An era is coming to a close for the Manhasset School District with the retirement of Superintendent Charles Cardillo.
The Manhasset community came together on Friday, June 15, on the front lawn of the Manhasset Secondary School to say goodbye to Cardillo with a friendly farewell party with food, festivities and fun, from 4 to 7 p.m. The superintendent’s favorite songs were the soundtrack to the afternoon’s affair.
In 2005, Cardillo was brought before the Manhasset Board of Education and the love affair began. Aline Khatchadourian, former Manhasset Board of Education trustee and current assistant superintendent of the Town of North Hempstead, said, “The best thing we did was hire Charlie Cardillo.”
The lawn, decorated with blue and orange tables adorned with balloons, was filled with well wishers, students, parents, school faculty and staff along with community leaders. Food stations of Cardillo’s favorite foods including hot dogs, chicken kabobs, pizza, big soft pretzels, popcorn and special baked goods with Cardillo’s face emblazoned on cookies were available to all to enjoy and toast good health and happiness to Cardillo’s retirement.
Manhasset High School Principal Dean Schlanger was opening special treats that were favorites of Cardillo for the event. When asked how he felt about the soon departing superintendent he said, “It is bittersweet. Charlie brought me here from Hauppauge.”
Lisa Belinsky, mother of four children who graduated from Manhasset schools said, “He is Mr. Manhasset.”
The day was beautiful and sunny with a bit of a breeze. At 6 p.m., the formal statements of the program began with Dr. Ambrosio being the master of ceremonies. If you didn’t know, Cardillo really loves music and with the help of the Town of North Hempstead providing their stage, the Manhasset Choir came to sing to their endeared superintendent. Cardillo ran over as the students were exiting and thanked each and every one of them personally.
Debbie Cardillo was presented flowers. The tribute continued with Cardillo’s oldest son Craig Cardillo coming to stage with his brothers Chad, Chris and Curt to say, “My dad is one of the hardest working men…The one amazing thing is how he interacts with the students.” In a heartfelt speech which drew tears from Cardillo and his wife Debbie, Craig hit on every characteristic that makes his dad special to him, his family and the Manhasset family he has embraced.
Judi Bosworth, supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, was introduced along with Wayne Wink, town clerk, and Charles Berman, receiver of taxes, to deliver a proclamation declaring June 15, 2017 as Charlie Cardillo Day. “Charlie is the great leader of the community,” said Bosworth.
The program continued with the president of the board of education, Regina Rule, speaking about Cardillo, inviting up former board members and ultimately naming the newly refurbished administration building conference room to be dedicated to Charles Cardillo, which was ratified by the board and witnessed by hundreds of people.
Maureen Marguiles came up to the stage to bestow parting gifts which all had special meaning to the family, including two bicycles, tickets to see Hamilton and a gift card to Ethan Allen to assist in the replacement of all the furniture lost in the fire that destroyed the Cardillo’s home in December 2016.
Cardillo took the floor and in his magnanimous way spoke to the audience with his heart and soul, making sure he thanked everyone. He is just like that, a man who recognizes that it is not one man, but a group of dedicated individuals who make a school community great, from the youngest student to the maintenance staff to each special interest group and everyone involved. Cardillo is thankful for his families: both personal and those in the “Manhasset bubble.”