Celebrating Two Decades of Dedication


Twenty-year veterans throughout the district were honored for their continued service and commitment at the Board of Education’s February meeting.

During the special ceremony, school principals and department chairpersons spoke about each of the honored guests. The honorees received a plaque and commemorative school district pin from Board President Michael Pomerico and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham. Dr. Kuncham, who was also recognized for his 20 years of service, was presented with a plaque and school district pin by the Board.

“We’re here to celebrate your excellence, which is displayed every single day,” Dr. Kuncham said. “We thank you for your hard work and dedication, no matter what role you play. All of this district’s success happens because of you, and you’re an inspiration to everyone around you.”


Tracy Filipowski: A product of the district herself, Tracy teaches kindergarten. She has also worked at FHS and Archer.

Karen Haynes: Karen works with Tracy as a co-teacher and focuses on special education. She has degrees in elementary education, special education and reading.

Donna Henshaw: Donna began her career teaching special education at Columbus. She then spent 16 years at Giblyn teaching grades one through four, before returning to Columbus three years ago.

Karen Lettsome: Karen began teaching in New York City, and has taught third grade at Archer since 1994.

Mary Garguilo: Mary has been the assistant principal at Archer since 2008. She began her career as a teacher’s assistant at Columbus and taught grades one through four at Giblyn before moving on to Archer.

Patricia Wesselhoft: Patricia is one of Archer’s kitchen workers.

Anita Stevenson: Anita teaches first grade at Giblyn, where she has taught since 2010. She started her career at Columbus.

New Visions:
Blanca Alvarado: Blanca has been a teacher’s assistant in the district for 20 years, 15 of which were spent at Columbus, and has been at New Visions since 2013. She has also worked at Bayview.

Carol Byrne: Carol has been at Dodd since 1991, having started as a substitute teacher. She teaches seventh and eighth grade.

Lina Rivera-Santana: Lina has worked at Atkinson, Giblyn and Archer prior to coming to Dodd, where she has been for three years. She works with the school’s bilingual students.

Sandra Paulik: Sandra has taught math at Dodd since 1993. While earning her graduate degree at Hofstra, she was a teacher’s assistant at Dodd, as well as a volunteer at Archer.

Cynthia Vanager-McManus: Cynthia began her teaching career at Columbus before coming to Dodd six years ago.

Gabrielle Mangot: Gabrielle taught in Baldwin before coming to Dodd in 1993 as an ESL teacher.

Mario Salcedo: Mario has been a guidance counselor at Dodd since 1994.

Freeport High School:
Gisselle Campbell-Ham: Gisselle is the assistant principal for the Class of 2016 at Freeport High School. She began her work in the district in 1993 as a substitute teacher at Dodd.

Sarah Collins-Malese: Sarah is the head nurse at Freeport High School and oversees the nursing staff throughout the district. She began her career at Columbus.

Richard Johnson: Richard began his career in Albany in 1987, where he taught technology. He taught middle  and high school technology in Uniondale before coming to the district in 1994.

Emma Perdomo: Emma taught Spanish in Brentwood before joining the Freeport High School staff in 1994, first as a Spanish teacher and then as a guidance counselor. She is the chairperson of the school’s guidance department.

Business Office:
Deborah Keane: Deborah began her career as a teacher’s assistant in 1994, and is the senior account clerk at the district business office.

Lisa Bonacci: Lisa began working in the district in 1994 as an account clerk, then became senior account clerk before her current role as deputy treasurer.

Assistant Superintendent’s Office:
Kathleen Notheis: Kathleen works with Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Dr. Mary Bediako and helps district teachers acquire their various certifications.

Superintendent of Schools:
Dr. Kuncham came to the district in 1994, where he served as Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent before becoming Superintendent. His accomplishments include a district bond rating that has risen to among the highest in the State and a graduation rate has soared to 83%, the highest graduation rate ever in the history of Freeport.  He was also instrumental in the opening of the first Magnet Schools on Long Island, the design and opening of a new state of the art elementary school, the cultivation of a science research program that has resulted in two years of Intel/Siemens winners - a record in the history of Freeport, a complete re-structuring of the district’s pre-kindergarten program, and the opening of a new high school athletic complex including an all-weather track and synthetic turf field with lighting at no additional cost to taxpayers.