Planning to stay for a while
Bay Shore’s new interim Superintendent Joe Bond visits with students.

Photo provided by Bay Shore School District

Planning to stay for a while

Story By: RICK CHALIFOUX
9/24/2015


BAY SHORE—Last July, former Brentwood Superintendent Joseph C. Bond was named the interim Superintendent of the Bay Shore School District. The Islip resident brings with him 23 years of educational experience filled with an array of highlights and accomplishments.

Bond is a graduate of East Islip High School, where he was an exceptional athlete, playing baseball, basketball and football. He received his master’s in education from Dowling College (where he attended on a baseball scholarship) as well as a Professional Diploma in education and administration from Touro College. His wife, Susan, is a retired first grade teacher from Islip, with whom he has two sons, Joseph—a technology education teacher in Brentwood—and Christopher—who serves as communications director for the House majority whip in Washington, D.C.

After initially spending about a decade working in the financial sector on Wall Street—first as a financial consultant for Shearson Lehman/American Express and then as vice president of investments at Prudential/Bache Securities—Bond decided to switch career paths and enter the field of education.

“I was putting in long hours and wasn’t able to spend enough time with my family,” said Bond. “At a certain point in time, the right opportunity opened up for me to pursue the goal of becoming a teacher and coach.”

In 1992, Bond joined the Brentwood district, where he served as a teacher, coach and building administrator before ascending to superintendent from 2010 to 2015. During those five years, he raised the graduation rate by approximately 20 percent while cutting suspension rates in half. The district also enjoyed its highest credit rating at AA while passing five consecutive budgets.

Outside the classroom, Bond helped establish a mobile food pantry with Long Island Cares that served hundreds of families each month. He also successfully established a universal free breakfast program for every student in the district.

“A child can’t focus or learn when they’re hungry,” said Bond. “So we did something about childhood hunger and it was a great success there. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be able to do the same program in Bay Shore, so we’ve already started discussions about that.

“Basically, when you get everybody working together, good things happen,” added Bond. “I came in with a good working relationship among various parties and was able to shape certain policies that led to good results.”

Following the expiration of his five-year contract, Bond decided to move on from Brentwood. After receiving a range of job offers from districts both statewide and nationwide, he reached a mutual agreement with Bay Shore to currently serve on a one-year interim basis. After the start of the New Year, they will determine his status going forward.

“Quite honestly, Bay Shore has been the gold standard that other districts can only aspire to,” said Bond. “This is a great community, a great board, and we have such great programs for our kids. We have full-day UPK (universal pre-kindergarten) for every student here, we have an IB (International Baccalaureate) program that’s the envy of all the districts around us, and we have tons of AP (Advanced Placement) classes. So when Bay Shore calls, you have to listen.”

Looking ahead, Bond is exploring the possibility of developing a universal breakfast program in Bay Shore similar to Brentwood’s. This year, the district just implemented a laptop pilot program, in which 10 percent of ninth grade humanities students (a total of 50) were given MacBooks to use for schoolwork.

“It’s basically preparing our students for the reality of the 21st-century workforce,” said Bond. “It allows the students the ability to work more collaboratively with each other. This program will provide us with the data that will help us to determine if we can scale this up for next year or the year after.”

Bond is also looking to expand upon an ongoing comprehensive program that encourages students and faculty to incorporate energy-saving practices into their daily lives. Since last September, the district has already saved 970,000 hours of electricity and 7,300 gallons of oil, which translates to the prevention of 433 metric tons of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Other items going forward include advanced math for third- to fifth-graders and the future use of the Bay Shore Armory.

“Even though I’m technically here on an interim basis, we’re moving the district forward and we’re keeping our eyes on the future,” said Bond “At this point, it’s my intention to stay here and I think they’d like to have me, so the board and I will work to see if it’s mutually beneficial for both of us [going forward] sometime early next year.”

Bond noted that a key challenge facing the district is the implementation of the Common Core Curriculum. 

“Right now, the governor is working to put a panel together consisting of legislators, superintendents and teachers, and they’re going to look for ways to kind of fix this system, because it’s not working,” said Bond. “They’re trying to eliminate the opt-out movement by taking out some of their concerns, so we’ll see what comes up.”

Bond said that he hopes the state can fix the program’s issues and make it fair for all involved parties.

“Everyone is for higher standards, but the Common Core wasn’t [properly] rolled out,” said Bond. “Everybody realized that this was rushed. It was put in without debugging certain things and hopefully now they’re going to put together a system with tests that will be developmentally appropriate for children and fair to teachers.

“Make a fair system and get people to buy in,” added Bond. “Give everybody a place at the table to express their concerns, and out of this hopefully comes something that we can all work with.”

Bond is also active in both the community and volunteer work. He is a 27-year member of the Lions Club of the Islips, where he served as president from 1993-1994. During that time, he was awarded a Melvin Jones Fellow—the highest award in Lionism. For two summers following Hurricane Katrina, he spent a week each July rebuilding homes in New Orleans.