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Mineola School Board Grants Special Ed Teacher Tenure

Jackson Avenue teacher Alaina Tutrone granted tenure status.

Alaina Tutrone’s “expertise and knowledge rely belie the years that she has been in education,” Principal Pat Molloy told members of the during the special education teacher’s recent tenure hearing.

“Basically she’s going to be with us for 30 years,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said at the January 19 meeting at the , adding “so you have to really be a good judge of character to know after three short years whether or not you want somebody with you for 30 more, as analogous to a marriage; although it a teaching profession, it’s much harder to get a divorce” and eliciting a laugh.

One of the key attributes of a tenured position the district looks for according to the superintendent is profession. “It’s not a job, not everybody can do it,” he said. “When we look at young people who come in, we look for characteristics that we know, their integrity, their work ethic, their love of children will always be with them and you see a candidate before you that has all of those attributes and more.”

Tutrone was first hired as a teacher at , coming to Jackson Avenue when the this year. She was also chosen to be one of the data analysis teachers for , and has created student-friendly goal sheets so children could understand what was expected of them.

“When Dr. Nagler told me that I was moving to Jackson, I was thrilled for a lot of reasons, but one of them was the opportunity to work with Alaina,” Molloy said. “She’s always looking for ways to reach every single child. She really understands the complexities and the nuances of teaching special needs children.”

Part of the process in order to in Mineola is the creation of a “notebook” that attempts to capture the teacher’s personality and teaching philosophy. Once they begin their professional careers in Mineola, each teacher is automatically enrolled in a professional residency program where they meet with Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler and members of the central office. Each teacher creates a portfolio binder and also films themselves teaching a class which is then reviewed by other teachers sitting together as a class.

“I’ve read a lot of these tenure recommendations,” trustee John McGrath said, “and I’ve never seen one where in every area the candidate got rated ‘exemplary.’ There’s content knowledge, preparation, instructional delivery, classroom management, student development, student assessment and collaboration, parent communication and models learning; never have I seen that, usually it’s spread around, especially with teachers who are young and have only been doing it for a short time. That’s something to be acknowledged and to encourage.”

Board member Terence Hale had spent over 90 minutes reading Tutrone’s portfolio, saying that he always looks at a candidate’s philosophy. “You believe if a student’s needs are being met, then they will embrace education and you structure your whole teaching day with whole group, small group and individual instruction to the needs of each student and you embrace this and I commend you for that,” he said. “You are very respected in this community and within this district.”

Unable to attend the hearing was . “He thinks so highly of Alaina and he was so for her getting tenure and he’s very disappointed that he couldn’t be here tonight,” Molloy said, reading a statement that Gavin had sent in his stead: “Alaina is a dynamic young professional with a bright future serving the students of Mineola.”

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