2014 Year In Review: Goodbye, Dr. McDermott

NORTHPORT-EAST NORTHPORT, New York, Jan. 1

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

In her own words, Northport-East Northport Superintendent Marylou McDermott said her career with the district – where she’s served as superintendent since July 2006 – “begins and ends with the child.”

Marylou McDermott, superintendent of the Northport-East Northport School District, gives her speech to the graduating seniors of Northport High School during the 2014 commencement ceremony.
Marylou McDermott, superintendent of the Northport-East Northport School District, gives her speech to the graduating seniors of Northport High School during the 2014 commencement ceremony.

Through her eight and a half years as the district’s leader, McDermott has done just that, sporting a slew of accomplishments since her debut that includes limiting class sizes, renovating several of the district’s schools and increasing security in those buildings.

But 2014 marked McDermott’s final year with the district, as she announced on July 21, 2014.

“There’s a certain sadness that comes [with leaving], especially when you put your heart and soul into your work,” she said. “In my case, I always wanted to be an educator and to lead a professional life that begins and ends with the child. All of my efforts have been towards the individual growth of the students.”

McDermott didn’t do it alone, though, she said. Behind the help of her “incredible” staff and teachers, McDermott said she was able to accomplish all that she did in her nearly nine years as superintendent – including her, perhaps, most heartfelt accomplishment: a new high school auditorium.

“When I first came to the district in 2006, Dr. Mergen [Northport’s director of music education] was showing me around the district and brought me to the high school where I saw the auditorium,” McDermott said.

Rundown and unfit for a “great” music department and possibly the “world’s greatest marching band,” McDermott swore that she would see the auditorium renovated. Now, years later, Northport High School is preparing to debut that newly renovated auditorium – which is dedicated to the late Robert “Bob” Kreuger, longtime leader of the Northport Community Band – with a special concert scheduled for Jan. 10 at 2 p.m.

“I’m really proud of that accomplishment,” McDermott said. “It was truly a community effort.”

Financially, McDermott said, she is proud of what she was able to do with her time as superintendent, under which she’s passed six consecutive budgets under the 2-percent tax levy increase cap.

“My time was a balance of focus on student achievement and fiscal prudence coupled with long-range planning,” she said. “Everything we’ve done with long-range planning in terms of the students, facilities and finances has tried to strike a delicate balance between them all – but my heart was always with the students.”

McDermott added that, through these recent times with the 2-percent cap and potential ramifications from the pending Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) lawsuit against the Town of Huntington, she’s been happy with the way Northport-East Northport has been able to operate.

Now, as she leaves the district for good in just eight days on Jan. 9, McDermott had just one final sentiment for the people of the community.

“From the bottom of my heart I want to wish the entire community the very best,” she said. “This was an incredible place to work with outstanding teachers, students and a board of education that worked tirelessly to maintain the quality of education within the district.”

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Record
(Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015;  A3)

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