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Retirees honored for years of service in Malverne schools

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Two longtime teachers in the Malverne School District and a Board of Education trustee were honored at the board’s June 8 meeting for their years of service. Teachers Barbara Kimball and Loredonna Hennessy and Trustee Phyllis Tinsley will retire at the end of the school year.

Kimball, 64, a Davison Avenue Intermediate School teacher who worked in the district for 27 years, was known for her calm and kind approach with her students. Davison Avenue Principal Rachel Gross, who worked with Kimball for the past six years, said she was also a mentor to new teachers.

“Mrs. Kimball has served the children of the Malverne school community with grace, a positive attitude, unwavering professionalism and class,” Gross said. “She is the teacher that our students will remember for a lifetime, because she has the unique ability to tap into their strengths and honor their differences.”

Kimball helped lead her students and fellow teachers through countless curriculum shifts, administrative changes and regulatory updates. “I feel incredibly blessed to have had the privilege of working alongside Mrs. Kimball,” Gross said.

A teacher at Howard T. Herber Middle School for 29 years, Hennessy, 57, treated every day like her first day of school. Whether she had to bark like a dog or snort like a pig, Hennessy did whatever she could to bring stories to life for her students.

“Lore was a pillar in the school, a cornerstone that everyone could turn to when they needed help,” HTH Principal Daniel Nehlsen said. “She was always a friend that the staff could turn to and ask advice when they were stumped.”

Nehlsen added that while Hennessy was willing to share her knowledge with others, she wasn’t afraid to tell the “cold hard truth.” “There were times where I regretted asking for it,” Nehlsen said, “because I would have a question about one thing, and left questioning 100 other things. The brutal honesty is what made her great.”

Board President Phyllis Tinsley, who chose not to run for re-election in May, will retire after being an involved parent in the district for more than 20 years. A board trustee for the past four years, Tinsley, 57, described her years in the district as a long but fulfilling journey.

“I hit the ground running from the bottom to the top,” Tinsley tearfully recalled. “I tell the parents out there, that’s what you have to do for your kids. This right here is my family. I can’t thank the Malverne School District [enough] for helping me raise my kids to be the productive people they are.”

“She was the president the year that I started here,” said District Superintendent Dr. Lorna Lewis. “She’s been nothing but supportive of my office, and she made me feel welcome here, as have all the other board members.”

Outgoing Trustee Danielle Hopkins, a 16-year board member who lost to Nicole Henderson in the May election, was set to be honored at the board’s public meeting on Tuesday.