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Thursday, October 23, 2014
Retiring Central District super looks back
(Page 3 of 3)
Scott Brinton/Herald
Dr. Henry Kiernan, far right, superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick Central School District, will retire in June, after eight years in the district. Above, he met with students from the Meadowbrook Alternative Program and its director, Susan Ellinghouse, far left. Getting MAP off the ground, Kiernan said, was his proudest accomplishment.

Mike Dolber, president of the Bellmore-Merrick United Secondary Teachers and a Merrick Avenue Middle School social studies teacher, described Kiernan as “an educator. He is concerned about excellence in education. I think that he’s been open to discussion with teachers. Every year, he comes to the [school] buildings and has lunch with the teachers and has an open discussion with them. People appreciate that.”

Kiernan, the person

Before Bellmore-Merrick, Kiernan was superintendent of the West Morris Regional High School District in New Jersey, which, like Bellmore-Merrick, is a component district, comprising students from four independent elementary districts. He has also been an assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, and an English and social studies teacher. He was a three-time Fulbright grant recipient, which gave him the opportunity to study educational practices in China, Germany and Japan. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, his master’s from NYU and his doctorate in educational administration from Rutgers.

He decided to retire, he said, to spend more time with his wife of 40 years, Jane, a retired physics and chemistry teacher, and his three grown children and their families, who make their homes in London, Louisiana and Oregon. So, Kiernan said, he and his wife will have plenty of traveling to do.

The Kiernans are currently renting a Point Lookout home, which was undamaged by Hurricane Sandy. But, the superintendent said, he saw firsthand the destruction that the storm wrought in his neighborhood. “We saw it all,” Kiernan said. “It was tough for everyone.”

The Kiernans have a permanent home in Pennsylvania, where they plan to move after the school year ends. They will also spend a great deal of time in New York City, where Henry is a member of the New York Historical Society and the China Institute, which has sponsored Bellmore-Merrick teachers on trips to China.

“I have a lot of respect for the Bellmore-Merrick community,” said Kiernan, who rented a home in Merrick from 2005 to 2012. “I knew this was a community that respected education.”

The Central District Board of Education recently began its search for Kiernan’s

successor.

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