A Q & A with Hicksville’s new superintendent of schools
This fall marks the beginning of a new chapter in Marianne Litzman’s life as she assumes Carl Bonuso’s position of Superintendent of Schools. The Hicksville News sent Litzman a questionnaire about her goals for the future of the school district as she takes on her new role.
What is your background in Hicksville?
I came to Hicksville Public Schools as an experienced science teacher from NYC and New England. I began at the then junior high school as a ninth grade biology teacher and then when it became a middle school, I was a grade seven and eight science teacher until 1995. From 1993-95, I was also director of continuing education and principal of the evening high school. I became the assistant principal of the middle school in 1995 and remained in that position until 1998. From 1998 to 2003, I was principal of Dutch Lane elementary school and for the 2003 school year until June of 2018, I was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. On July 1, I became superintendent of schools.
What do you enjoy most about Hicksville?
I enjoy working with a collaborative staff, supportive board of education and community, and helping to make a difference in the lives of the students we serve.
What does the appointment to superintendent mean to you?
I am honored and privileged to work in this community to be able to inspire our teachers and administrators to help every child meet their potential and go off into the world as healthy, contributing citizens.
What would you like to accomplish while holding this new title?
I want to move the district forward with technology for both students and staff, fully implement the initiatives approved in redesigning our elementary libraries, oversee the refurbishing of the high school cafeteria and auditorium, include air conditioning in learning spaces in all our buildings and the construction of an aquatic center. And probably most important, is to move forward with safety and security measures to keep all of our students and staff safe throughout their days with us.
What are a few things about the school district that are most important to you?
The diversity of Hicksville Public Schools is most important to me. We welcome all learners and all families into the school community as we believe knowledge is freedom, important for getting along with others and understanding others in working for a peaceful world. It is also important for me to work on providing the supports and resources to our teachers who work to ensure every child reaches their potential. I will support our administrators with inspiration and the skills to succeed as leaders. I will help the parents receive important information and an understanding of what we do as educators in strengthening the home-school connection.
What are a few of the challenges facing the school district and how do you plan to solve them?
Unfunded mandates from the New York State Education Department are, for every school district, challenging. The demands of the state plan for ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) will require new data reporting responsibilities and budgeting practices. We plan to leverage grant opportunities and begin our budget planning for the 2019-20 school year in October to allow for intentional thought and creative solutions. We will be seeking and lobbying for resources to meet safety and security measures for all of our buildings. We are currently installing man traps in our buildings and have unarmed security guards in all our schools.
What have you been doing this summer to prepare you for your new role come the start of the school year?
I am now a member of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. I attended a new superintendents’ workshop in Albany at the state level and attended a workshop with the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents. Their support and guidance have enabled me to move forward in all areas with a strong foundation of exemplary practices. I have also worked diligently on preparing and presenting two administrative retreats to build leadership skills and to inspire those around me. I planned and presented opening day welcome back remarks inspiring teachers to teach like the future depends on it.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Hicksville School District?
I enjoy the students, their passion for learning and desire to create a better world. I enjoy working collaboratively with a staff that aspires to greatness and a board of education who supports my efforts and wants only the best for the children of Hicksville.
What/who inspires you?
My family who looks out for me and keeps me grounded, our students who are creative, earnest and giving their best intentions and our staff who care deeply about our children and each other.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Begin each day with a grateful heart.
What is your best advice for Hicksville students?
Every day is a new day—make it a great day or not; the choice is yours.