The Great Neck South High School baseball field has been renamed to Prendergast Memorial Field (Photos by Julie Prisco)

Great Neck Public School District Dedicates Baseball Field To Late Superintendent

The Great Neck Public School District (GNPS) and Board of Education hosted a memorial service on Wednesday, May 29, to honor the legacy of late Superintendent Teresa Prendergast. The district and Board of Education renamed the baseball field ‘Prendergast Memorial Field’ and unveiled a beautiful memorial plaque.

Prendergast passed away on June 10, 2023, at age 60 from a ruptured brain aneurysm. 

She was the Great Neck Public School District Superintendent from 2015 to 2023. As a lifelong educator and compassionate leader, every student, parent and staff member in the district admired and appreciated her service to the Great Neck community.

In addition to her love for her job and family,  Prendergast also loved the New York Mets. Inspired by her passion for baseball, the district and Board of Education dedicated the Great Neck South High School baseball field to Prendergast to celebrate her life and career at the district. 

Many students, parents and district staff attended the memorial. Prendergast’s mother, husband James, and three children, Stephen, Kaitlin and Megan, joined them. Daughter Kaitlin and son-in-law Billy brought their child Teresa Grace, named after the late Prendergast.  

To pay their respects and honor Prendergast’s memory, Nassau County Legislator Melesa Mazi Pilip, Town of North Hempstead Council Member Christine Liu and representatives for Assembly Member Gina Sillitti and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi were in attendance. 

Superintendent Kenneth Bossert speaking at the memorial. District staff and Board of Education members are sat to the left and the Prendergast family is sat on the right.

Superintendent Kenneth Bossert welcomed everyone to the memorial service and opened the ceremony.

“Sitting in the same office as Teresa, I have some sense of her daily challenges and some of the wonderful work that she accomplished during her time in Great Neck Public Schools,” said Bossert. “This is a better place for her having served as their leader, and I am humbled to follow in her footsteps.”

To Prendergast’s family, Bossert said, “I thank you all so much for your support and for sharing so much of her with this district and this community for the many years that she served.”

The lasting impact of Prendergast on the district is apparent through her co-workers and friends who spoke at the service. 

Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Stephen Lando worked closely with Prendergast for many years. He said, “I could go on at length about Prendergast’s professional accomplishments, especially while leading the Great Neck Public Schools. Her efforts to promote unity and purpose and our updated mission statement, motto, and logo stood out. They’re all part of Teresa’s GNPS legacy.”

“She led us through the COVID pandemic and ensured that instructional models were in place to meet all needs of all students. Teresa’s ‘children first’ mantra was exemplified by the personal connection that evolved from her interactions with students,” said Lando. “A former secretary, Michelle, reminded me that the cabinet that Teresa had together was a family and had fun together. One can be certain that for Teresa, the mission and her commitment were always very personal. She was the embodiment of devotion to family, and she always supported us in a manner that enabled and encouraged us to manifest that same devotion to our academic and individual families.”

Board of Education Trustee Donna Peirez said, “Teresa was very proud of her education and career. She spoke frequently about how she was a child of the Bronx and the first in the family to go to college. The rest of her career was dedicated to children and making the world a better place for them. We hope this memorial reminds everyone of the happy times that a memorable and dynamic woman brought to her community, our school and her family. Please know that she is remembered as a strong, beautiful mother and a thoughtful, independent woman who brought all that she was to share with her Great Neck community.”

Although U.S. Rep. Suozzi was unable to attend, he gave Prendergast’s family a flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in her memory

Prendergast’s family joined Bossert in unveiling the memorial plaque placed at the baseball field dedicated to her. 

Her son, Stephen, thanked the district community and the Board of Education for the ceremony and dedication.

 “This is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. I don’t even have words to describe how amazing this is,” said Stephen. “My mom really loved working here. She loved everybody that she worked with. She loved the kids. At the end of the day, it was always about the kids.”

To celebrate Prendergast’s love for baseball, staff from Great Neck South played staff from Great Neck North in a softball game after the ceremony. Prendergast’s daughter Megan threw out the first ceremonial pitch of the game. 

The friendly exhibition softball game ended with South 7 and North 6. Each team had 20-30 staff members who volunteered to play. The game was three innings long, and each team had 10 batters per inning.

Refreshments were available at the ceremony. The money from the refreshments sold went toward the Dr. Prendergast Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Prendergast’s daughter Megan threw the first pitch for the ceremonial game

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