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Teachers granted tenure in Malverne


Eight teachers in the Malverne School District were granted tenure during the Board of Education’s Sept. 10 meeting. Each recipient, accompanied by family and friends, received a citation and were recognized by their respective principals. An important milestone for any educator, tenure marks a teacher’s commitment to the district and the total success of its students.

“It’s definitely not easy to get tenure in the Malverne School District so you guys have proven to be master teachers,” Malverne High School Principal Dr. Vincent Romano said at the meeting.

Davison Avenue honorees

Five teachers from Davison Avenue Intermediate School were granted tenure. Davison Avenue Principal Rachel Gross, who was on the hiring committee for several of the honorees, recognized each honoree and thanked them for their commitment to the school. Davison Avenue teacher Catina Agosta, who worked at the school for three years, was the first to be recognized.

“You walk into her classroom and there’s a ball of energy,” Gross said of Agosta. “The students are learning and the rigor is through the moon. The students and I adore her.”

A graduate of Malverne High School who also attended Davison, third-grade teacher Casey Schwendel was also honored. She recently took on the role of Integrated Co-Teaching.

“Her classroom is a place of joy, and she is a joy to have in our building,” Gross said.

Special ed. teacher Nyree Francis was recognized for her ability to set a calming mood both in and outside the classroom. “She is someone that will put you at ease,” Gross explained. “She will walk you off a ledge, make you feel comfortable with decisions being made, she has a way with students and she has been a true asset to Davison Avenue.”

Phys. ed. teacher Patricia Desormeau has worked closely with Gross for several years and the two were reunited when she was appointed principal in 2017. “She has brought joy back to our building,” Gross said. “She has brought our Field Day to new heights, she is loved by all and she also throws a great Teacher Appreciation Breakfast.”

Meghan Christensen, who started out as a teaching assistant at Maurice W. Downing Primary School, was recognized for her work in the special ed. department. “She’s been a true asset to Davison and the department at large, and of course to the district and her students,” Gross said.

Howard T. Herber Middle School honorees

Howard T. Herber Middle School Principal Daniel Nehlsen honored special ed. teacher Brittany Brancaccio for her work of helping students to excel in living environment and algebra. Nehlsen said that all of her students passed the rigorous courses in the 2018-19 school year.

“This is a teacher that always says her students can and will,” Nehlsen said of Brancaccio. “She works tirelessly throughout the year and she’s proved that she is part of the Malverne family and the Howard T. Herber family.”

Michael Messina, the district’s chairman of music and fine arts, honored middle school teacher Alyssa Sitler. “She has been invaluable to all levels since the moment we hired her,” Messina said. “I’ve worked with her in the classroom for the last several years and I finally moved so it’s been tough to start this year not being so close to her. She’s done an incredible job for us and she never says ‘no’ to anything.”

Malverne High School honoree

Malverne High School teacher Dr. Michael Cressy, who has worked in the district for the past four years, was honored for helping to improve the school’s programs. Cressy spent the last two summers as a teacher for the school’s Project Lead the Way in biomedical science and human body systems. The program helps students transition from high school to college.

“Here’s a person who served his country for several years after high school in the U.S. Navy, went back to school at Stony Brook University for his doctorate in research and genetics, and worked at the Cold Spring Harbor labs,” Romano said. “Looking at this resume, this is someone of extreme knowledge and passion. One of the things that really struck me after interviewing Dr. Cressy was his passion for science and his genuine care and concern for children. He’s lived up to every word of that expectation.”