Beloved educator Ernest Kight Jr., 68, president of the Freeport School District Board of Education, died on Feb. 27.
He was the loving husband of Diane Mary Caruso, dear son of Ernest Kight Sr. and caring brother of Vanessa Kight, Angelyn Kight and Christopher Kight.
Kight graduated from Freeport High School in 1971, and immediately after earning his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stonehill College, in Massachusetts, he returned to Freeport High as a social studies teacher, his dream job.
Kight was not only a dedicated teacher, but also an inspirational coach as he helped mold the girl’s basketball team into a powerhouse, claiming the Nassau County championship for four consecutive years from 1989-1992. For his dedication to the Red Devils, Kight was eventually inducted into the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
By 1991, Kight was promoted to assistant principal at Freeport High, and in 2009, he was named principal.
In 2012, he retired after 32 years of serving the district, but, again, he was not gone for long as he returned in 2015 to serve on the Board of Education. Four years later, he became president of the board.
“Mr. Kight was a passionate educational leader with unwavering support for our students, schools and community,” said Dr. Kishore Kuncham, superintendent of schools. “His entire career was dedicated to helping others succeed. He will be remembered as someone who was committed to the Freeport students, families and the community.”
“His knowledge of education and school functioning made him an excellent board member, who thoughtfully weighed the needs of students and families while being fiscally responsible”, said BOE Vice-President Vilma Lancaster. “Mr. Kight enthusiastically supported the academic and extracurricular programs of Freeport Schools and was very involved in advocacy matters with policymakers. He was extremely proud of Freeport.”
During the pandemic, Kight worked to support students and staff by helping secure PPE and urging all to stay informed on how to combat the spread of Covid-19.
He also worked with Northwell Health and the Memorial Prebyterian Church, in Roosevelt, to receive the Moderna vaccine live on camera in order to help encourage others to get vaccinated as well.
A wake for Kight will be held on Wednesday, March 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Hungerford & Clark Inc. Funeral Home. A private funeral service will be held the following day.