New special needs school could bring business to city


The new occupants of the old Coles School building — Tiegerman, a non-profit education organization that works with people with disabilities that affect their ability to communicate — will move into the property by next July, according to Dr. Ellenmorris Tiegerman.

“It’s a very short timeline,” Tiegerman said. “The renovations need to start this summer.”

She added that she was grateful for the opportunity to continue the Cole School’s legacy of education “I think there’s a lot of heart and soul about that building because a lot of people in the community went to that school, and I think they’d like to keep it a school.”

“Having gone to Coles School, I am overjoyed that it is remaining as an educational conduit,” Councilman Joe Capobianco told the Herald Gazette in December, after the city voted to sell the building to Tiegerman for $2.1 million.

Tiegerman already operates a pre-K and elementary school on Glen Cove Avenue, as well as a middle school in Woodside, Queens and a high school in Richmond Hill.

The new building would house the re-located middle school, which would allow students who attended the elementary school in Glen Cove — and their families — to more seamlessly transition to upper grades.

Beyond the sentimental aspect of the move, turning the building over to Tiegerman could help revitalize the area on Cedar Swamp Road. Joseph Geraci, Tiegerman’s director of institutional advancement, said that since they moved into the Glen Cove Avenue property, the surrounding area has been revitalized, and for that, he places some of the credit for that on the organization’s “good neighbor policy.” He added, I think [the city is] looking for us to do the same thing over there,” on Cedar Swamp Road.

Patricia Holman, executive director of the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District, said that Tiegerman had had an impact not only on the surrounding area, but on commerce in the city as a whole. “It’s schools like this,” she said, “and organizations like this that bring people to the downtown area.”

The school doesn’t just bring in students, Holman said. It brings in parents, too; parents who drop their kids off and then spend some time walking around the city, spending their money in local businesses and restaurants.

Holman recalled her own experience owning an antique shop on School Street and having parents from as far away as the Bronx shopping at her store while their son was evaluated for admission to the elementary school.

When the Herald Gazette went to interview Tiegerman in her office at the Glen Cove Avenue school, she had the book, “Miracles Happen,” on her desk.

“Every day is a miracle here,” she said. But after 33 years of working with children, she said the most powerful miracle is when a former student comes back to visit.

“What we started out with is not what we ended up with,” Tiegerman said. “Here is this young man, or young woman who is going to work, getting married, having a family, going to college, having a life. We were part of that gift.”

Danielle Agoglia contributed to this story.