3, soon to find the method widely emulated throughout the State of New York and the whole country thereafter. It was Charles Calitri at Hofstra who first introduced him to the concept of affective education. Ken had come to Hempstead after Berkley to complete his Masters Degree. That was where he found a whole brained approach to experiential education and student motivation that grabbed his creative imagination and pushed him toward journaling, drama and the Maslow Toffler School. Believing every time one door closes another opens, he resigned his teaching position after 20 years to pursue the collegiate life teaching in a Community College, (a huge mistake ), at SUNY, Marist, and then SUNY New Paltz from which he retired. During two decades in Brentwood, Ken was active in the BTA. He was Producer, Director and performer in a variety of local productions such as “I Heard It in the Boy’s Room”, “Family Album”, “Revolution” and “The Stoned Age.” The latter two were part of the Performing Arts Centers productions at the Maslow Toffler School of Futuristic Education where he was Founding Director of the PAC. It is in the final moments of his interview (not shown ) where he describes an account at Open School Night in the traditional system which permanently changed the life of a former student – the memory of which remains with him forever – which he reminds us,  “is not a time, but a feeling.”

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

Barbara Mascaro
Beverly Carpenter
Edward Hannan
Evelyn Sekac
Florence Koehler
Franklin Spencer
Ivy Rosenthal
Jack Zuckerman
Joan Lange
Joseph Purcell
Karen Scharf
Lorraine Sopp
Lynn Desoto
Marcy Fiore
Mike Fasullo
Patricia Stuhler
Pattie Monsen
Rich Curio
Richard Mundy
Ron Pace
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.

POSTED 11/11/12

     Anne Binford, a retired business teacher from the Ross Building, lost her husband, Bob Binford, on November 7, 2012. Bob was a retired master electrician from the Brentwood School District after working there 25 years.
Services for Bob will be held on Monday, November 12, 2012:
Viewing: 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Homegoing: 11 a.m.
Hope Missionary Baptist Church
100 Lemon & Rev. Richard Loving Street
Central Islip, NY 11722
Anne's home address is:
15 Goldenwood Circle
Central Islip, NY 11722

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