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COMMACK SCHOOL DISTRICT CANDIDATES FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD

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Jarrett Behar

Q. How long have you been a resident of the Commack area?
A. 15 years
 
Q. Do you have now, or have you ever had, any children attend the District public schools?
A. My son Jeffrey is an 8th grader at Commack Middle School and my daughter Mollie is a 4th grader at Sawmill.
 
Q. What is your educational background and current occupation?
A. BA, Political Science, University of Florida ’97, JD, NYU School of Law ‘00. Partner, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, Hauppauge, New York
 
Q. Of what school-related and/or community organizations are you, or have you been, a member?
A.  
Rolling Hills PTA Budget Representative, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15
Rolling Hills PTA Treasurer 2013-14, 2014-15
PTA Council Budget Committee Co-Chair, 2014-15
Commack South Little League Manager 2012 to 2015
Dix Hills Basketball Assistant Coach, 2015
Christ the King Basketball Assistant Coach 2016, 4th Grade Girls Basketball Clinic Head Coach 2021
Commack Basketball Association, K-1 Girls Basketball Clinic Head Coach 2018, 2nd Grade Girls Basketball Clinic Head Coach 2019, Basketball Coach, 2020
Commack Coalition of Caring, Executive Board Member 2016-present
Commack School District Marion Carll Farm Committee Co-Chair/Chair 2017-2019
Commack School District Anti-Vaping Task Force Co-Chair 2019-present
Commack Board of Education Trustee 2015-2017
Commack Board of Education Vice President 2017-present
 
Q. Why do you want to be a member of the Board of Education and what talents (strengths) do you have that would contribute to the Board?
A.  I want to continue be a member of the Board of Education because I love being an advocate for our children and our community.  Being involved with many community groups and organizations has allowed me to get to know different groups of people in our wonderful community and understand the variety of needs that they have.  Having six years of Board experience under my belt has helped me understand what my role is as a Board member and how to utilize that role to ensure that the District is being run in the best interests of our children and our community, and how to best advocate at the local, state, and federal levels on behalf of our District.  I have also learned that the only way to truly understand what the community wants is to be out at various community events and talk to people.  You cannot just believe what you read on social media.  Being involved in so many community activities helps in that regard and allows me to have a good understanding about the feelings of the majority of our community.  I understand that I do not represent myself or a small group of people, but the entire Commack community, and that helps me be a better Board member.
 
Q. How many Board of Education meetings have you attended during the last three years?
A.  I have attended every Board of Education meeting in the last three years in my role as a member of the Board.
 
Q. What do you see as the role of a Board of Education member as part of our district governance team?
A.  The Board of Education is an oversight organization that supervises the District from a high level to ensure that it is providing the best possible education for our children in a manner that is fiscally responsible, thus maximizing the benefit to the Commack community.  A Board member must keep that role in mind at all times and be careful not to engage in micromanagement.  A Board member must also be able to gain an understanding of the community’s preferences as a whole and be able to effectively communicate that to the administration.  Each Board member represents the entire community.  Commack is blessed with an amazing staff of administrators and teachers that believes in providing our children a wealth of opportunities and choices to become college and/or career ready.  Board members must be willing to listen and trust that staff, while verifying along the way, thus ensuring that they stay in that oversight role. 
 
Q. If you are reelected or elected to serve on the Commack Board of Education, what would be your three priority areas for board/administration study and potential improvement for the district?
A.  
1. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some unique challenges to our students that they otherwise would not have to face.  The first priority coming out of this difficult year has to be ensuring that our students are supported in every manner, particularly from the mental health and academic progress perspectives.  The pandemic and this atypical year have affected each of our students differently and the District must ensure that every student receives the support they need to transition to the post-pandemic world.  
 
2.  Combatting the addiction dangers that threaten our children’s well-being.   Continuing my work on the Anti-Vaping Task Force and with the Commack Coalition of Caring to ensure that our children are given the tools to avoid the addictive pit falls that could threaten their futures is a present and future priority for me.  
 
3.  Continuing the Commack School District’s fiscally responsible path.   I will continue to advocate for the District to be run in a fiscally conservative manner that preserves and enhances the programs for our students and enables them to have access to the futures that they want for themselves while also keeping tax increases low for our community.  This also includes continuing to advocate and work with our elected officials to make sure that Commack receives its fair share of federal and state funding.

 Q. What is your definition of a “Comprehensive Commack Education?” Does Commack currently offer this kind of an education, K-12?
 
A.  A Comprehensive Commack Education is one that provides every single child in the Commack community the opportunity to attain the future that they dream for themselves.  It should promote a well-rounded education, including music, the arts, foreign languages, health, athletics and physical fitness.  It should teach our children a sense of responsibility to themselves, to others and to our community.  It should provide our children the best opportunity to be as college and/or career ready as possible.  It should ensure the mental health and well-being of our children.  I believe that our District strives to provide this type of education, which is why I moved to Commack even before I had children of my own.  We can continue to not only maintain, but improve, this District for the benefit of children and our great community.

Gus Hueber

Q. How long have you been a resident of the Commack area?
A. I have been a resident of the Commack School District for the past 22 years.
 
Q. Do you have now, or have you ever had, any children attend the District public schools?
A.   My wife Julie and I raised three children in Commack and all attended the public schools.  Emily graduated in 2017 and is a senior at Marist College.  Gus graduated in 2018 and is a junior at Binghamton University and Caroline graduated in 2020 and is a freshman at Quinnipiac University.  All three received an excellent education at Commack and were well prepared for their college experience.
 
Q. What is your educational background and current occupation?
A.   I received a BS in psychology from SUNY Stony Brook in 1984 and worked as a counselor at St. Mary’s Children and Family Services and the Melville House, both residential group homes for children 8-18 years old with social, emotional and learning difficulties. With a desire to better understand the needs of this vulnerable population, I pursued graduate study at CUNY Queens College, earning a masters degree in education  and a certificate in school psychology.  I worked as a school psychologist for 12 years, providing counseling services, psychological testing and chairing CSE and 504 meetings, where I assisted a team of educators in the design and implementation of effective intervention programs and strategies for at-risk students with behavioral, emotional and learning difficulties. I then returned to CUNY Queens College to receive my NYS certificate in school administration and supervision. I served as the assistant principal in Manhasset secondary school (7-12) for five years before heading out east to the Three Village School District as principal at PJ Gelinas JHS. After ten years at the junior high, I was selected to be the principal of the newly formed alternative high school program, which I have enjoyed being a part of for the last eight years.  The program enables students to maximize their personal strengths in a setting focused on individual learning styles.   
 
Q. Of what school-related and/or community organizations are you, or have you been, a member?
A. My children were very active in sports in the community, so as a result, I had the opportunity to coach Commack Little League, PAL football and CYO basketball at Christ the King.  As a family, we were often involved in various fundraisers, food drives, clothing drives, Relay for Life and a host of other charitable events through the school and the church to help those less fortunate.

Q. Why do you want to be a member of the Board of Education and what talents (strengths) do you have that would contribute to the Board? 
A. For as long as I can remember, Commack has enjoyed a reputation of excellence in education and has served as the hub of the community.  Like other districts across the island, the COVID pandemic has limited our ability to provide students and their families with the types of educational experiences they have come to expect. For well over a year, we have been saddled with DOH restrictions, which have had a deleterious effect on student performance, socialization and emotional well-being.  I am running for the BOE because I have a desire to work with the other members of the board and the district leadership to navigate out of this past year of COVID and assume some normalcy, returning to the excellence we all take pride in as community members. I believe my 34 years in education as psychologist and building principal will be most valuable in helping the Commack School District move forward.
 
 
Q. How many Board of Education meetings have you attended during the last three years? 
A. I find myself relying heavily on the district’s website to stay informed of various events and school information.  With the advancements in technology, I often view the BOE meeting via live streaming.  I also read the monthly BOE minutes and watch the presentations that are posted as well. 
 
Q. What do you see as the role of a Board of Education member as part of our district governance team? 
A. A school board member is part of a team that oversees and manages the school district’s affairs.  As an elected official, it is the responsibility of every board member to work together and help plan the education of the children in the school district. In addition, I believe there needs to be a flexibility demonstrated and a responsiveness to the diverse needs of the community. Members of the board should present a shared vision for the district and those standards and goals that make this vison a reality. 
 
Q. If you are reelected or elected to serve on the Commack Board of Education, what would be your three priority areas for board/administration study and potential improvement for the district?
A. As I stated earlier, my highest priority is to work with the other members of the BOE, the district leadership and the members of the community to move towards normalcy and provide the children in the district with quality educational programs and instructional experiences that will again be recognized as excellent.
 
Secondly, I am extremely concerned about the social and emotional well-being of the children in the district, who for the past year, have not had the interactions and involvement that foster a healthy growth and development in so many ways.   Again, schools are often the hub of the community and the source of student involvement in clubs, sports and other activities.  It’s not just about academics, we must also concern ourselves with the mental health of our students and I would be eager to work with others to address this growing concern. 
 
Finally, my experience as a principal of an alternative high school in a district commensurate with Commack has allowed me to develop and create other avenues for all student to succeed. As a BOE member I will work with others in an effort to provide students and their families with educational opportunities to ensure that the district continues to meet the growing diversity of student needs.   

 Q. What is your definition of a “Comprehensive Commack Education?” Does Commack currently offer this kind of an education, K-12?
A. A comprehensive Commack Education is one that addresses the needs of all students in the district and it encompasses much more than teaching and learning.  It means educating the whole child, which ensures that students are safe; healthy; engaged; supported and challenged by a rich curriculum utilizing instructional strategies that allow all students to learn and succeed.  We moved to Commack twenty-two years ago because of the reputation of excellence in education.  Collectively, my children spent 39 years in the Commack public schools and yes, they each received a comprehensive education, one that I am proud of as a father and educator.  As a BOE member, I would like to be part of a team that continues to confront the challenges that lie ahead and work collegially to overcome them and continue a tradition of excellence.
 
Contact Information
By Mail:  P.O. Box 150, Commack, NY 11725
By Phone:  (631) 912-2000
By Email: [email protected]
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The Commack School District Mission Statement
Within the context of a caring community of learners, our primary mission is to provide an exemplary
learning experience that will allow each child to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
values to become a successful, contributing member within our school community and greater society.
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