“Fork Lane is like a family,” explained teacher Nancy Ruisi. “It is our exemplary leader, Mr. Scardino, who has guided, nurtured and created this wonderful family made up of parents, teachers, staff and most importantly, our children.”
Ruisi, herself a former Nassau County Math Teacher of the Year, described Chris Scardino, Fork Lane’s educational leader for the past 16 years, as a compassionate role model.
“We have a complete teamwork approach here at Fork—the teachers, parents and students all work together,” Scardino said. “Before you blink, the students have moved on to the middle school. So, having six years with them at Fork, in this close-knit neighborhood of Hicksville, is a great opportunity to build a solid foundation—strong academics and strong character development—that’s what makes elementary school such a special time.”
Sitting on just under 10 acres, Fork Lane serves about 300 K-5 students. Fork was one of the district’s “sister” schools, along with Burns, Dutch and Old Country Road, to open its doors in 1952. Situated between Jerusalem Avenue on the east and Route 106 on the west, Fork Lane serves the children of Hicksville’s central southern neighborhood.
“We are fortunate in that we are a very stable school community that cares about children,” Scardino said. “We have two classes per grade. That small number provides an amazing opportunity to fully impact each child’s learning and development.”
“Our facilities are phenomenal,” Scardino shared. “The upkeep of the building and grounds is great. We have new windows and interior and exterior doors. Our playground received new equipment and was fenced and gated for safety and security. We have new HVAC units and all our classrooms will soon be air-conditioned. A new phone system was installed, technology upgrades were implemented including Smartboards and Chromebooks, a beautiful new Library Media Center was unveiled this fall and in our gymnasium, new mats were purchased and electronic windows were added to increase air circulation.”
Educated at L.I. University (bachelor of science), New York Institute of Technology (master of arts) and Stony Brook University (New York State Administrative Certificate), Scardino brings to bear 32 years of experience in the field of education to his leadership role at Fork Lane. Prior to joining the administrative team in Hicksville, he served as an elementary level teacher for 12 years and an assistant principal for five years at Babylon Memorial Grade School.
Scardino’s enthusiasm for developing strong community ties captured a National PTA Recognition Award for Excellence. He actively seeks out speakers to visit Fork to help students cultivate the mindset, dedication, and character that successful leaders possess. The impressive list includes: Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Fernando Camacho; Atlanta Falcon’s linebacker and defensive end Tim Green; 2018 Major Baseball League All-Star Nick Markakis (Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles); 1980 Goalie for the U.S. Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Team Steve Janaszak; Paralympian Lloyd Bachrach and National Football League’s Boomer Esiason (Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals).
Scardino even developed a mission statement for the school and had it printed on a large banner that hangs in the front hall:
“To foster an enriching atmosphere that is safe, embraces and develops caring citizens as well as a clear focus on high student achievement on a daily basis.”
What is Scardino’s greatest joy in serving as principal?
“I walk Fork’s halls and hear the sounds of magical learning going on – my joy comes from the joy of the students,” he said. “I am inspired by the staff’s dedication, too. They would run through walls for the students and parents. I ask and they give. They really are a cohesive team. I know when I close a classroom door, the students are in excellent hands. We have a great balance of master teacher-leaders, teachers in the middle of their careers, and amazing new teachers who really come prepared. They all go above and beyond. Fork Lane is a very special place.”
— Submitted by the Hicksville School District