The Great Neck school district named Joseph Hickey as its new superintendent of special education and pupil services at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Hickey, who began teaching when he was 17 years old, is taking over for Dennis Ryan who retired from the position in October.
“I feel honored to be hired by a district with such a fine reputation as Great Neck,” Hickey said. “I am really looking forward to meeting the parents and children in this warm and caring community. I am glad to be part of this district.”
Hickey said he became a teacher to continue his family tradition of educating children. Hickey started his career working with autistic children as a teaching assistant at 17. He then became a special education teacher where he taught at all levels including kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school. For two years, Hickey worked in the central office administration for the special education department in New York City. For the last 14 years, he was the principal at Tooker Avenue Elementary school in West Babylon.
“Everyone in my family was an educator,” Hickey said. “I am keeping the family business going.”
Hickey, who lives in Merrick with his wife and two daughters, attended Fordham University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Science in education. Hickey also received a professional diploma in administration and supervision at Fordham. Hickey completed his doctoral studies at Dowling College, where he also serves as an adjunct associate professor of educational administration, leadership and technology.
Barbara Berkowitz, president of the Great Neck school board, said she is excited that the district hired Hickey for the vacant job.
“The school board is enthusiastic about Dr. Hickey being appointed to this position,” Berkowitz said. “We can’t wait for Dr. Hickey to join our team because his background, compassion and interest were traits that this district was looking for.”
Tom Dolan, superintendent of schools for the Great Neck school district, said Hickey was the unanimous choice by the selection committee to replace Ryan. The selection committee consisted of district superintendents, the special education department, district administrators and school principals.
“I felt honored to introduce Dr. Hickey to the Great Neck school community tonight,” Dolan said. “I look forward to working with him to meet the needs of our students.”
Hickey will officially join the district as the superintendent of special education and pupil services on Monday, Jan. 31.