At the end of the week, Nomi Rosen will retire after nine years in the Glen Cove City School District. Rosen spent the past five years as principal of Deasy Elementary School and served as the district’s fine arts coordinator for four years. She brought her theater background and “whole child” approach to learning to the district, implementing three unique spaces at Deasy that ensure her tenure will be felt for years to come. In fact, she has so enjoyed this aspect of her job that she will continue to devote her energy to developing creative curriculum in another district.
“This is my 42nd year in education, and I’m not done,” said Rosen.
Rosen’s career began in New York City Schools, where she was a consultant to integrated curriculum with teachers in the arts for 25 years, and also ran a theater company. She then spent 17 years at Greenburgh Central 7 School District in Hartsdale as part-time arts coordinator, part-time international baccalaureate coordinator and part-time music teacher, a three-part position, prior to coming to Glen Cove.
She was hired as the fine arts coordinator until the position was cut due to budget constraints, then stayed in the district as principal in 2010 when the job became available. In the past several years, she has turned Deasy into a school where children have lots of opportunities to engage and learn through integrated curriculum.
“I brought three exciting spaces to Deasy,” said Rosen, noting that she implemented them with the teachers and PTA members.
Six years ago, Rosen brought Discovery Cove to Deasy, as fine arts coordinator, but it wasn’t put to use until she became principal. A large room that was being used for storage, it was transformed and is now equipped with computers, a science lab and lots of open space.
“Teachers take risks, experiment and co-teach with other classes,” explained Rosen.
“Installations can be kept up. It’s a space where everyone in a grade level can go down and work with an installation. It’s technology-rich and also has a ‘whole child’ aspect.”
Rosen said she built a science curriculum into each grade so that their learning is more integrated. Classes also use the space to Skype with specialists and attend special events.
“There’s lots of space to teach and you can do messy things that you can’t do in your own classroom,” Rosen said. “It frees you.”
Another space she brought to the school several years ago is the garden, which was part of the second grade’s study of soil.
“We brought in a farmer who taught the kids about planting,” Rosen said. “The kids began planting in the classroom until they grew strong enough to go into the garden. They took measurements and harvested, then had a party making salad pizza.”
Finally, this year, imagination playground was brought to Deasy, a joint project between Rosen and the PTA; it is essentially a room with big, foam blocks that allows kids to engineer and design.
“Teachers get out of the way and kids build on their own,” Rosen said.
Rosen had lots of praise for the teachers and staff at Deasy and said she really likes the incoming principal, Ken Craft, and is confident the spaces she implemented will continue to be well utilized.
“I’m going to step away, but hopefully everything keeps going,” said Rosen.“That’s the goal; if it’s really good, it’s sustainable without the leader.”
She said she has loved her time in the district, but at 65, is ready to move on.
Rosen, who lives in New York City with her husband, Ralph, will be working part-time in Baldwin in five elementary schools, bringing in integrated curriculum, arts and science related, working with teachers and principals.
She said that Dr. Shari Camhi, the former assistant superintendent for curriculum and technology, approached her when she heard she was retiring and offered her the position.
She said she did a little more outreach this year, which she will do in her next job and is looking forward to it.
While she was a jazz flutist until she became an administrator and didn’t have enough time to practice, she doesn’t plan on taking it up again.
“This is too much fun,” she said. “To me, this is a better improvisation because more people are in it with you, where in music, you’re in it with only few people. This is bigger and kids are involved. It’s thrilling to watch them discover the world and not get in their way. To give them the skills to do that, it’s a pretty exciting job.”