The New York State School Boards Association named state Sen. John Flanagan, whose district covers Smithtown, Kings Park, Commack, Hauppauge and the Three Village area, the 2012 State Leader of the Year.
Flanagan, R-Smithtown, who serves as the chairman of the New York State Senate Education Committee, was awarded the honor at the association’s annual State Issues Conference in Albany.
NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy Kremer said in a statement that the senator responded to and promoted the association’s legislative agenda, thereby distinguishing himself from all state leaders. He said Flanagan traveled throughout New York to meet with school board members and local legislators to understand the needs of the state.
“While he is firmly grounded in the political realities of the legislative process, he has gone to great lengths to approach public educational reform on a statewide basis,” Kremer said.
David Little, NYSSBA’s director of governmental relations, said that in a year when the tax cap and state aid cuts dominated the headlines, Flanagan managed to draw attention to other school board priorities.
“He is insightful and articulate in his understanding of public education’s objectives and challenges, and he has worked tirelessly to educate himself on all aspects of the enterprise,” Little said. “Senator Flanagan has been accessible and responsive to the issues and concerns of boards of education. And in a year of loose rhetoric, he brought a truthful and collaborative approach to his efforts to address the challenges facing public education.”
Flanagan said he was honored by the award, and said the credit should be shared with the teachers and administrators he has worked with across the state.
“…The simple truth is that this award represents the collaborative efforts of everyone who plays a role in our educational system in New York State and who I am privileged to work with on a daily basis,” he said.