Posted on July 16, 2013

‘The Great Gypsy’ on Hempstead School Reading List, Official Blames Administration for 30 Errors

Zoe Mintz, International Business Times, July 10, 2013

summer reading list for a Long Island school district has some unusual recommendations for its students. “The Great Gypsy” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and authors, George Ornell and Emily Bonte, to name a few.

In a list for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, the Hempstead Public Schools summer reading list has more than 30 mistakes, Newsday reports. Misspellings include authors’ names and book titles.

Roger Tilles, a member of the New York State Department of Education’s Board of Regents, blames the school’s administration.

“It indicates again that a stable administration is absolutely essential for kids to get the kind of education they need,” he said in a statement. {snip}

Hempstead Public Schools has been one of Long Island’s worst-performing school systems, Newsday reports. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the district held a 38 percent graduation rate–the lowest in Long Island’s 124 public school districts.

Earlier this month, the school board announced it would be rehiring Hempstead school district Superintendent Susan Johnson. Her salary, which would peak at $265,000 by 2016, has stirred controversy.


Hempstead has had a long history of administrative problems. In 2005, Johnson was fired while the district owed $6 million in unpaid bills to suppliers. Other Hempstead school administrators have been convicted of larceny, accused of financial scandals and allegations of corruption, the New York Times reports.


In April, Johnson said she’s committed to revitalizing the ailing school district. “The district is returning to basics,” she said. “It’s every job title in this district working together to make this dream come true.”

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson

[Editor’s Note: A video report related to this story is available here.]