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Mineola School Board Bids Farewell to John McGrath

Trustee attends final meeting after 13 years on board of education.

Christine Napolitano said that she felt both “happy and sad” at the conclusion of her year as president of the .

“I do appreciate very much having the opportunity to this, it really is a privilege and an honor to serve on the board and I look forward to continuing the next 3 years working on the board,” she reflected during the June 21 meeting at the .

“Christine and I have had a very interesting year,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said, “it’s been challenging but fun at the same time - she’s always available, which is very difficult sometimes to be a president, you’re the first contact and there’s always something coming up every day so I appreciate the job you did this year.”

But while Napolitano is remaining on the board, having been , 13-year veteran is departing, as voters elected to the second seat on the board.

“Thank you for the time and the effort you have put in, I know how hard it is to be a board member,” Napolitano said to McGrath. “And you’ve done it for a lot of years and we do appreciate the volunteerism and service to the community.”

Trustee Terence Hale added his own appreciation for McGrath’s years of service, saying “thanks for all the time John, you brought a lot to the table.”

Dr. Nagler, whose 12 years in the district is probably second only to McGrath’s 13, said that “I don’t think people realize the work involved in being a board member and John alluded to it earlier about the ‘flurry of years’.”

Holding up a 350-page packet of agenda papers that is sent out every Friday to board members, the superintendent observed that “in addition to prepping for the executive session we’re about to have with the auditors, in addition to all the other stuff I throw at them that’s going on, it is a big job it’s a thankless job and I don’t know that words fully describe how grateful we should be to people.”

The superintendent went on to say that “I’ve known him in a lot of capacities and he’s been a pain in my neck sometimes and he’s been my staunchest ally sometimes, and I respect his opinion and his ability to fight for his constituency. And no matter what people might think when we disagree, we disagree nicely as a way of putting it. John’s had my back for a lot of years; I appreciate it, I’m going to miss him, thank you for your years.”

McGrath thanked Napolitano, Hale and Dr. Nagler for their comments, and wishing Barnett good luck in his term on the board..

“It’s been an interesting 13 year experience; actually it’s much longer than that because I’ve been participating in this district since at least 1987,” McGrath said. “On one level, I’m going to miss having that position and helping the board make those decisions that it invariably makes over the course of the year; in another respect, it’s going to be a relief – I know my wife is pretty happy with the outcome of the election and I think both my kids are too. As much as she may have complained about the meetings, she certainly supported it, otherwise I never would have gotten away with doing it for 13 years. It’s not easy having a father on the board of education, especially when you get into high school.”

The outgoing trustee also touched on some of the , saying that “we may have had our disagreements over the last couple of years but I think it was on one discrete issue and not on the bulk of the type of work that we had to do. I got a lot out of this job; it actually created a direction for my legal practice that never would have existed if I hadn’t had the job.”

Dr. Nagler also thanked all the PTAs for their work during the past year, singling out the PTOs of Willis Avenue, which is closing and Willis PTO president Cina Palumbo.

“It was a very difficult last year in and this last week they really did a fabulous job to send the kids off between the shirts and the festival,” he said. “It’s very tough for organizations when they dissolve and it was tough for last year and Willis following suit this year.”

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