NRCSD Board Honors Lauren Shields and Welcomes New School Year

As Lauren’s Law waits on the Governor’s desk, North Rockland’s school board recognizes Shields for all her hard work.

BY SARA GILBERT

On Tuesday, September 4, the North Rockland Central School District board meet to welcome parents and students into the new year, honor Lauren Shields for her work on organ donation and approve regular business.

“Happy new year,” said Superintendent Ileana Eckert. Everything went smoothly as the teachers met to learn about the new curriculum, assessments, evaluation tools, and other changes for this year, she said. “It’s a lot of learning and adjustment for the teachers.” The only problem so far was a delay in the bus schedule, but she promised it was being sorted out. “Everyone seems happy and we are hoping for a great year,” she said.

Eckert then stood and invited Lauren Shields, 12, of Stony Point, to join her at the front of the auditorium.

Shields received a desperately needed heart transplant from an organ donor and has been the driving force behind “Lauren’s Law,” a law awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature that would make it easier for people to sign up as organ donors. On the driver’s license application, the question about joining the program and allowing organ donation would now be mandatory. Senator David Carlucci and Shields feel this will help increase the number of donors.

“For the past four years, Lauren’s been in the papers pursuing a worthy cause,” said Eckert, handing Shields a Certificate of Recognition. “She was the recipient of a new heart and it’s obviously a really good one.”

Board member Robert Masiello commented that he remembered visiting Shields when she was at Helen Hayes Hospital and when she sang in front of a large crowd he thought how much she reminded him of Helen Hayes herself.

The meeting got started late as the board waited for a fourth member to arrive. Both President Deborah P. Gatti and James A. Kraus were absent that night. Peggy Zugibe stood in for Gatti as president for the meeting.

There were no board reports, correspondents or old business to attend to and so the board jumped straight into the final votes for finances, personnel, retirements, and more. Finance reports and budget transfers were all approved unanimously.

The board approved unanimously the appointments of: Lauren Berman, special subject foreign language; Michael Castaldo, department coordinator of physical education; Lindsay Miller, mathematics; Melinda Parziale, special subjects family and consumer sciences; and substitute teachers: Paul Davis, Randi Frankel, Anne Allison, Margaret Gonyo, James Hickey, Todd Koval, Stephanie Maddalena, Iraida Pagan, John Quinn, Lauren Ramponi, Colleen Sabo, Cathy Squillini, Hannah Winginit, Brian Harten, Erik Biegun, Cheryl Sultan, Colette Jurman, Robert Spaeth, Joseph Di Giovanni, Virginia Asterita, Maureen Kurtz, Paul Carlucci, Sean DeGroat, Ben Beamon, John Quinn, and Minerva Swanston.

The board also approved unanimously the retirement of Patricia Marino, an elementary school teacher for 27 years, and Susan Kieselbach, a special subjects teaching assistant for 26 years