Just weeks into the job as South Huntington schools superintendent, Dr. David Bennardo seems cognizant of the responsibilities of the position and confident that he can continue to make the school district the best it can be.
from longtime district superintendent , Bennardo said he's been making a strong effort to make himself known in the community by attending local athletic events, concerts and theatrical productions.
“I believe you need to throw the totality of yourself into the school culture,” Benardo said to Patch Friday. “High visibility and heavy interaction is what will help you become part of the culture.”
After a lenghty search process, Bennardo was hired in June from the Harborfields School District, where served as principal of Harborfields High School for 9 years.
Entering his 25th year in public education, Bennardo said he worked in the late 80s and 90s in and in various positions including teacher, drama set designer, football coach, adviser, drivers education instructor, lacrosse coach and assistant principal. He taught classes at his alma mater, St. John’s University, for 13 years.
The transition has been a positive one so far for Bennardo, grateful for the opportunity to serve in South Huntington.
“The embrace here has been so warm,” Bennardo said. “I would like to thank the community and board for showing confidence in me. I understand the trust they’ve given me, and I intend to make them proud of that decision.”
Bennardo said he is planning to address what he feels is one of the most serious issues with any school district — maintaining quality despite financial constraints.
“People are proud of their schools,” he said. “That’s something that’s important, and can’t be allowed to fade.”
Rather than cutting programs or increasing taxes, Bennardo says he would like to see schools become more fiscally self-sufficient, somewhat like the private school system, which does not get state funding.
Generation of outside revenue is something the new superintendent said he will pursue.
“We’ll see what we can and can’t do, but there has to be another option,”according to Bennardo, who said his door will always be open.
“People will absolutely be listened to," he said. "Any time, we’ll find a way.”
Teaching experience will remain a part of the superintendent's day-to-day interaction with students.
“You’re a teacher first when in administration,” Bennardo said. “You’re a teacher of teachers as well as of students.”