South Orangetown Central School District

Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Karen Tesik, Ed.D. was honored on May 19 by CANDLE Rockland as one of its inaugural recipients of the Eileen Browning Award, which honors “outstanding support of substance abuse prevention for youth.” Browning is credited with leading a group of concerned parents to found the organization–Community Awareness Network for a Drug-Free Life and Environment–in 1982. The awards were presented at CANDLE Rockland’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Tesik was the recipient of the Eileen Browning Award for her continued support of the ongoing partnership between CANDLE and the District. “CANDLE is an invaluable resource for our students and families. We work with CANDLE and our Family Engagement Center to provide free counseling as well as referrals for long term support,” said Tesik. “We also collaborate with CANDLE to provide professional development along with guidance and support for local families through workshops such as the vaping workshop we held earlier this month. They are always ready to help and I am so grateful for the continued partnership.”

Tesik first joined the South Orangetown Central School District in 2009 as principal of the South Orangetown Middle School. During her tenure, SOMS was designated in 2015, and re-designated in 2018, as a National School-to-Watch Model School for excellence in middle-level education. In April 2018, she was appointed as the Interim Director for Pupil Personnel Services, and was subsequently named Executive Director in July 2019 and Assistant Superintendent in July 2021. Over the past four years, Tesik has designed and developed a comprehensive model of supports and services for all students which encompasses school counseling, school nursing, special education and the Family Engagement Center. To meet the rapidly-evolving needs of students and staff at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tesik spearheaded and oversaw a number of responsive services and innovative collaborations, including the SOCSD Food Pantry, the staff child care program at the Blauvelt Sons of Italy and the District’s COVID-19 contact tracing team.

Tesik holds a doctoral degree in executive leadership with a focus on social justice, master’s degrees in instructional technology and school administration, New York State licenses for School District Leader and 7-12 Math, and a competency certificate in assistive and adaptive technologies.

Karen Tesik