2008 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Patrick Halpin

Patrick Halpin

Executive Vice President for External Affairs
Institute for Student Achievement

Relying on the same “can-do” attitude that got him elected as the youngest county executive in Suffolk County history, Patrick Halpin now fights to ensure low- income students receive quality educations. As executive vice president for external affairs for the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA), Halpin spends his day doing what he loves — helping children succeed.

Halpin joined ISA in 1994, using the leadership skills he honed during his years in politics to help the not-for-profit build strong partnerships with struggling school districts. His goal is to create high schools that “work” for all students.

He is most proud of the success in Hempstead, where ISA has helped to reorganize the high school and introduce new programs — including inquiry-based instruction and learning communities — that have led to improved graduation rates.

But the best part, according to Halpin, is seeing how much students have grown academically and emotionally. “It doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It’s almost like turning an ocean liner; the movement is so slow that it’s almost imperceptible at first but eventually there is dramatic improvement.”

Halpin’s dedication to helping others is well documented. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Old Dominion University, he began an extensive career in local and state politics. He was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature for the first time at age 26. He later served three terms as assemblyman for the New York state’s 11th District before returning to the Suffolk legislature.

In 1988, he was elected Suffolk county executive and instituted many initiatives, including the drug education program DARE, a comprehensive anti-domestic violence program, a nationally recognized open-space and environment program, and an extensive homeless housing initiative.

Halpin also hosts Cablevision’s “Meet the Leaders,” a public affairs talk show.