District 20 advocate exits

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School District 20 is saying farewell to one of its most dedicated education activists.

Nancy Gasparino, president of District 20’s Presidents Council, which consists of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) presidents from local schools, is leaving the group after years of advocating for children.

The reason for the departure is her youngest child is graduating from junior high school – and members of the presidents’ council must have children in grades kindergarten to eight.

At a meeting of the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 20, which spans Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Borough Park, parents thanked Gasparino for her years of service in a tearful, touching send-off.

“She will be leaving a legacy when she leaves District 20,” said Carlo Scissura, the former president of the district’s CEC and current chief of staff for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “She brought parental involvement to a new place in District 20.”

Offering an example, Scissura said education officials often took Gasparino’s suggestions to heart.

“Nancy yelled and screamed for months and months and months,” Scissura said. “When the region looked, they realized oh my God, Nancy was right.”

“On behalf of everyone in District 20, you made parents matter, you made schools really be a part of the community,” Scissura added. “You are a true District 20 legend.”

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) presented Gasparino with a certificate in appreciation of her hard work.

“I can’t think of anyone but Nancy Gasparino who sticks in my mind as an advocate since I became an elected official,” he said. “The strongest voice that I have heard over the years has been that of Nancy Gasparino.”

Clutching flowers and sitting with friends, Gasparino was taken aback by the kind words bestowed on her.

“It’s very overwhelmi­ng,” she said.

Updated 3:45 pm, October 19, 2011
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