Comsewogue Special Education Teacher Katy Dornick has worked in the district for 12 years and is also a proud district graduate.
From her first day working with children with special needs, she felt at home.
“Growing up with a sister with special needs, I felt I could relate to the families and be passionate about helping their child succeed,” Dornick said. “I take pride in what I do and can relate to each family on a personal level.”
After many years of waiting to teach the most needy students in the district, she finally had the chance to move on to high school and teach this special class.
“This is by far the hardest class to teach,” said colleague Andrew Harris. “It takes a lot of time, energy and people management to run the class – and that’s before you even set foot in the classroom and start teaching.”
He added that in this role there is a lot of paperwork and medical knowledge required by the teacher.
“It takes someone with a really strong background and work ethic to make it all work,” he said.
“Not only that, but the students are the happiest I’ve ever seen them with Katy at the helm.”
During the summer, Dornick could be seen rearranging the areas in which the children would work.
“Classroom management is perhaps one of the most important things to have in place to keep things running smoothly and safely,” she said. “Some of my students have critical medical needs, it is a priority and I wanted the educational system to be perfect.
At the start of the school year, a new “sensory room” was created. A perfect place to bring a child – especially autistic children – it’s a place to help calm an anxious student.
One student said it was his favorite place at school.
Recently, Dornicik, along with his class, took on the responsibility of collecting food for our high school. They donate all the food to the district pantry.
She also guided her students in planning and creating personal letters to include when the district sent care packages to veterans graduating from Comsewogue High School. A sailor from California was so excited to receive his gift from his class because he had also had her as a teacher many years ago.
She has always been active in the local community, including the fire department and a coach for sports teams.
“Katy. Dornick is truly one of a kind,” Principal Mike Mosca said. “What she has done for the students in her class and the Comsewogue Life Skills program is nothing short of outstanding. The visit of his class and his students is certainly one of the highlights of my day.
Dornick said it was an honor to tutor him.
“All I can say is that I feel honored to have the opportunity to teach this class,” she said. “I really feel like the luckiest person in the room. There’s a line in a Jordan Davis song that’s true for me in this class: ‘Do what you love and call it work.’ Not a day goes by that I don’t leave this class without a smile on my face. These kids are just amazing and they continue to make me proud every day.