2019 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Meadowbrook Alternative Program
As Principal of Bellmore-Merrick’s Meadowbrook Alternative Program (MAP), Susan Ellinghaus ensures that students who are unable to flourish in a traditional classroom setting have a chance to succeed. Under her leadership, MAP has become one of the most successful programs of its kind on Long Island. That is because Ms. Ellinghaus is committed to giving students and staff alike whatever they need to achieve their greatest potential.
MAP offers a supportive school environment that nurtures students physically, socially and emotionally, creating a safe space where they know they are valued. In her role as principal, Ms. Ellinghaus makes the time to sit with each student individually, discussing everything from what schedule works best to issues they may be having at school. The program boasts nearly 200 graduates, many of whom visit regularly. Alumni take great pride in their alma mater and are happy to be part of the MAP family.
She is equally committed to her staff, working closely with them to determine what is needed to help students become the most successful. She is also happy to lend her expertise to other districts working toward launching their own alternative programs, who seek her guidance based on MAP’s success.
Ms. Ellinghaus describes herself as an unlikely educator, though her path inevitably led her through the Long Island educational community to her current position. After serving as a substitute teacher in East Islip and Syosset, she joined the Uniondale school district as a full-time faculty member. She came to Bellmore-Merrick in the same capacity.
“Susan Ellinghaus is more that just a principal,” wrote her award nominator. “She embodies all the characteristics of an incredible leader. Rather than sitting at her desk in her office, she takes the extra time to see, hear and connect with the students and staff. She continually thinks outside the box and adapts to provide what is needed most, and her intuition is always on target. Susan has made a tremendous impact on education in the Bellmore-Merrick schools.”