2007 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Frederick W. Breithut
Founder and president
School-Business Partnerships of Long Island
An accomplished educator with close to 60 years experience, Fred Breithut was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. where he received his earlier education; he graduated from Flushing High School in Queens. After serving three years in the U.S. Navy in World War II, Breithut attended Cornell, Adelphi, Columbia and Hofstra Universities.
Breithut started his education career in 1950 serving as social studies teacher, department chairman and administrator in several Long Island schools. Following his retirement in 1984, Breithut founded School- Business Partnerships of Long Island, SBPLI. He remains president to this day. Breithut’s brainchild is the first organization of its kind to partner schools with Long Island business and community organizations to assist students toward definite career paths.
During the past 20 years, more than 200 partnerships have been formed in some 60 school districts. Equally impressive is the fact that more than 30,000 students have benefited from internships, jobs and other opportunities with participating companies. As a result of these partnerships, many schools have changed their curricula and introduced new courses of study aimed at producing a smarter workforce for Long Island companies.
In 1998, Breithut introduced the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics program to the region’s schools. FIRST was initiated to “transform culture, making science, math, engineering and technology ‘cool’ for students who are mentored by engineers and scientists from the business community” as they design and build their 130-pound robots for an annual competition against other school districts. The program began with eight school districts in 1999 – since then, it has grown to more than 40 schools. An added component of this effort is that through the program more than $1,000,000 in college scholarships has been awarded to participating students, who upon graduation are accepted into entrylevel engineering positions with Long Island sponsoring companies. As Breithut says, “It’s a perfect circle…We start students in the right direction in high school, help them through college with scholarships and they return to engineering careers with local companies.”
Breithut says the “Education Partner” award belongs equally to his board and advisory council members. “It is without a doubt, the greatest group of productive, fun-loving folks that anyone could have to support this wonderful program. I am forever grateful to them for their enthusiastic work ethic and dedication.”