Ellenmorris Tiegerman arrived in Glen Cove 20 years ago with the vision of establishing two new Tiegerman campuses there. Tiegerman Schools and Community Services, a 34-year-old nonprofit organization based in Glen Cove, provides educational and vocational programs that help children, teens and adults who have speech and learning disorders or autism. Tiegerman and her board of directors lead the organization, which has two other schools in Richmond Hill and Woodside.
Tiegerman acquired the South School building, on Glen Cove Avenue, to create the Tiegerman Preschool/Elementary School in 1999, but she was unable to purchase the old Coles School building, on Cedar Swamp Road. “But then I got a call two years ago from Mayor [Timothy] Tenke, asking if we were still interested, and we were absolutely interested,” Tiegerman said. “Third time’s the charm.”
After two years of work, Tiegerman and board members, staff, teachers and students gathered at the new Tiegerman Middle School to celebrate its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 26.
The school enrolled about 150 sixth- through eighth-graders. Tenke said that it was exactly what residents wanted to see at the site of the former Coles School, which was built in 1928 and named after one of Glen Cove’s oldest families. The Coles School was one of the city’s elementary schools until it closed in 1992, and the city bought the building in 2002. It was leased it to the Solomon Schechter School until 2011.
Then, in limbo for more than six years, the building fell into disrepair, and was included in the city’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, where city officials are seeking state aid to undertake revitalization projects to improve blighted neighborhoods. When he saw the completed Tiegerman Middle School at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Tenke said he was amazed by how quickly the project was completed after Tiegerman bought the property for $2.1 million in 2017.
“The building hadn’t been used in years, but residents wanted to see it preserved,” Tenke said. “A lot of people have connections to the school, and to have it open again, under the Tiegerman name, means a lot to them.”
After a few students spoke at the ceremony about how the Tiegerman Schools curriculum helped them learn how to communicate and speak, and sang “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Tiegerman board member Paul Rosen said he was moved by just how much Tiegerman Schools and Community Services had grown since he first enrolled his daughter in the school system in 1986. Back then, Tiegerman ran a preschool that was only a year old. Rosen said that his daughter, who was 3 at the time, thrived under the Tiegerman curriculum.
The Tiegerman Language Method stimulates and challenges students to improve their communication abilities through immersive classroom lessons and educational games. Its instructors help students develop intellectually and emotionally. Tiegerman also works to increase public awareness of language disorders, because children who have them are often misdiagnosed and incorrectly placed in special-education classes and programs.
“I’m proud to be a part of this organization and one of the original families at Tiegerman,” Rosen said. “My daughter is now 36, and she’s lived a much better live because of the school.”
With the new middle school, Ellenmorris Tiegerman said, children in Glen Cove now have access to the Tiegerman Schools system from pre-K to eighth grade. She is currently holding a fundraising campaign to install a new walkway at the middle school’s entrance. With the “Generations Walkway,” she hopes to top off renovations at the school in order to both cement Tiegerman Schools’ place in the future, and pay homage to the history of the Coles School.