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Committed to Excellence

Superintendent’s Message

Dear Islip Faculty, Staff, and Families:

A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation, and encourages perseverance.

-- Gary Hamel

To say I am excited to join the Islip community and become a Buccaneer would be an enormous understatement. In fact, it is my great honor to be writing to you as your new Superintendent of Schools and welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year.

First, I would like to thank our Board of Education for entrusting me with the safety and education of the students of Islip and I assure you, these responsibilities will always be my top priority. I also offer sincere thanks to Dr. Ellen Semel for her professionalism, kindness, and support through the beginning of my transition to Islip. Most importantly, I cannot wait to work with our team of extraordinary faculty, staff, and administrators, all of whom work tirelessly for the benefit of our students.

In Islip, we have a rich history and a community of learners. I am happy to share that my beliefs and vision match perfectly the culture and great care and high expectations already in place. For example, I believe in kindness and servant leadership, and I am eager to serve the students and families of Islip. I believe every student deserves expert teachers and that every student can achieve; this is most important, and I will work tirelessly toward this goal. I believe every student must have access to the best programs and courses; complete equity is a necessary ingredient. Community engagement has been a hallmark for me, and I look forward to the exciting things we will achieve together. Lastly, for me, there is no question our students are capable of being among the best in the nation, and it is crucial we strive to have every student fully prepared for his or her first day beyond Islip High School. Simply put, together we will fulfill our mission of empowering every child to achieve excellence.

For almost 30 years, I have been blessed to answer the calling that drew me into education. Every step of my journey, whether teaching biology, coaching wrestling and track, being a class advisor, working with adult learners, or serving as science department chairman, assistant principal, high school principal, and superintendent of schools, has been incredibly fulfilling and an important part of my lifelong learning.

As a father, my four sons have always been my compass. Every decision and action throughout my time as an educator has been made through the lens of a parent, always keeping in mind what I would want for my own child. Being a parent has shaped me as an educator, leader and learner, and you can be sure I will treat every Islip student as if she or he were my own.

After meeting many of you, I can easily say I am privileged to be joining the Islip School District and community - one in which parents, community members, faculty, staff, and administrators put students' interest at the front of all you do. The way this community has supported one another through one of the most challenging times in our history makes me feel blessed to join you, and inspires me to want to do more.

As the Gary Hamel quote above explains, a noble purpose requires sacrifice. There can be no more noble purpose than changing students' life trajectories, and it is obvious you all make sacrifices in order to provide the best-possible education. Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic tested our perseverance; yet in Islip, you were undaunted. You have been resilient in the goals of enabling students to embrace the trials of life and find success - a true gift.

As we emerge from the challenges of COVID-19, I invite you to school concerts, dramas, musicals, art shows, talent shows, honor society inductions, spirit nights, athletic competitions, parent-teacher conferences, open school night, curriculum night, grade-level meetings, moving up ceremonies, celebrations of achievement, commencement exercises, PTA meetings, Board of Education meetings, and so many other wonderful events. Whether it be at a "Coffee with the Superintendent," in our schools, or around the community, I look forward to meeting you all.

I will work hard to earn your trust and build relationships, as I know strong partnerships among students, faculty, staff, administrators, families, our Board of Education, and the community are what will enable us to reach every student's promise. Our potential is unlimited, and we are poised for great achievements in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

I welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year!

Yours in Service,Dennis P. O'Hara, Ed.D.Superintendent of Schools


Click here to read Dr. O'Hara's 100-Day Entry Plan