Return to Headlines

Presenting the 2020 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award honorees

Nassau BOCES Education Partner Awards logo

Sixteen lauded for outstanding contributions to education

This spring, Nassau BOCES will honor 15 individuals and one organization that have had a profound effect on public education in Nassau County. The Nassau BOCES Education Partner Awards program pays tribute to outstanding educational leaders, organizations, school administrators, school board members, staff, students, teachers, Nassau BOCES employees and other champions of education.

This year's honorees will receive their awards at the 14th Annual Education Partner Awards Gala on March 31, 2020. The gala is sponsored by the Nassau BOCES Educational Foundation, an independent, non-profit, community-based organization. Its purpose is to acquire and distribute funds to enhance educational opportunities for all students who attend or take part in Nassau BOCES schools, services or programs. The Foundation supports initiatives that are beyond the scope of the agency's budget.

During the past 14 years, nearly 150 individuals have been honored with the Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award, which recognizes those who have made a substantial impact on public education in Nassau County. A strategic education partner with local school districts since 1967, Nassau BOCES created the award to pay tribute to those who share its commitment to enabling students of all ages and abilities to achieve their maximum potential.

"Each year, it is our distinct honor to recognize and congratulate our Education Partner awardees," said Nassau BOCES Board President Susan Bergtraum, on behalf of the agency. "We are impressed with the quality of the honorees selected for the 2020 awards. They share our commitment to create the safest and best educational environments where all students can thrive. As always, we are grateful for your support of our students and programs."

Following are the 2020 Education Partner Awards honorees, by category:

 Paul Defendini, Superintendent, Farmingdale UFSD
 Dr. Joseph Famularo, Superintendent, Bellmore UFSD
 Arnold Goldstein, Mentor, Educational Leadership Institute; Board Member, Nassau BOCES Educational Foundation
 Dr. Dominick Palma, Superintendent, Merrick UFSD
 Efthymia Rafaelides, Supervisor of Guidance, K-12, Hicksville UFSD
Dr. Eustace Thompson, Professor, Hofstra University School of Education

Christopher Korolczuk, Principal, Nassau BOCES Center for Community Adjustment
Patrick A. Silvestri, Assistant Principal, Nassau BOCES Adult Education, ESL (English as a Second Language) & HSE (High School Equivalency) programs
James Widmer, Associate Superintendent for Business Services, Nassau BOCES

Long Island Children’s Museum, Suzanne LeBlanc, President

Keith Gamache, President, Board of Education, East Rockaway UFSD
Vilma Lancaster, Vice President, Board of Education, Freeport UFSD
Eric B. Schultz, Immediate Past President/Current Trustee, Nassau BOCES

Kassidy Rieder, Theatre Student, Nassau BOCES Long Island High School for the Arts, Lindenhurst UFSD

Daniel M. Christoffel, Retired Art Educator, Bellmore-Merrick CHSD; Professor of Fine Arts, Long Island University
Andrea Mortillaro, Special Education Teacher, Wisdom Lane Middle School, Levittown UFSD

For additional information about the Nassau BOCES Education Partner awards, including profiles of prior year honorees, please visit