Shelter Island Board of Education members felt they had a winner when they selected Dr. Michael Hynes as superintendent of the district three years ago. Their opinions were confirmed this week when they learned Dr. Hynes has been selected for the Phi Delta Kappa International Friends of Education Award that goes to educators who demonstrate leadership, research and service within their communities.
The BOE had nominated Dr. Hynes and member Elizabeth Melichar-Lechmanski got word by letter this week that the superintendent had won the prestigious award.
“It really is an honor,” Dr. Hynes said at Wednesday night’s BOE meeting when he learned of his selection.
Ms. Melichar-Lechmanski read excerpts from statements that were submitted in support of Dr. Hynes’ nomination, that called him “a demonstrated leader” who has been supportive of his staff. Others called him “a masterful communicator” who continually seeks collaboration and shows “the highest level of communication.”
This year, he has collaborated with Southold Superintendent David Gamberg and Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Steve Cohen in organizing a forum at Stony Brook of acclaimed international educators. They shared practices that are succeeding in raising the level of education in other countries. The aim of the three superintendents was to focus on alternatives to the controversial Common Core standards that rely heavily on testing of students and linking results to teacher performance assessments.
The three superintendents are working to collaborate on more programs going forward and hoping other area superintendents will join the effort.
Despite financial constraints, Dr. Hynes has successfully launched a collaborative teaching program on Shelter Island, creating two major centers of study in secondary education — one focused on math, science and technology and the other on humanities, combining English and social studies. That collaborative approach is being extended to the elementary school level in September.
Dr. Hynes is to receive the award on June 13 at a dinner and ceremony at the Wang Center at Stony Brook University.