The Valley Stream 24 Board of Education selected Unal Karakas as the next Valley Stream 24 Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2023.
“We partnered with District Wise Consultants throughout the recruitment process, allowing us to choose from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds,” said then board president John Maier. “We felt strongly that Mr. Karakas was the perfect candidate and will be a great addition to Valley Stream 24.”
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected the next Superintendent of Valley Stream 24. It is a privilege to work alongside dedicated educators, staff, families, and community members. I embark on this journey with great enthusiasm, knowing the immense responsibility we have in supporting our students,” said Karakas.
“ I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I am confident that with our collective efforts, we will achieve great success together. I look forward to working collaboratively with our entire community to ensure that our schools continue to be a place where every child can thrive and reach their fullest potential.”
Karakas is currently pursuing his doctorate in leadership and learning in organizations with a focus on innovative and equitable leadership at Vanderbilt University. He received a master of arts in childhood education from New York University, a master of science in educational leadership from Iona College, and a bachelor of arts in economics from Iona College.
Additionally, Karakas is an educator with 18 years of experience, formerly serving as the assistant superintendent for human resources in the Glen Cove City School District.
In that position, Karakas helped support the development of teachers and administrators by spearheading the development of the New Administrators Academy and the New Teachers Academy. Karakas also played an integral part in the Glen Cove City School District’s successful passage of its $30 million bond referendum in 2022.
Prior to his role as an Assistant Superintendent, Karakas was the principal of Brookside Elementary School in Baldwin for three years, during which time his school was recognized as a National School of Character for its robust and inclusive character education program. Criteria for selection for this prestigious nomination included providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.
His focus at Brookside Elementary also included innovative teaching and learning, and his school was part of the district’s AASA’s Learning 2025 initiative to create student-centered, equity-focused, and future-driven education. In fact, his school’s Hello Neighbor Project helped recognize the district as NYSSBA’s “Champion of Change” Award.
Before moving to Long Island, Karakas spent four years as a principal in an elementary school in the Bronx, where he not only helped increase student achievement, but spearheaded the school’s technology education, fine arts, and sports.
His educational experience began as an elementary school teacher—in the very same school he attended in Queens—teaching fifth and sixth grade for nearly 10 years.