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Two High School Principals Welcomed

The Great Neck Public Schools welcomed new principals at the John L. Miller-Great Neck North High School and at the William A. Shine-Great Neck South High School. Daniel Holtzman is principal at North High, having earned the position upon the retirement of Bernard Kaplan. Christopher Gitz returns to South High, his alma mater, as principal, replacing Susan Elliot who also retired.

Daniel Holtzman

Daniel Holtzman - Daniel Holtzman has 20 years of education experience that includes12 as an administrator. Before coming to Great Neck, Mr. Holtzman was principal of Shoreham-Wading River High School for nine years (2008-17) and assistant principal for two (2006-08). He also served one year as assistant principal at William Floyd High School (2005-06). Mr. Holtzman began his career in education as a social studies teacher, then advanced to instructional specialist for curriculum, grades 9-12, both in the Smithtown Central School District (1997-2005). Mr. Holtzman sought to become North High's new principal as he feels it will afford him "the opportunity to work in a district and a community that not only values education, but also has a stellar reputation for academic success." As North's new principal, he said that it "is important that I observe, listen, ask questions, and learn the culture of the building before establishing goals for the school's future. I want to be a part of the continued and future growth of North High both academically and from a social-emotional standpoint. It is also critical that our students feel safe and welcomed, and that they possess a sense of security within themselves." Although principal for only few weeks, Mr. Holtzman finds that, from the start, "North High has been very welcoming and supportive of me. I could not have asked for a smoother transition to the role here and I am honored to serve as principal." Mr. Holtzman is currently in a doctoral program in administration and supervision at St. John's University. He received a Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences both from Stony Brook University State University of New York. He is a Future Superintendent's Academy Fellow and holds permanent New York State certification in School District Administration and Social Studies Grades 7-12.

Christopher Gitz

Christopher Gitz - Christopher Gitz's educational experience spans more than two decades. Just prior to coming to South High, Dr. Gitz was principal of Lindenhurst High School from 2014-17. Before that, he was assistant principal of Smithtown High School West (2012-14), K-12 supervisor of mathematics in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District (2009-12), assistant principal at Half Hollow Hills High School East (2004-09), and a mathematics teacher at Harborfields High School ((2001-04) and at Valley Stream North High School (1996-2001). He has also been an adjunct associate professor at St. John's University and New York Institute of Technology, and an adjunct professor at Nassau Community College. Dr. Gitz finds South High to be "rich in history and tradition with an established reputation of excellence in education. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be South's next principal. Being a product of the Great Neck Public Schools and a 1990 graduate of South High, I am very excited about giving back to the community and school district that has provided me and my family with so much throughout my life. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff, and community to provide the students of South High with an educational experience that continues to be outstanding and to continue the already established high standards of excellence." He also hopes "to further provide opportunities for students to maximize their involvement and engagement in the school community, and to provide them with the equal opportunity for academic and social success." "Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming," said Dr. Gitz. "It gives me such a great feeling to know that I have become part of something wonderful." Dr. Gitz holds a Doctor of Education in administration and leadership from St. John's University. He received a Master of Science in mathematics education from LIU Brookville, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from Hofstra University. He holds New York State permanent certifications as a School District Business Administrator, School District Administrator, and Mathematics Grades 7-12.


Signatures to Saturn

Cassini Saturn
Cassini Probe

Deidre Elzer-Lento, South Middle School's technology department chair, was going through some old files and came across an article she had saved from Middleview, the school newspaper, from 1997. The article reported on her then seventh-grade technology students who had participated in an exciting project in connection with NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The project began with a technology/industrial arts teacher in California who asked for student signatures from across the country. The signatures would be included on the Cassini space flight. Ms. Elzer-Lento remembers that during the spring of 1997, her students all signed a single piece of paper. She took a photo of it (this was before the days of digital cameras) and sent the photo to the California teacher who scanned it onto a CD, along with many other student signatures. On Oct. 15, 1997, the Cassini spacecraft was launched with the CD as a special part of its cargo. Cassini has now spent some 13 years in orbit around Saturn, after a seven-year flight from Earth, on what NASA calls "one of the most scientifically rich voyages yet undertaken in our solar system." During its time circling Saturn, the spacecraft has sent back a trove of data, including valuable information about Enceladus and Titan, two of Saturn's confirmed 62 moons. This data has revealed the potential for these two moons to contain "habitable, or at least 'prebiotic' environments," NASA reports. As Cassini runs low on the rocket fuel used for making course adjustments, NASA will loose the ability to control Cassini's course and it could collide with one of Saturn's moons. To prevent this possibility, on Friday, Sept. 15, NASA will safely dispose of the spacecraft by directing it into Saturn's atmosphere. According to NASA, as Cassini dives into the planet's atmosphere, it will continue to send data back to Earth until it finally burns up like a meteor, becoming part of the planet. And with the end of Cassini, so, too, comes the end of the signatures of the South Middle seventh-graders. Those seventh-grade signatories are now in their early 30s. Thinking about them, Ms. Elzer-Lento said, "I wonder how many of those students may have followed the Cassini mission over the last two decades and know about its upcoming end. And I wonder how many realize that their names have been in space for almost 20 years!"