niyan is a second-grade student at Maurice W. Downing Primary School.

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Dolapo Ola She loves to dance and she earns good grades in school.

Top Fundraiser

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Molly Matthaei, a fifth-grade student at Davison Avenue, was a top fundraiser in the district’s 2015 Relay for Life fundraiser. This year, Molly is well on her way to achieving the same goal, having raised more than $2,100 to date. She secures donations by standing outside grocery stores on the weekends with her dad and speaking at church masses. Her efforts also include a $1,000 donation from the Michelle O’Neil Foundation for her cause this year.

Malverne Principal Promoted to Assistant Superintendent

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At the April 19 Board Meeting, the Malverne Board of Education appointed Mr. Steven Gilhuley, Howard T. Herber Middle School Principal, to the position of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Educational Services, effective Aug. 26, 2016. Mr. Gilhuley will replace Ms. Rose Linda Ricca, who will be retiring after 29 years of exemplary service to the Malverne School District.

Mr. Gilhuley has been the principal of Howard T. Herber Middle School for the past nine years, prior to which he was assistant principal for three years. Under his leadership, the middle school has seen many positive changes including academic improvement and motivational initiatives. Utilizing a collaborative approach, Mr. Gilhuley’s leadership was focused upon a cooperative effort by teachers, parents and school-community to create a culture of high expectations and achievements for all students and staff members.

With more than 20 years of education experience, Mr. Gilhuley has developed several initiatives, such as Project Dream and the SAT program, which have been instrumental in the improvement of student achievement as well as students’ personal goals and aspirations. Today, Howard T. Herber Middle School students achieve honor roll in record numbers and enthusiastically volunteer for an unprecedented number of community service activities. In addition, the majority attain several high school Regents credits while in Middle School.

Over the years, Mr. Gilhuley has been honored with many prestigious awards, including being named the 2006 Phi Delta Kappa, Hofstra University Chapter, Educator of the Year. He was named Educator of the Week by WLNY-TV in 2007, which was the same year that Howard T. Herber Middle School received Blue Ribbon recognition. Most recently, Mr. Gilhuley was awarded the 2011 School Administrator Leadership Award by the Academy for Character Education at The Sage Colleges.

Mr. Gilhuley received his Bachelor’s Degree in industrial relations from the University of North Carolina, his Master’s Degree in special education from LIU Post, and his Administrative Degree at the College of New Rochelle. He currently resides in Hicksville with his wife and three children.

“I’m honored to be promoted to this critical leadership position,” Mr. Gilhuley said. “My long-term dedication to the students in this district and school-community is unwavering. I’m excited to join the Central Office Leadership Team and contribute to the future success of our school district.”

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Ranked by The Washington Post

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Malverne High School has once again been ranked as one of America's Most Challenging High Schools! Each year, The Washington Post conducts the America's Most Challenging High Schools competition. The challenge ranks schools through an index formula utilizing the number of Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. In order to be ranked, schools must have a ratio of 1.0. This year our index is 2.11 a notable increase from our 1.26 index in 2013.

Board Recognition

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As part of the April 12 Board of Education meeting, several students and one guidance counselor were recognized for recent awards. Included in the recognition was Krystal Ebron with a winning pin design, first- and third-place winners at a recent film festival and guidance counselor Donna Bailey recognized by the NAACP as a Key Woman of America.

Ivy League Acceptances

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Congratulations to Class of 2016 Salutatorian Ashley Akaeze for being accepted to the following colleges: Princeton, New York University’s Honors Program, Harvard, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Stanford, Amherst College, Macaulay Honors College, CUNY Brooklyn, Baruch and the City College of New York. Although undecided on where she will ultimately be going in the fall, Ashley is honored to have so many from which to choose.

Save the Date! Relay for Life May 13, 2016 6-10PM

The Malverne Community will be hosting its 6th annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life this May!

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing, intergenerational event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the challenges a cancer diagnosis brings.

Please join with your families, friends, and neighbors as Malverne helps the American Cancer Society FINISH THE FIGHT against cancer!

Join us on Friday May 13, 2016 from 6pm-10pm at the Malverne High School Track!

Relay For Life is a community event that celebrates the lives of cancer survivors, remembers those we have lost & fights back against this disease!

You can sign up for Relay For Life today: www.relayforlife.org/malverneny (registration is COMPLETELY FREE!)

Hope to see you there!

First Place Film

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Congratulations to junior James Phillips whose two films placed first in the Locust Valley High School’s 12th annual Film Festival. He placed for his PSA video, as well as a music video he directed and filmed. Junior Tejon Wright, who acted in one of James’ winning films, also placed first in the acting category.

Best Community for Music Education

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The Malverne School District has been selected as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in America for 2016 for the third consecutive year.

This designation was given to 476 districts nationwide by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, which helped to put together a survey that was completed by thousands of districts across the country. The districts were measured across curricular and programmatic criteria, as well as through public support of their music programs, and only the top-rated districts were chosen.

Participants in the survey answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, course offerings, extra and co-curricular opportunities, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and other relevant factors in their communities’ music education programs.

Congratulations to the entire district music staff on this incredible honor.

Standout Student: Jesse Pace

Malverne District, Administrators Awarded a Second Favorable Verdict

The Malverne Union Free School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Hunderfund and Malverne High School Principal Dr. Vincent Romano received a verdict in their favor by a federal jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip on March 16. The jury rendered a complete verdict for defendants in the case brought against them by plaintiff Sherwyn Besson.

Mr. Besson sued the district, superintendent, high school principal and assistant high school principal, claiming discrimination against him on the basis of his race by assigning him daily administrative duties while exempting some other teachers and retaliating against him for criticizing Superintendent Hunderfund at an October 2009 Board of Education meeting by reducing his position to part-time during school year 2011/2012.

The eight-person jury was asked to determine whether the District and its administrators’ actions violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws and federal laws prohibiting violations of the First Amendment. The jury unanimously found that the defendants did not discriminate against Mr. Besson on the basis of his race when determining his administrative assignments. The jury also unanimously found that Mr. Besson’s 2009 speech was not a motivating factor in the decision to reduce his position to part-time during school year 2011/2012.

Mr. Besson’s case is the second of three cases originally brought in one action by Betsy Benedith, Kenneth Smith and Sherwyn Besson, former employees of Malverne. On Aug. 15, 2014, the Honorable Arthur D. Spatt severed the three cases and dismissed several of the claims. On Dec. 9, 2015, following a trial, a jury unanimously found in favor of the District, Superintendent Hunderfund and Assistant Superintendent Rose Linda Ricca on Mr. Smith’s claims of discrimination.

The case was tried in three days before United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack. The lawyer who represented Sherwyn Besson was Jonathan A. Tand, Esq. of Garden City, New York. The District and its administrators were represented by Melissa L. Holtzer and Susan H. Odessky of Sokoloff Stern, LLP of Carle Place, New York.

“We are gratified that the jury has confirmed what the Board and administration always knew – this was a clear decision based upon seniority, with no other personal factors at play,” said Dr. Hunderfund.

The case filed by Betsy Benedith is still pending.

Friday, April 29, 2016