William Floyd Board of Education members Jeananne Dawson and Robert Vecchio have been selected as the recipients of two Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association (N-SSBA) awards for dedicated and distinguished service to their districts and community, respectively. Both will be honored at the N-SSBA 59th annual dinner meeting on Wednesday, May 29.
“On behalf of the William Floyd School District, I would like to congratulate Mrs. Dawson and Mr. Vecchio on these well-deserved honors. We are fortunate to have a seven-member Board of Education, led by these two amazing advocates, who continually place the needs of our students and community first,” said Kevin M. Coster, Superintendent of Schools, William Floyd School District. “Under their stewardship, our district has achieved new heights in student success and programmatic offerings while putting forth responsible budgets that are sensitive to the needs of our residents.”
Jeananne Dawson, who serves as vice president of the Board of Education, will receive the “Dedicated School Board Service Award” for her 40 years of dedicated and distinguished service to the William Floyd community as a Board member. This award is given to a Board trustee with at least 24 years of dedicated board service. Fellow trustee April Coppola, who nominated Mrs. Dawson for this honor, described her as a role model and mentor who always puts William Floyd’s students first. In her nomination letter she wrote, “I admire Mrs. Dawson because she raised a family and worked a paying job, all while continuing the good fight to make sure William Floyd students get what they need, but most of all what they deserve.”
A resident of the community since 1975 who joined the Board of Education in 1979, Mrs. Dawson had the pleasure of putting two children through the William Floyd School District: her son, Mark, Class of 1991, and her daughter, Michelle, Class of 1994. During her tenure, Mrs. Dawson has overseen many accomplishments including helping to create a growing sense of vision and community; advances in curriculum and consistent growth in academic progress; a brand new Career and Technical Education program with a plethora of offerings; new in-house alternative programs (Floyd Academy and William Floyd Learning Center); the overwhelming approval (91.2%) of the forthcoming $39.4 million capital project; a graduation rate on an upward trajectory (86% in August 2018); an increased Moody’s Financial Services bond rating signifying the sound fiscal operations of the district; and numerous school and individual student accomplishments.
Additionally, Mrs. Dawson has served as the tournament coordinator for the annual William Floyd Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament over the past 22 years, an event hosted by Century 21 Cor-Ace Realty, which raises money for scholarships for graduating William Floyd High School seniors. Since its inception, this scholarship tournament has raised more than $520,000 for deserving students.
Robert Vecchio, president of the William Floyd Board of Education, will receive the “Distinguished Service Award, which is granted to an individual in recognition for outstanding leadership in a school district, and on a larger scale, effecting positive impact on public education as a whole. Fellow trustee Lorraine Mentz nominated Mr. Vecchio, who has served on the Board of Education for 16 years – the last 13 as its president. His two children also graduated from William Floyd schools – Amanda, Class of 2011, and Robert, Class of 2014.
Trustee Mentz described Mr. Vecchio as a mentor – someone who has invested a lot of time in new school board members to help them transition into their roles. In her nomination letter Trustee Mentz wrote, “Mr. Vecchio is an outstanding leader who exemplifies and honors the commitment of school board members across Long Island and New York State…he has always been an amazing advocate for public education and for all students. He is committed to our community and our school district.”
In addition to overseeing the district on its upward trajectory including the increasing graduation rate, increased Moody’s bond rating, introduction of new programs such as CTE, the Floyd Academy and the William Floyd Learning Center, as well as the capital project, Mr. Vecchio has been the driving force behind the creation of the “Our Community Salutes” Military Enlistee Recognition Program that honors graduating high school seniors who have enlisted in the Armed Forces for the service that they are about to undertake. In its first four years, Our Community Salutes Brookhaven Town has honored more than 110 students for enlisting into the armed services after graduation. The organization’s fifth recognition dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, May 15.
Since 2015, Mr. Vecchio has hosted the “Spotlight on Long Island Schools” program airing Saturday mornings on LI News Radio 103.9, focusing on the positive things happening in schools across Long Island. He is a prominent voice for the William Floyd school community, and education as a whole, to elected officials on the local, state and federal levels.
Throughout his Board service, Mr. Vecchio has served as a legislative and executive committee member of the Nassau-Suffolk School Board Association and led the district in joining the Statewide School Finance Consortium, a group dedicated to securing equitable funding for NYS public schools. He was the inaugural recipient of the New York State School Boards Association “Champion for Change” award in 2015, an award honoring an “outstanding school board president for his/her efforts on behalf of students and the community.” Additionally, he serves as a member of the Brookhaven Town Board Ethics Committee and a Board Trustee for St. Jude’s Roman Catholic Church.
The N-SSBA has a membership of 109 Long Island school boards with a mission of advancing education and service to its member boards.