Mineola schools recognized for innovation


The Mineola school district has been recognized by an administrators’ group as “one of the top 25 most innovative school districts in the country,” Superintendent Michael Nagler announced last Thursday.

His announcement came at a meeting where the Board of Education approved his employment agreement and board President Christine Napolitano praised his work.

For his part, Nagler congratulated those involved in earning the recognition for innovation from the American Association of School Administrators.

The association published a case study on the district titled “Unconventional Wisdom: How a district courageously broke with convention to create new norms for engaging, future-focused learners.” The report described Nagler’s recognition of students’ “coasting” and lack of interest and engagement, and his team’s ability to design curriculum with Common Core state standards in mind.

The district was also recognized for its implementation of interactive, engaging video education, like the in-classroom use of YouTube, in Education Week.

Nagler had his employment agreement with the district unanimously approved by the board. The board did not disclose details, but Nagler earned $242,735 in 2018, according to the Empire Center, a conservative think tank.

“I think I can speak for the board when I say we are most fortunate and grateful for Dr. Nagler’s leadership and direction that has put this district squarely on the educational map,” Napolitano said. “Since the day he became superintendent, Dr. Nagler has worked tirelessly to improve every aspect of a child’s education here in Mineola.”

“I proudly say I’ve never once interviewed for any job other than this one,” Nagler said. “And I hope never to interview for a superintendent job again.”

In other action, the board approved the appointment of one new part-time bus attendant, Bernadette Pesa, and the hiring of former part-time bus attendant Clara Riera to a full-time position.

Another resolution was added to the agenda, with no details made public.

“Be it resolved that the Board of Education hereby approve the terms of a settlement between the Mineola Union Free School District and the parents of a certain student,” Napolitano said.

Edward Escobar, assistant superintendent for human resources, was unavailable for comment.

Two presentations were given on the middle school and the kindergarten curriculum.

Mineola Middle School Principal Andrew Cassale, Assistant Principal Amy Trojanowski and the new dean of students, Steve Benner, presented data derived from state and regional growth objectives, pointing out many instances of the district’s middle-school students being above average in reading and math.

Moving forward, the middle school will focus on revising the seventh grade curriculum in English language arts, social studies and the humanities.

Matthew Gaven, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, assessment and technology, gave a presentation with teacher Sara Ortiz on the district’s new kindergarten assessment system.

The new approach will follow a “badges” methodology, recognizing students’ mastering of concepts in real time in their own badge books. Educators will also keep track of students’ badges, in case of lost or damaged books.

The board will meet next on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Willis Avenue school for a workshop meeting.




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