Visionary Award: Marc Epstein
Marc Epstein has been an educational technology leader for over three decades at the elementary, secondary, and district levels. He is a passionate advocate for advancing technology integration through leadership, collaboration, and professional development. One of his guiding principles is that an outstanding technology program prioritizes people over devices. Marc helped to create the first elementary computer program in the Elmont Public Schools. As the computer coordinator of Great Neck South Middle School several years later, Marc implemented new computer courses, established innovative laptop and telecommunications initiatives, taught a variety of in-service courses, and chaired two district technology committees that developed Great Neck’s first technology plan. Marc was promoted as the district’s first Director of Technology and he cultivated one of the premier education technology programs on Long Island for more than two decades. He oversaw technology budgets, built a staffing structure, formed school technology committees, developed a Technology Academy staff development program, installed wired and wireless networks, established technology policies, launched the district’s website and social media presence, implemented dozens of educational systems, added SMART Boards to every classroom, created a district-wide 1:1 iPad Initiative, and co-chaired the district’s school reopening committee for instruction and remote education.
Marc is honored to receive an award named for former colleague Fred Podolski, Marc’s second Nassau BOCES leadership award. Ten years ago, he was named the 2010-2011 Administrator of the Year by the Nassau School Library System. He credits his accomplishments to Great Neck’s outstanding and supportive teachers, library and technology staff, building and central administrators, Board trustees, parent leaders, and community members. Marc resides in Jericho with his wife Yvonne, is the proud father of Amanda and Matthew, and is excited that the new majority owner of the New York Mets is a Great Neck Public Schools alumnus.
Most Innovative Use of Technology Award: Karen Krukowski
Karen Krukowski began her teaching career in 1995 at Southold Elementary School as a 4th-grade teacher and has remained in Southold for the past 25 years. Karen has taught all but 2nd and 5th grades during her career at SES. For the past six years, she has been teaching Kindergarten. She has enjoyed co-teaching in an inclusive setting for many years and attributed the collaborative nature of that model with challenging her to develop a more individualized approach to student learning. Karen attributes her drive to continually grow as an educator to two of her former High School teachers, who mentored her during the pursuit of her Master’s degree. They instilled in her a desire to always be learning and to share that love of learning with her students every day. This has been an essential part of how she approaches teaching and has pushed her to take risks and pursue new opportunities to grow as an educator. Karen strives to use technology to foster student creativity and independence while learning. She loves finding and sharing technology that can help lessen the workload for her and her colleagues. Karen uses technology to help build the home/school connections that foster a strong classroom community and bolster student success. This particular use of technology has become especially important in supporting students and their families during the pandemic.
Karen has been a member of the District Tech Committee. She spearheaded the use of ESGI as a K-2 assessment tool for the District and has been featured in multiple online publications for OpenConcept Classroom Design and the Important Role of Play in the Classroom. Karen lives in Southold with her husband and their two college-aged children.