The Arts


September 2022 brings many new faces and exciting ideas and innovations to our programs. First, at the district administration level, we have a new board president in Kelly Barry and a newly elected board member in Donna Downing. On July first,  we welcomed the leadership of Superintendent, Mr. Matthew Gaven. During the summer Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Nicole Moriarty and Assistant to the Superintendent for Personnel, Mr. John Murphy, and new HS Principal, Dr. Patrick Walsh began their administrative duties.  

One of Mr. Gaven’s priorities is the continual review and revision of our curricula. Over the summer, Dr. Fryling and Mrs. Mark updated the IB Music Curriculum to reflect changes from the International Baccalaureate, and Ms. Corona revised our Elementary General Music Curriculum to include Kindergarten music instruction.  Last summer, Ms. Broder updated the Elementary Art Curriculum to reflect the inclusion of Kindergarten Art instruction.     

Outstanding Performers and Artists

Each summer, I look forward to hearing about our high school students who qualified to perform at NYSSMA’s All State Conference in December. Congratulations to Ali Pullaro, who will play flute in the All State Symphonic Band, and to Toby Dwyer, trombonist in the All State Symphony Orchestra! Congratulations to Toby, who was also named an Alternate for the Jazz Ensemble and to Paul Adal who was selected as an alternate for the All State String Orchestra.    

Congratulations to Isabella Coles who was selected to sing in the All National Honors Choir at the NAfME (National Association for Music Education) Conference in November.  It is a rare distinction to represent Rockville Centre at the national level! 

I am always filled with pride and joy at the high level of accomplishment of these students, all the district’s teachers, and their level of dedication to their craft and pride in their work.  

Welcome New Teachers

This year, I am pleased to welcome elementary general music teacher Kirsten Ruvolo to our Music Department. She will teach at Watson and Covert.  In June, we said good-bye to veteran high school band teacher, Mr. Nicholas Catino.  Replacing him will be veteran middle school band teacher, Mr. Anthony Pomponio. Welcome to South Side Middle School’s new band teacher, Brendan Beiersdorfer.  This year, Julia Bremer will fill in at Hewitt for General Music teacher Christina Toomey who will continue her family leave. 

In the Family and Consumer science Department at South Side Middle School, June saw the retirement of two long time teachers, Mrs. Pat Quinn ad Mrs. Jean Horn.  The middle school will welcome new FACS teachers Leijla Xhelili and Erica Heffez in September. 

Welcome to all our new and returning teachers!

After the unusual couple of years year that just passed, I am acutely aware of how critical it is to work creatively to find solutions to logistical problems in consultation with a variety of stakeholders.  More than ever, I am grateful for the collaboration and cooperation of a supportive board of education, dedicated administrators at the district and building levels and high-quality professionals who teach our children, along with students, parents, the Arts Sponsors, Education Foundation, and AIM Committees in this wonderful community.  Together we will work on the continued development of arts education.  It’s good to be back for 2022-2023!

Brian Zuar, Ed.D. - Director of the Arts - September 2022

Director's Doc


the arts

Rockville Centre Schools’ Music Education Program
Receives National Recognition

The District is one of 4% of school districts in nation to receive the distinction.

Rockville Centre, NYApril, 2022–

For the sixth consecutive year, the Rockville Centre School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Rockville Centre is one of 4% of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2022.

The Best Communities Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, district administrators answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This award recognizes that Rockville Centre School District is leading the way with music learning opportunities that were creatively adapted during this unusual school year with its restrictions imposed by a worldwide pandemic. 

As Rockville Centre UFSD finalizes its 2022-2023 budget, The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education Award and the state level implementation of the federal ESSA law bring attention to the importance of keeping music education part of curriculum offerings and available to all students. It also highlights music’s vital role in students’ overall success in school and the personal benefits of making music. Music and the Arts in Rockville Centre Schools have always been important to the social emotional development of our students. This was especially true during the last two years when ensemble performance helped combat the isolation that came with quarantining and social distancing.   

            Rockville Centre offers General Music instruction alongside Band, Orchestra and Choral ensembles in all of its elementary schools.  In the 2021-2022 school year we added music and art instruction to the kindergarten curriculum.  South Side Middle School and High School give students the opportunity to explore music composition, sequencing and engineering in modern music laboratories equipped with electronic instruments and computer software and hardware.  The secondary school students also continue to develop their performing skills in higher level instrumental and vocal groups, including Jazz ensembles. The high school offers 11th and 12th graders IB Music, a comprehensive music curriculum that integrates performance, composition, and research at the commencement level. 

Students who live in Rockville Centre have had a broad range of opportunities to perform in community-based theatre troupes, bands, orchestras, and choirs, as well as county level advanced performing ensembles where they can use and improve the skills they learn in school. 

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,300 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

Karen Baer receiving the Established Educator Award

Karen Baer taught in Rockville Centre over three decades, most of them at SSHS.  She inaugurated the IB Music Program, and is a distinguished choral music teacher and concert pianist.  After her retirement from RVC in 2012, Mrs. Baer worked as an adjunct professor at Adelphi University, conducting choirs and supervising student teachers.  For more than 20 years, she accompanied the All State Honors Choirs at the annual NYSSMA Winter Conference.  In the Winter of 2019, NYSSMA awarded her the Established Educator Award in recognition her outstanding accomplishments in the advancement of Music Education.  Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic prohibited them from actually presenting her with the plaque, until today. 

Pictured with Mrs. Baer are Dr. Brian Zuar, Director of the Arts in Rockville Centre, Mr. Michael Salzman, Director of Music in Syosset and Past President of NYSSMA, and Susan Weber, retired music teacher and Chair of NYSSMA’s Award Committee. 


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