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Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin Meets with Wyandanch School District

It was an exciting day in the Wyandanch School District, when Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin visited the district to meet with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gina Talbert, members of the board of education and district administrators. Joining the lieutenant governor was Sen. John Brooks and Suffolk County Legislator Jason Richberg.

After a warm welcome, including the presentation of Wyandanch School District jackets, the lieutenant governor, Sen. Brooks and legislator Richberg met with Board of Education President Latesha Walker, Vice President Yvonne Robinson, trustee Shirley Baker and administrators where Dr. Talbert presented an overview of the district’s achievements and challenges. The presentation focused on the district’s current infrastructure issues due to years of increase in the immigration student population as well as community growth resulting in overcrowding and the need for additional school buildings to ensure the district can continue its mission of academic growth for all learners. 

During her presentation, Dr. Talbert shared an overview of the community profile including the lack of commercial property taxes, the community’s high poverty level, increasing student needs including special education and the district’s ENL population, and increased trauma on students and staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most school districts on Long Island, the Wyandanch School District has seen an increase in enrollment during the past 10 years of 629 students at all grade levels. Moving forward, the district is hoping to have the funding needed to address these issues by building additional schools.

Both the lieutenant governor and Sen. Brooks acknowledged Dr. Talbert for the work she is doing in the district and congratulated her for being recognized by News 12 on the 2021 Long Island State of Our Schools Honor Roll which noted Dr. Talbert’s focus is quality education for a variety of diverse learners for each student to thrive and reach their full potential.

Following the presentations and discussions, the lieutenant governor toured the school district visiting Lafrancis Hardiman Elementary School where he was thoroughly entertained by a lively performance by the LFH Bucket Drummers. Lt. Gov. Benjamin was so impressed, he joined the group to show his own drumming talents. He thanked the students and promised to ensure the students have what they need to succeed. “I will do everything I can to see that you have everything you need to be successful,” Lt. Gov. Benjamin said. “Work hard and do your best every day and you can become anything you want to be.”

Before his tour of the school district ended, he visited Martin L. King Jr. Elementary School, he viewed the school’s Wall of Honor and met with the leaders of the school’s Student Council where he was presented with a certificate of recognition from the Town of Babylon. Lt. Gov. Benjamin thanked the members of the board of education, and administration for the work they are doing for the students and promised to return to the district in the future.