Beth Rosenman, lead teacher at the Denton Avenue School, is taking over the Herricks School District Summer Recreation program this year for the late Craig Lagnese.
Lagnese had run the program for children in grades K through 8 over the past seven years before his death last November.
Rosenman takes the reins of a program that is entering its 44th year in the school district.
“I thought it was something I could do to make a difference,” said Rosenman, who had enjoyed prior experiences working in summer camps.
She said she’s “honored” to be taking Lagnese’s place and appreciates the legacy he left.
“He’s developed a very dedicated staff and it’s a family-like environment,” said Rosenman.
She said some of the volunteers and teachers in the recreation program are former Herricks students who went through the summer recreation program themselves.
A graduate of Herricks High School, Rosenman has been a teacher in the Denton Avenue School, where the summer recreation program is based, since 1984. She was a student teacher in the district in 1982.
She started out in 1984 teaching kindergarten and first grade. For the past five years, she had taught kindergarten and been the lead teacher at the school.
“I help to solve problems in the building, whether it means helping kids or teachers solve problems, and planning events,” Rosenman said.
Rosenman participated in a work/study program while at Herricks High, helping out in classrooms at the school as a teaching assistant.
“That’s when I was introduced to Denton,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher.”
Rosenman earned her bachelors degree in elementary education at Adelphi University after graduating from Herricks. She also earned her masters degree in early childhood and a certification in administration from Adelphi.
But the desire to become a teacher took root in Rosenman at a much younger age.
“I used to play school with my friends and brothers,” she said.
Rosenman said she always took on the role of teacher with her three older brothers.
This year in the summer recreation program, which runs from July 5 through Aug. 15, she plans to put on a carnival and hold Olympics-type athletics competition, anticipating the upcoming Summer Olympics. She also plans to solicit suggestions for other activities.
“I’m going to try to find out from the staff and kids what they would like,” Rosenman said.
Parents pay $927 to send their children for a full-day summer recreation session at Denton Avenue and $556 for a half-day with lower rates for second and third siblings who participate.
She’s had plenty of experience with coming up with activities for grade schoolers.
The idea to hold a flash mob dancing to a Beyonce tune as a fitness activity at Denton Avenue earlier this year occurred to her after she witnessed something similar at a wedding.
“It was my seed,” she said “And it just happened.”
It actually required some planning and several weeks of practicing for Denton Avenue students learning the Beyonce routine in physical education classes.
Rosenman also played a key role in planning Heritage Week, a week when students take part in cultural activities at the Denton Avenue School. She said Heritage Week, which was last held during the 2010-11 school year, will be revived in the 2012-13 school year.
“It’s learning about other cultures and similarities between the cultures,” Rosenman said.
In her leisure time, she said, she enjoys spending time with her two children, as well as other family members and friends.