The William Floyd School District is saddened to announce the passing of Jeananne Dawson, 71, of Mastic, longtime vice president and 40-year member of the William Floyd Board of Education, whose dedication, vision and pride in her school community has helped the district grow into the success that it has become today.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mrs. Dawson, and we express our heartfelt sympathies to her family and friends,” said Kevin M. Coster, Superintendent of Schools, William Floyd School District. “She will be greatly missed on the Board of Education but her legacy will live on due to all that she has accomplished and contributed to the students and families of the William Floyd community during her four decades of selfless service.”
Robert Vecchio, president, William Floyd Board of Education shared similar sentiments, adding, “Mrs. Dawson leaves behind a tremendous legacy of service and passion for our students and community. She always believed in our students and William Floyd as a whole. She was Floyd Strong until the end.”
Dawson’s William Floyd story began in 1975, when she and her husband, Richard, and young son, Mark, settled in Mastic.
In those early years as a community resident, Mrs. Dawson started attending school board meetings and felt strongly that a system is only as good as the people involved in it. Split sessions, portable classrooms and a district with a less than stellar reputation was not what she wanted for her children. She decided that she needed to get involved. A self-described “mom in a ponytail” looking to help her district and community succeed, she applied for and was appointed in 1979 to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education. She was then elected and subsequently re-elected by the community for 13 consecutive three-year terms – some of which were contested and others unopposed.
During her tenure, she helped create and incorporate a growing sense of vision and community, as well as the pursuit and attainment in advances of curriculum philosophy and consistent growth in academic progress. She was instrumental in bringing the award-winning NJROTC program to the district and helped initiate state-of-the-art building projects which eventually led to the end of split sessions and portable classrooms — a stark contrast to the recent capital project that she advocated for which will be transformational for district students and the community with upgrades such as an adaptive playground, new auditoriums for all three secondary buildings, new air conditioning in three elementary buildings currently without, new multi-sport turf fields and more.
She undertook and accomplished so much as a working mother of two children helping her children thrive and succeed. Her son, Mark Dawson, is a member of the William Floyd High School Class of 1991, and a physical education teacher, and her daughter, Michelle Becker, is a member of the William Floyd High School Class of 1994, and a master colorist and style director in the salon industry. Dawson also had the opportunity to serve on the board during her grandson Daniel’s time at William Floyd.
In addition to her volunteer service on the Board of Education, Dawson also served as the tournament coordinator for the William Floyd Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament, a charity fundraiser that since its inception has raised more than $550,000 in student scholarships for deserving William Floyd High School graduating seniors.
Dawson’s greatest legacy, beyond all that she has accomplished as a Board of Education member, is that of her children and grandchildren who have witnessed her dedication of volunteerism and love for her community throughout their lives. She is survived by her husband, Richard; their son, Mark, daughter-in-law, Lauren, and grandchildren, Brody and Bella of East Moriches; and their daughter, Michelle, and her partner, Ricky, their grandson, Daniel, and step-grandson, Devin of Coram. She is also survived by siblings: Donna and Tom, as well as their spouses, brother-in-law Paul, sister-in-law, Lowell; and another sister-in-law, Carole. She is predeceased by her brother, Jim.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Dawson requested that donations be made to the William Floyd Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament c/o C21 Cor-Ace Realty, 346 Montauk Highway, Suite I, Moriches, NY, 11955, or the A.R.E. Rico Memorial Foundation, PO Box 725, Center Moriches, NY 11934.