Elmont swears in second interim superintendent this year


Kenneth Card was sworn in as the Elmont school district’s second interim superintendent this academic year on Feb. 6, a day after Al Harper’s resignation became effective.

At the district’s Board of Education meeting last week, the board voted 6-1 to approve Harper’s resignation, with Trustee Tameka Battle-Burkett opposing it. The board also voted 6-0 to approve Card’s appointment, with Battle-Burkett abstaining. Card’s tenure is set to run through June 30.

Harper became interim superintendent in October, while the district searched for a permanent replacement for Kenneth Rosner who resigned his position as superintendent for the Elmont school district effective Sept. 1. According to the board, Harper resigned for “personal reasons” after just three months in the position. The search for a permanent superintendent is continuing.

Card was superintendent of the East Meadow school district for six years before he retired last August, and was replaced by Rosner. Rosner served as Elmont’s elementary school district superintendent for three years before taking the position in East Meadow.

Card’s career in education began in 1998, when he worked as a social studies teacher in the Harborfields school district. He became an assistant principal there in 2002, and went on to serve as principal of Woodhull Intermediate School, in the Huntington district, from 2005 to 2009. He was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Huntington from 2009 to 2017, when he departed for East Meadow.

Card was also an assistant professor of teacher leadership and learning at Long Island University from 2007 to 2019. He is now an adjunct professor at SUNY Old Westbury.

After earning a degree in history in 1997 from Stony Brook University, Card added a master’s in history from the university three years later. He completed a professional diploma in school administration and leadership at Dowling College in 2002, and earned a doctorate in education in 2008 from Dowling.

He felt called back to teaching, he said, when he saw that the DeKalb County school district, in Georgia, needed teachers. There he taught fifth-grade social studies three days a week, and, Card said, working with young students reinforced his passion for education and helping young people reach their potential.

“I just want you to know, for the time that I am here, my number one focus and priority will be on kids — teaching and learning,” Card told the crowd of around 70 teachers and community members when he introduced himself at the board meeting last week at Elmont Road School. “Because they’ve only got one shot in the fourth grade, one shot in the fifth grade, and so on. So my job is to make sure that every day is special.”

He added, “Every day, I’m going to make sure that I’m visible in our schools, to support our teachers and administrators, to make sure that the magic is happening in the classrooms every day.”

Card said he planned to host coffee time at the district’s six schools. Those plans have yet to be solidified, but he said he hoped to meet twice a week with community members to focus on the challenges they would like to see addressed.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the Elmont community,” he said.

The attendees were receptive, but some expressed their disappointment with the board’s appointment. Dwayne Palmer, of Elmont, welcomed Card to the district, but described it as the “Elmont candy store” with a “revolving door of superintendents and assistant superintendents.”

“You may have had a storied career, but I am in complete disagreement with this board that reaches back to people who have had their day, and they’ve decided to retire, and take an opportunity away from incoming, inspiring leaders,” Palmer said. “We have plenty of talented people in Elmont that should be offered or given the opportunity for these positions. And because this board operates in such a haphazard way, we’ve now had three superintendents.”

Another Elmont resident, Trecia Wong, raised her concern about the school board’s transparency, or lack of it, when it came to Card’s appointment. Wong said she found the lack of communication between the board and the community “troubling.”

Board President Nancy Garlick said the past few weeks had been a difficult period in which to bring new leadership into the district.

“We are in the process of looking for a superintendent,” Garlick said. “Hopefully by May we will have someone in place — a permanent superintendent. But I would like everyone to know that this board really worked hard to get this done.”

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for March 12 at 8 p.m. at Stewart Manor School.