The Nassau BOCES anounced that it will honor Sewanhaka Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie and Elmont Memorial Principal Kevin Dougherty as two of this spring’s 15 recipients for the Education Partner Award.
Theresa Schaefer, the assistant programs manager for the Nassau BOCES communications office, said the Education Partner Award is given to individuals who have brought a positive change to their schools. “We select recipients based on their impact and reach, whether their actions go beyond the scope of their responsibilities and if they serve as a role model for their community,” she said.
Ferrie has served as the superintendent of the Sewanhaka School District since 2011. He helped push for major renovations to the five high schools in the district, including the addition of solar panels, earning them an Energy Star certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ferrie also implemented the One-on-One Initiative, a program that gives students tablets to use for schoolwork and had smart-TVs installed in classrooms.
“It puts us in a situation where students are prepared to function and succeed in college, where most of the work is done on tablets and laptops,” he said.
Elmont Memorial High School Principal Kevin Dougherty took the One-on-One Initiative even further by partnering with Illuminate Education, to collect student assessment data from the smart devices. This helped the high school figure out which students needed help in which
Dougherty came to Elmont Memorial in 2015, after more than six years of teaching in New York City charter schools. In order to affect both the student’s education and the high school’s overall culture, Dougherty started the Men of Elmont Club, providing mentorship and community service work to 65 students. The school will also start a women’s chapter this year with about 30 members. “This club provides an important layer of support for students who might be struggling, and it helps them become important members of the community,” he said.
Dougherty organized the school’s first Black History Month event last year, saying at the time that it was important for students to recognize and celebrate culture and diversity. The school, whose student body is predominantly Black, is hosting another event this month.
Finally, in order for the district to understand and serve its diverse student population, Ferrie established a Cultural Proficiency Committee last year. The committee brought administrators from the district’s four other high schools in order to develop student diversity programs.
Dougherty and Ferrie will receive their awards at the 12th Annual Education Partner Awards Gala on April 11.