Nicole Matzer bids farewell to Mineola ed board

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Nicole Matzer bid farewell to the Mineola school board at her last meeting as a trustee Thursday night. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

After her time as a Mineola school board trustee ends this month, Nicole Matzer said she’ll watch the board meetings at home in her pajamas.

But her fellow district officials were doubtful, saying it was more likely that she’d be out at a district event on those Thursday nights.

“Nicole’s not going to be sitting at home in her pajamas, let’s face it,” Margaret Ballantyne-Mannion, the board’s vice president, said at Thursday’s meeting.

The board on Thursday bid farewell to Matzer, who is stepping down after four years as a trustee. She decided not to seek a second full term in May’s school board election.

Board members and the district’s superintendent, Michael Nagler, praised Matzer as a dedicated parent and volunteer who brought a sense of calm whenever there was conflict in the district.

“I can’t thank you enough for stepping up to the plate,” Christine Napolitano, the school board president, told Matzer. “Not many individuals would have been as willing, but we were very, very grateful for your calm presence.”

Matzer was appointed to the school board in 2013 after the resignation of Terence Hale, a trustee who resigned after sending emails to other board members that they considered inappropriate.

As an activist in the district’s parent-teacher organizations who served as president of the PTO District Council, Matzer supported the district’s plan to consolidate its schools amid declining student enrollment.

Nagler said he admired Matzer for never hesitating to ask questions, even the most basic ones, so she could understand complex issues facing the board.

“You need people who ask questions, who want to understand what’s going on, who offer an opinion and can coalesce with the group around decisions,” Nagler said. “And that’s Nicole in a nutshell.”

Patrick Talty, an engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory and a parent of three Mineola students, was elected in May to replace Matzer. He will take office at the beginning of July.

Matzer has said she plans to stay involved with the PTOs at Mineola Middle School and Mineola High School, as well as the District Council.

She thanked the board for the experience she gained, and her husband and two sons “for this opportunity, for allowing me to grow.”

“I truly enjoy being part of something so large, but most importantly so very important,” Matzer said.

In addition to her contributions to conversations about serious issues, other board members said they’ll miss Matzer’s famous pasta sauce. She’d give a jar to each board trustee and to Nagler each year.

As a parting gift, the board gave her an apron that says, “Now that I have an extra 15 minutes I’ll make some sauce.”

It refers to Matzer once jokingly telling Trustee Brian Widman, who was elected in 2015, that the board was only a 15-minute-a-week commitment.

“When you use it, think of us,” Widman said of the apron.

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