Two administrators in the North Bellmore School District will be taking on new positions for the 2021-2022 school year. Martin Avenue Elementary School Principal Leyna Malone will move to the district office as the executive director of pupil personnel services and special education. Replacing Ms. Malone as principal of Martin Avenue will be James O’Brien, the current assistant principal of Saw Mill Road School.
Ms. Malone came to the district in 2015 as Saw Mill Road’s assistant principal before moving on to Martin Avenue a year later. Prior to that, she was a teacher in New York City.
When she assumes her new position on July 1, she won’t be moving very far as the district’s central office is located at Martin Avenue. In her new position, she will oversee the special education program as well as the district’s guidance counselor, nurses, psychologists and social workers.
With several special education classes housed at Martin Avenue, Ms. Malone has gained extensive knowledge of the program. She was part of a team that opened new 8-1-2 classes at the school (eight students, one teacher and two aides). Her goal is to continue to grow the special education program, ensure that all students have access to the same learning opportunity and maintain North Bellmore’s strong reputation as an inclusive school district.
“We deliver an incredible special education program here in North Bellmore,” she said “I’m really looking forward to having an impact on education throughout the district.”
In her five years as principal of Martin Avenue, Ms. Malone said she supported teachers with the implementation of Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop, and fostered a sense of community and pride in “our little school with a big heart.”
Mr. O’Brien returns to the school where he attended kindergarten. He said he looks to continue the legacy of Ms. Malone and her predecessors in building a strong school community and fostering a nurturing environment for students.
“I’m definitely excited to work with the staff, the parents and especially the students,” he said. “I look forward to building relationships with the entire Martin Avenue School community.”
Mr. O’Brien is in his 20th year in the district. He was hired in 2001 – the same year that Martin Avenue reopened – as a sixth grade teacher at Saw Mill Road after student teaching there. In January 2019, he became Saw Mill’s assistant principal. Mr. O’Brien said that in that role, he was able to see the school community from a more global view and better understand the synergy that is created to provide students with great learning experiences.
After two decades, he will leave with many treasured memories and a fondness for the Saw Mill Road community, but is looking forward to the new challenge ahead at Martin Avenue. He wants to bring his knowledge as a classroom teacher and his ability to forge relationships to “enrich the vibrant community that is Martin Avenue School.”