FOR RELEASE: September 21, 2022
Jeannette Santos, a member of the Amityville School Board for more than 40 years and a longtime Western Suffolk BOCES board member, is to receive the New York State School Boards Association’s highest honor for school board service in October.
Santos, who has served as president of both the Amityville board and the Western Suffolk BOCES board, has been selected by NYSSBA to receive the Everett R. Dyer Award for Distinguished School Board Service. The award is scheduled to be presented during the Oct.27 opening session for NYSSBA’s 2022 Annual Convention & Education Expo in Syracuse.
Santos joined the Amityville board in 1980 and has been on the executive committee of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association for more than 30 years. In addition to the presidencies of the Amityville and Western Suffolk BOCES boards, her board roles have included board vice presidencies, membership in the BOCES audit committee, and the presidency and other leadership posts in the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.
"Jeannette Santos demonstrates a level of dedication and joy that inspires all of us who devote our time to school board service," said NYSSBA President Peggy Zugibe. "She exemplifies the spirit of collaboration and caring commitment that makes a real difference in the lives of students."
Santos came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1950 at the age of 12. She credits a caring social worker with recognizing her difficulty understanding English and helping her and her siblings learn the new language after they settled in Queens.
"Coming to America as a young, non-English-speaking child, Jeannette took her experiences and became a staunch advocate for children," noted Ilene Herz, board vice president of Western Suffolk BOCES. "Jeannette’s commitment has grown over the years. Her dedication has gained her the love and respect of all those who work with her."
Santos’ involvement in education advocacy started with her work as a PTA volunteer and school athletics booster in the 1960s. She and her now-late husband, Frank, raised three children in the Amityville Union Free School District.
She is a member and past president of the National Caucus of Hispanic School Board Members. And for NYSSBA, Santos has been a School Board Ambassador and served on a Minority Issues Committee. She has regularly participated in NYSSBA training academies, conventions, seminars and retreats to build her board governance skills.
In addition to her school board-related activities, Santos has been active in many community organizations and projects. She has been vice chair of the Town of Babylon Anti-Bias Task Force, a board member for the Sunrise Clinic, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Advisory Committee, chair of the Town of Babylon Hispanic Advisory Committee and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Amityville.
She has received recognition for her activism, including the NYS Golden Apple Award for Volunteers, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Award, Suffolk County Citizen of the Year and the Suffolk County Human Rights Award.
Here’s a photo you can download of Santos: