2018 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Dr. Mara Bollettieri
In her nine years as Deputy Superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, Dr. Mara Bollettieri has proven herself to be a true educational leader. She is a staunch advocate of the New York State Dignity Act, which provides all public school students with a safe and supportive environment that is free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. As the district’s Dignity Act Coordinator, she has contributed significantly to remarkable programs that redefine the concepts of character education and community outreach.
Dr. Bollettieri is the driving force behind the district’s Student Ambassador Program, which unites all six schools in the philosophy, “One Voice, One Message.” She spearheaded the design, creation and implementation of the program — now in its fifth year — with the intention of bringing students together on the vital issues of our time. Each quarter, students gather and coordinate efforts to address critical challenges, both globally and locally. Student Ambassadors have collaborated to raise awareness about a variety of problems ranging from racism to poverty.
One of the major initiatives undertaken by the Student Ambassadors is to tackle poverty right here at home. The Community Cupboard is devoted to providing life necessities to those in need in the Bellmore and Merrick communities, one family at a time. The Cupboard currently provides food, toiletries, household items and even pet needs to more than 40 local families, and that number continues to grow. Every week, educators and students work together to stock the Cupboard’s shelves, pack supplies and solicit donations from every corner of the community. Through their good work, the Ambassadors encouraged the Stop and Shop supermarket chain to make the Cupboard its primary pantry for the holiday season.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Dr. Bollettieri says of her calling, both as deputy superintendent and as an educator in general. “Every day I come in and work my hardest for kids; I give it my all. My fellow Bellmore-Merrick educators feel the same. They love children and truly believe in them. I feel blessed to be in a place that has such exceptional people with unbelievable ideas, big hearts and tremendous work ethics. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.”