The Mineola School District welcomed four new members to its permanent ranks recently, granting tenure status to Dr. Patricio A. Romero, psychologist at , Bette Sloane, math teacher at the high school, Sharon Macken, the district’s chief information officer, and Marc Ratner, a music teacher at the .
“It’s like a marriage,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler said during the meeting at the on June 6, “they’re going to be with us for 30 more years, easy and with teachers there’s no divorce so you either know right now or not whether they’re a match and I’m confident that the 4 people we gave tenure to this evening are a match for our school district and going to serve us well.”
Macken began as an intern in the position “and grew as the job grew,” Dr. Nagler said. “This is probably the most thankless job in the district; it’s crunching numbers and reporting them accurately to the state in everything we report. And the more we get involved with APPR and what portion of the teacher is teaching what child and what portion of that child’s test goes to what person, Sharon’s job becomes more and more important.”
Ratner, whose father had helped establish the middle school music department which has received state-wide recognition, was not the subject of any sort of nepotism according to the administrators who spoke on his behalf before the board.
“His son comes in and not only builds upon the legacy, but continues to distinguish himself on a daily basis,” principal Mark Barth said. “Kids are engaged, he gets kids to focus on the things that they enjoy, he provides them an opportunity to open their eyes to new opportunities, creativity. He came to meetings and he almost set the standard as how one should be for being prepared to have conversations about music program scheduling.”
Speaking to Ratner, Superintendent Nagler added that “you’re so different from your dad that you’ve made a name for yourself. You are incredibly quit and demure – unlike your father – and you have a way with kids; the music exploration class, the concerts I’ve attended and what you do with kids that traditionally do not take music, they don’t want any part in music... you have added this whole new perspective to kids.”
Of Sloane, high school principal Ed Escobar said that “she does it all, if you know her, with great enthusiasm. She’s so enthusiastic, I think she now realizes that she really can’t come in to see me like that early in the morning because she’s more enthusiastic than anyone else in the school.”
Escobar credited Sloane with helping to , offering integrated algebra to the eighth grade as a double period and a contest she held with geometry and art, winning a trip to the Met in the process.
“A lot of people think math people really are one side of the brain and they don’t explore that creative and artsy side on the other,” Dr. Nagler said, “and Beth really proves that false. She’s an accomplished photographer, she is very much into the arts and she weaves it into math... and she is able to engage kids using different disciplines.”
While Dr. Romero has been a school psychologist for the past several years, it was one night which really struck Escobar about him which continues to resonate: the candlelight vigil held for , shortly after his passing in 2010.
“We knew there was going to be a big crowd there,” Escobar recalled, “we didn’t know how we were going to handle it.”
A total of 400 students had arrived that night and Romero, who is also bilingual, came and stayed until after sunset and “until the last student left,” sometime after 10 p.m.
“He did it on his own and he stayed the whole time and he never said anything about the time or the hour, he just did it, he stayed with us and he was talking to kids and he had just started here,” Escobar said.
Superintendent Nagler also noted Romero advocation for three unnamed students who were facing issues, saying “that’s who you want advocating for kids. He impressed me greatly with his commitment, his knowledge of the kids, his knowledge of the families, his ability to communicate with the families and for the betterment of the situation and for these students.”