The seven volunteer members of the Huntington School Board were recognized this past Monday night by a group of exceptional Huntington High School students, who saluted the trustees’ service to the community and their commitment to the academic and co-curricular programs that are the hallmark of the district.
The Huntington School Board has set the tax rate for 2019/20 after receiving final assessed valuation figures from the town assessor.
Huntington School Board members voted without opposition to adopt a set of nine goals for the district during the 2019/20 school year. Trustees took the action during their meeting last Monday night in the Adam Spector Memorial Auditorium at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
The members of the Huntington School Board are elected by the residents of the community to manage and oversee all aspects of the district’s educational program, personnel, properties and financial affairs. Trustees serve three year terms without any form of compensation. Members develop an annual budget and submit the proposal to voters for approval. They appoint administrators to conduct the day-to-day affairs of the district, faculty to provide instruction and support staff to ensure the smooth operation of the school system.
State Education Law grants school board members the authority to enact the policies and regulations they feel are necessary to fulfill their responsibilities and to provide students with the education they are legally entitled to and deserve. The school board’s oversight responsibilities include the admission of students, instruction, discipline, grading, classification of special education students, appointing and managing all employees, entering into contracts, purchasing, leasing, maintenance of buildings, property, equipment and supplies and every other area of district operation.
School board members meet regularly in executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters and in public to receive reports from officials, discuss policies and attend to the district’s financial and educational affairs. An agenda is published prior public meetings and residents are provided an opportunity to address trustees. Detailed minutes of each meeting are kept by the district clerk.
The school board is entrusted with the ultimate responsibility for the proper education of all young people within the district who are enrolled in the public school system and in safeguarding the financial and material resources provided by residents through the years.
Jennifer Hebert was re-elected in May 2017 to serve her third three-year term on the Huntington School Board. Her fellow trustees elected her as president of the Board of Education in each of the past two years after she previously served as vice president for four years. She has an extensive background in education as a teacher and parent volunteer.
Mrs. Hebert and her husband, Jamie have lived in Huntington for 22 years. Together they have a son in his sophomore year at Huntington High School; a son who is a sophomore at Bentley University and a third son who is in his senior year at Johns Hopkins University.
A Long Island native, Mrs. Hebert graduated from the East Williston School District in 1986. She attended Tufts University in Boston, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1990 and a Master of Arts in Teaching in 1991.
Prior to moving back to Long Island from New England, Mrs. Hebert worked as a public school kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts for several years. She is currently the director of the pre-school program at St. John’s Nursery School in Huntington village. She has devoted countless volunteer hours to the Huntington School District as a PTA president and treasurer and as a district trustees.
Mrs. Hebert has also served on the district’s Long Range Planning Committee and regularly attended Board of Education meetings prior to her election. As a trustee, she has served on the district’s audit committee.
Mrs. Hebert is widely known as a creative thinker who enjoys learning about all aspects of the district and its educational program and listening to all sides of every issue. She is particularly passionate about public school education and believes the learning experience offered to Huntington students should be among the finest in the nation.
Christine Biernacki was re-elected in May 2018 to serve a second three year term on the Huntington School Board. Her fellow trustees elected her as vice president of the Board of Education for 2019/20. She is a longtime volunteer in the Huntington School District, including serving as the PTA Council’s president.
Raised in the town of Huntington, Mrs. Biernacki attended school in South Huntington. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and a Juris Doctor from the Hofstra University School of Law. She is a partner in a New York City law firm.
Mrs. Biernacki and her husband, who is a 1983 graduate of Huntington High School, live with their two children in Halesite. They have two children attending Huntington High School, including a daughter who is a junior and a son, who is in his freshman year.
Over the years, Mrs. Biernacki has served on the district Safety and Shared Decision Making Committees and on the Committee for Special Education.
Mrs. Biernacki’s service to the community’s children predates the start of her own family. She served president of the Huntington Sanctuary Project’s advisory board. Mrs. Biernacki and her husband offered their house as a host home for Sanctuary, opening their doors to runaway youth so that the families could participate in mediation to resolve their issues and bring the youngster home.
Mrs. Biernacki has also served as president of the Town of Huntington’s Youth Bureau Board. She was recognized for her work with runaway and homeless youth by the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus and the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services.
A longtime attendee of Huntington School Board meetings, forums and conferences, Mrs. Biernacki has become well versed in many education issues. She has advocated for reforms in school aid, teacher evaluation and special education, among other areas. She comes from a family filled with educators and strives to work in a manner that will honor that tradition.
Tom DiGiacomo was re-elected in May 2018 to serve his third three year term on the Huntington School Board. His fellow trustees chose him to serve a three year stint as Board of Education president.
A 1979 Huntington High School graduate, Mr. DiGiacomo’s family has been involved in the district for three generations. He holds an Associate’s degree in business from SUNY Farmingdale and has a professional background in the technology field, providing solutions for businesses ranging in size from small to Fortune 50.
Mr. DiGiacomo’s experience includes project and budget management, finance and implementing technology solutions. As the Northeast regional director of sales for a global technology firm, he was responsible for six regional offices and management of a $100 million budget. He is currently the director of sales for a Long Island based firm that provides the federal government with products and solutions.
Mr. DiGiacomo and his wife, Nancy are the parents of a son in his sophomore year at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Prior to his election as a trustee, he has regularly attended Huntington School Board meetings, served as an active PTA member and co-chaired the district’s Shared Decision-Making Committee.
Mr. DiGiacomo strives to utilize his background in business and technology solutions, along with a balanced approach to problem solving, to contribute to making the district the finest it can be.
The DiGiacomo family has deep roots in the community. Mr. DiGiacomo’s father, Al, was a member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1941. Al DiGiacomo was the architect that designed the replacement for Roosevelt School on Lowndes Avenue. The new building was eventually named Huntington Elementary School and today serves the district as Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
During his time as a trustee, Mr. DiGiacomo has been a member of the district’s audit and policy committees. He also helped rejuvenate the Huntington Alumni Association and served as the organization’s president.
William P. Dwyer was first elected to the Huntington School Board in May 2008. His fellow trustees selected him to serve as the Board of Education president on three separate occasions. After leaving the Board for two years, he was again elected in May 2013, May 2016 and May 2019 for three-year terms.
Mr. Dwyer and his wife Karen are the parents of three sons who are all Huntington High School graduates.
Mr. Dwyer, who grew up in Middlebury, Connecticut, earned a B.S. degree in mathematics at Providence College and a second B.S. degree in mechanical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He obtained a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Widely known as Bill, Mr. Dwyer worked for Northrop Grumman for nine years, performing aerodynamic design and analysis using computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel testing with six of those years spent working in southern California and three in Bethpage.
In his time with Northrop Grumman, Mr. Dwyer rose from an entry level engineer position to that of group leader, winning several NASA contracts for aerodynamic design tasks on the next generation supersonic commercial airplane.
Mr. Dwyer left the aerospace industry to join a health publishing company in New York City, assuming responsibility for its networking, website and communications infrastructure, eventually rising to the post of vice-president of operations. After eight years he decided to start his own publishing company, which focused on producing patient education materials to aid in chronic disease management and developing unique community outreach programs.
Mr. Dwyer is currently employed as an account executive for an educational technology company based in Hauppauge, working with school districts throughout the Northeast to help them maximize their investment in software to benefit their operations.
As a participating member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Huntington Village Lacrosse Club, Mr. Dwyer has been active in the community.
Michele Kustera was elected to the Huntington School Board in May 2019. She has lived in Huntington with her husband, Dave for 16 years. Together they have a daughter in her sophomore year at Huntington High School and a daughter who is a seventh grader at J. Taylor Finley Middle School.
A Long Island native, Mrs. Kustera is a graduate of W.C. Mepham High School in Bellmore. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing at St. John’s University in 1987.
Prior to moving to Huntington, Mrs. Kustera resided in Alexandria, Virginia, working with professional associations as a consultant implementing technology systems. She returned to New York in 1997 and worked in New York City for the Direct Marketing Association and the American Institute of CPA’s as technology/project director.
Mrs. Kustera has volunteered and raised money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation Team Fox by running the New York City marathon twice. She has served on the district’s Long Range Planning Committee and Food Allergy Committee.
A longtime member of district PTA organizations, Mrs. Kustera was serving as the PTA Council president at the time of her election as a trustee.
Xavier Palacios was elected to a third term on the Huntington School Board in May 2017. He has enjoyed a long association with the district.
A member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1988, Mr. Palacios earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University and a Juris Doctor at Boston University’s School of Law. He is the owner and managing partner of a Mineola-based law firm.
Mr. Palacios and his wife, Laura have three children, including a daughter who was a member of Huntington’s Class of 2016 and who is now a University of Pennsylvania senior; and two daughters in the fourth and sixth grades, respectively at Woodhull Intermediate School. Both of the younger children are in dual language classes.
In 2008, Mr. Palacios purchased and renovated a distressed property in Huntington Station where he established a satellite law office along with a community revitalization non-profit organization.
Mentoring has been a priority throughout Mr. Palacios’ life. At Columbia, he taught SAT prep and biology courses to inner city students. He has continued mentoring young people and families in the community and encouraged parents to be actively involved in their child’s education. He has been recognized for his work in the community and his efforts to strengthen opportunities for young people.
Mr. Palacios volunteered to serve as the high school mock trial team’s legal advisor, training students in the art of courtroom skills and strategies. The countless hours of preparation culminated last spring with Huntington winning the Suffolk mock trial championship and finishing ranked No. 3 at the state finals in 2018.
Mr. Palacios has also worked behind the scenes with coaches and athletes to help spur participation and promote excellence in the Blue Devil athletic program.
During his time on the Huntington School Board, Mr. Palacios has strived to be a problem-solver and to use his legal expertise to contribute to solutions regarding pressing issues facing students, teachers and taxpayers.
Lynda Tine-D’Anna was elected to the Huntington School Board in May 2018. A lifelong resident of the town, she has lived in Huntington village for the past 22 years.
Mrs. Tine-D’Anna graduated from Commack South High School and went on to obtain an undergraduate degree cum laude in romance languages at Dowling College and a master’s degree in Italian literature at Stony Brook University.
Mrs. Tine-D’Anna and her husband, Nick are the parents of three children currently attending district schools, including a high school senior and sophomore and a J. Taylor Finley Middle School eighth grader. A daughter is a college sophomore. Three of the children are graduates of the district’s dual-language program.
A world language teacher in the Syosset school district since 1993, Mrs. Tine-D’Anna has also served in many professional leadership roles, including as a member of the high school steering committee for the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence application process, chair of the district’s Middle State Accreditation Evaluation Committee and as founding member of the high school’s professional development program.
Mrs. Tine-D’Anna has served as a Huntington School District Special Education PTA board member and volunteer. She is a founding member and former president of a local non-profit focused on advocacy and education. As a parent of four children with diverse abilities and strengths, she has seen Huntington UFSD help each of them learn, grow and thrive.
Audio file for the October 21, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the September 24, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the September 9, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the August 26, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the August 5, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the July 8, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the June 4, 2019 BOE Meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the May 13, 2019 BOE Meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the April 15, 2019 BOE Meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the April 8, 2019 BOE Meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the March 25, 2019 BOE Meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the March 11, 2019 BOE Budget Workshop. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the February 25, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the February 4, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the January 7, 2019 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the December 10, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the November 13, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the October 15, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the October 1, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the September 17, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the August 27, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the August 6, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the July 9, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the June 4, 2018 Board of Education Meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the May 7, 2018 Budget Hearing Meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the April 16, 2018 Budget Adoption Meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the April 9, 2018 BOE Meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the March 26, 2018 BOE Extended Budget Workshop. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the March 19, 2018 BOE special meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the March 12, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the February 26, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the February 5, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the January 8, 2018 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the December 11, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the November 13, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the October 16, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the September 26, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the September 11, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available.
Audio file for the August 28, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the August 7, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
Audio file for the July 11, 2017 BOE meeting. Closed captions are available
All public session meetings start at 7:30 p.m. and are held in the Adam Spector Auditorium at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School, except for the August* meetings which start at 7 p.m.
For more information, please contact Joanne Miranda, District Clerk.