Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education reorganizes for a new school year


It was more of the same for the Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education at their annual reorganization meeting and board president Mitchell Greebel thinks that is a positive.

Board members Mitchell Greebel and Daniella Simon were officially sworn in for a three-year term in the July 2 meeting at the Woodmere Education Center after being the two highest vote getters in the May election. Greebel, who has been on the board since 2013, was also sworn in for another term as board president. Melissa Gates was sworn in for another term as vice president.

Greebel believes having familiar faces in similar places is good for the school district. “I think continuity on the board is important for the people of the district,” Greebel said. “It makes them more comfortable having the familiarity with the board members.”

Having support from her fellow trustees means a lot to Gates, she said. “It’s nice to have the confidence of your fellow board members,” Gates said on remaining the vice president. “I work very hard for the community and I look to forward to continuing to do so.” She will be up for re-election in 2021.

Greebel and Gates were both elected as president and vice president for the first-time last year and have been board members for six and seven years, respectively. Greebel pointed out that they worked together before joining the board. “I previously worked with Melissa on the PTA Central Council and we work well together,” he said. “She’s such a phenomenal resource to this community.”

Simon said she wants to continue being a supporter of all the stakeholders in the district. “I want to continue to advocate for the whole community,” she said. “I love how this board represents the students and I hope we keep doing that.”

Simon highlighted Homework Helpers, a program she helped put in place this past school year that has Franklin, Hewlett and Ogden elementary school students receiving help from teachers after school as an example of that advocacy.

New Trustee Paul Critti was elected and sworn in on May 28 when he garnered the third highest vote total behind Simon and Greebel. He replaced Scott McInnes who steeped down when he moved out of the district. Critti is completing the unexpired term and could run for a full three-year term in 2020.

Critti said that his transition to joining the board has gone well. “I’ve found the transition to be fairly easy for me,” he said. “I’ve been involved with the district for the past nine years and have attended many board meetings during that time so I’ve had plenty of interactions with my fellow board members.” Critti served as the president of the school district’s Special Education PTA for the past four years.

Critti’s dedication to his new position has impressed Greebel. “I’ve been extremely pleased with Paul so far,” Greebel said. “I believe that it takes a good part of your first term to get acclimated to the board, but Paul has come in with the right frame of mind.”

The Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education’s next meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 5 p.m., at the Woodmere Education Center, at 1 Johnson Place in Woodmere.