Massapequa Superintendent Displays On 45 Years In Schooling
MASSAPEQUA, NY – A 45-year educational career, split almost halfway between the Massapequa and Franklin Square school districts, is about to come to an end for Lucille Iconis, who will retire as the headmistress of Massapequa on September 30th. She fondly remembers the many accomplishments, the great relationships she has made, and the thousands of students whose lives she has touched.
“I know it’s time,” she said of her retirement. “A new perspective brought by a new manager is always healthy for any company. There is always room for improvement and further development.”
Iconis completed her teaching degree in record time at Hofstra University. At the age of 20, she was hired as a second grade teacher at Washington Street School in Franklin Square. She made a little over $ 11,000 a year and couldn’t believe she was being paid to do something she loved.
She later became a reading specialist and went back to school in the early 1990s to earn her administrative certificate. She first used this in 1999, left Franklin Square after 23 years and arrived in Massapequa as the assistant principal of the East Lake Elementary School. A year later she was named director of East Lake.
Iconis said she loved working in a school setting, so in 2005, with some reluctance, she moved to Massapequa headquarters as assistant curriculum and classroom director. Over the next eight years, her position evolved, eventually overseeing the K-12 curriculum and special education. In 2013 she appointed the school office headmistress.
As superintendent assistant, Iconis led the transition from a half-day to a full-day kindergarten program and worked to provide enrichment opportunities for all elementary school students. One of her proudest achievements is the creation of the Eagle Program for Children with Special Needs, which began with two classes in East Lake and has since expanded to include secondary school where students learn life skills in the Career and Community Connections program.
In her eight years as headmistress, Iconis cites the move from sixth grade to Bern secondary school as one of her greatest achievements. She said that despite the controversy at the time, she believed it was the right decision for the students. In the four years that have passed since the first sixth grade started in Berner, the transition has exceeded their expectations.
Other improvements made during her tenure include the creation of the Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES) program, which includes Spanish classes for grades 3-5 students, the introduction of the research-based Advanced Placement Capstone program in the high school, the introduction of engineering Program in partnership with Hofstra University and an increased emphasis on social and emotional learning, including adopting the RULER philosophy of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
“When students are at the center of every decision you make,” she said, “you can never be wrong.”
East Lake was named the Headmistress of the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education, and Massapequa High School received the award while she was superintendent. Iconis is also proud of the way the district has managed the COVID-19 pandemic and commends the administration, teachers and staff for their commitment to children during a difficult time.
“We offered a level of instruction that was far superior to many districts,” she said, noting that in late October last year all students were offered full-time face-to-face tuition.
Iconis, along with Assistant Superintendent Alan Adcock, made it a priority to improve the district’s facilities. Massapequa is about to complete a major project to renovate all of the middle school and six elementary schools’ classrooms. In addition, all classrooms in the district were air-conditioned and the sports facilities at the high and middle schools were expanded.
Adcock and Iconis both started the district in 1999 and have been central government together for 16 years. Appropriately, they retire every month.
“I believe Alan and I will be leaving Massapequa in a better place than when we arrived,” said Iconis.
Iconis said she will miss the concerts, graduation ceremonies, promotion ceremonies and special events at each school, such as the annual honors for veterans. One of her favorite traditions is to read “Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden” every year during the new teacher orientation in order to inspire the next generation of Massapequa educators.
“I’ll miss it,” she said, noting that in retirement she would love to travel and teach some college-level education courses. “Twenty-two years ago I was fortunate enough to get a job in Massapequa. I am very proud of our accomplishments. It is amazing how much the district has advanced. It is testament to our masterful, talented and compassionate educators, I am so proud to be part of this wonderful job. “