Photo 1993 Board President
     This month (March 30th) marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of former School Board President,Tony Felicio.      Tony throughout his term on the Board of Education and as President always worked in the best interest of the students, staff and community of Brentwood.      ROBS takes this opportunity to remember and honor Tony for all he did for Brentwood

By Tom O'Connor 4/03
     Much can be said about his accomplishments for the children of Brentwood during the time he was here. In all, he served on the school board for more than three decades, first as a trustee then as president. Of course, as a local political leader who did more than pay lip service to public education, he was fair game for attacks from detractors. He typically handled them in good form and didn't complain. He just kept going. I remember him saying, "You've got to get along to go along." In the ever-contentious environment in which he served, this was no easy task. But, he did it.

Photo 1975 Board Trustee
     Tony had a seemingly endless amount of energy and was seen at all school functions to support the efforts of those who built the school district and community, both children and adults. Not only did he attend athletic contests, meetings, and the like, he helped with fund-raisers, as well. In 1968 the first election for the newly formed Suffolk Legislature took place. He ran as the Democratic candidate against Michael J. Grant, the Republican candidate. Many years later, Mike would tell me about what it was like to run against this man. "He was everywhere," Mike would say. "He was at every event going on in the district. I don't know how he did it!" This store of energy would serve this man well throughout his life. And he used his gift for the best of purposes; serving the people of his community.

     He also knew how important it was to support the academic teams and he did with great gusto. I worked as an advisor to the mock trial team and the government club. He did everything possible to encourage the kids in these activities. In 1985, when the mock trial team won the Long Island Championship, he found a way to get the needed funding to get all of the 14 members of the team up to Albany for the "tournament of champions" after the tournament sponsors announced that they would cover the expenses of only eight of the kids. Also, when he learned that our kids needed a courtroom to be built (in the back of my classroom) he pushed the project and saw it through, in spite of the opposition of some administrators. He certainly supported the government club's activities, too. He helped to put his community "on the map," so to speak, by furthering the activities of the students.

Board Trustee

1974 Board Trustee

 He was not shy about stepping into a situation involving disagreement between school authorities and students. The government club had a situation in which the high school building principal was holding back sheets of statistics from a mock election the students had held. Without this data, the students could not complete their election project in a timely fashion. The club's president appealed to him as her representative in government after her requests to see the high school principal and superintendent of schools had been refused. He responded right away. The building principal handed over the statistics to the students the next morning, in plenty of time to meet their deadline. A few ruffled feathers, but mission accomplished.

Photo 1968 Board Trustee
     These are just a few of the things I'll recall when I think of Tony Felicio. He made a difference for the better despite the obstacles he faced. He never wavered. And, with his help, Brentwood is a better place.

1984 Board President

1980 Board President              
ROBS HISTORY PROJECT INTERVIEW By John Sherin - December 12, 2001

1990 Board President

Anthony Francis Felicio
     When Tony died on March 30, 2003, he left a hugely appreciative Brentwood family that included his own. Among his immediate and most intimate survivors were his wife Marie, 3 sisters, 1 brother, 4 children and a host of beloved grandchildren.  Add to this the countless friends, colleagues, neighbors, associates, educators, students and citizens who respected and admired him and knew they’d lost their most committed public servant and trusted advocate. “Mr. Brentwood,” as he loved to be called, totally embraced the Hamlet of Brentwood with its’ two postal districts and multi-cultural mosaic of diverse neighbors he bragged gave his own family a quality public school education they couldn’t have obtained elsewhere. 
     Baba, as he was called when he was very young, grew up in Ozone Park, Queens, where he caught snakes with friends in the grasslands surrounding Idlewild airport. His first job was with Dilbert Brothers. There he became a Dairy Head at age19. He loved athletics, participating in the New York Giants camp. He attended St John’s Prep and John Adams High School. When the Korean Conflict began he was drafted into the 24th Infantry Division in Nov. 1951 and spent the next 18 months in Korea sustaining a back injury when the jeep in which he was riding was involved in an accident. Once discharged he worked for Railway Express and Reeves Instrument Corporation (a Radar facility) where he became a union organizer much to the chagrin of his uncle who had gotten him the job. Eventually he worked with Metropolitan Life, taking courses as a Life Underwriter at Hofstra.
     Tony met Marie at a dance when he was 15. He was engaged by the age of 18. They soon were married and a few years later while taking a ride with buddies on their lunch hour he found Bermuda Homes. The following Sunday he brought Marie to see what would become their new home, with 2 bathrooms, for $10,990. with a small deposit. It was 1957 and Debra was 3 months old when they moved in before Christmas with woods all around, two houses on the block and a few scattered stores on Brentwood Road. In no time at all they had neighbors and the woods were gone.
     He along with Vincent DiRiggi Sr. started the United Civic Association of Brentwood North-Bay Shore. DiRiggi ran for the Board in 1963 and lost. After Oak Park School was built Tony went to his first Board meeting to petition that a sidewalk be constructed. He asked Irv Keller about the requirements for Board Trustee and was discouraged from running until he spoke with Dr. Phalen from BOCES who told him the truth. He ran against John Heinz in 1967, won and in May of that year began the first of his 11 - 3 year terms. He introduced resolutions to change the Term of Trustee from 3 to 5 years and created a reconstituted seven member Board. He also created election districts around each elementary school. He was re-elected for 34 yrs and led the first lawsuit against NY State early on and again in 1990, all to gain more equitable funding. He has since led many a battle to eliminate the funding cap and broad inequities in funding. Different from other districts, Tony considered Brentwood unique. He became Islip Town School Boards Association President and helped personally, turn around many other Board members.
     As part of our free and open conversation he discussed such events as the tragedy at East Jar High on May 16, 1983, the events of 9/11, the loss to the district of Superintendent Guy Di Pietro, the closeness of the Brentwood family during trying times, the lost $200 million in funding over the preceding 5 yrs, his ongoing attendance at district functions supporting “my family” functions like retirements, musical concerts, sports events, Green Machine concerts, The Maslow-Toffler School of Futuristic Education, the richness of the multicultural influence of Afro-American, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, Latin American influences that all have made Brentwood what it has become.
Extolling the virtues of his district educators he justified providing district Health Insurance Coverage to employees by pointing to the importance of those benefits to retain quality staff in Long Island’s competitive market for talent. What did he enjoy the most? Sitting on the floor and reading to the children of his district.
     Anthony F. Felicio once entertaining the idea of running for high political office, ran and lost, realizing after that, that as a Democrat it was unlikely he could win. That dream behind him he departed on this day to teach an In-service class for teachers at the Delecave Educational Institute for Professional Development following his interview. It was Dec 12, 2001.

View Photo of April 15, 2013 Brentwood Historical Society Presentation of Video.


Dr. Joseph McDonald, Mr. Anthony Felicio, Mr. James Lynch, Pres.,
Mr. John Curio and Mr. Ismael Colon 1970