Board of Education Profiles

Cathy Flanagan

Cathy Flanagan, resident of Plainedge since 1992, was elected to the Plainedge Board of Education in 2005. Mrs. Flanagan served as Vice President of the School Board and has been the Board President for multiple years. Mrs. Flanagan, a staunch advocate for the children and taxpayers of Plainedge, continues to bring tax stability to the district while delivering a quality education.

Mrs. Flanagan has been recognized numerous times by the New York State School Board Association (NYSSBA), earning NYSSBA’s Leadership in Governance and Master Boardsmanship Awards, the School Board URecognition Award, the Board Excellence Award, and the Board Mastery Award.  In 2013 NYSSBA appointed Mrs. Flanagan to  the National School Board’s Federal Relations Network where she represents Plainedge on the federal level and has access to members of Congress throughout the year to discuss NSBA’s and NYSSBA’s positions on key education issues.

Mrs. Flanagan’s dedication to community service in Plainedge has also earned her Nassau County’s prestigious Women of Distinction Award in 2009 and the New York State Assembly’s Woman of Distinction Award in 2016.

Raymond Paris

Raymond Paris, became a resident of the district in 1994, and is also a member of the Plainview Fire Department.

He has two college-aged children and more than 25 years of leadership and management experience in the business sector. As a vice president of operations, he has gained key skills in negotiation, collaboration and problem-solving through teamwork.

Mr. Paris believes that his “real-world experience,” combined with his desire to work with others to create a world-class educational system while demanding smart usage of our limited resources, will be an asset to the school board. He is also active with the PAL Lacrosse league.

Dennis Gustafson

Dennis Gustafson has been a resident of Plainedge since 1995. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Stony Brook University.

Dennis has worked in the financial institutions sector (insurance/banking) for the past twenty years in many roles, including the management of budgets and P&L statements.

He had been an officer in SEPTA for several years, including three years as President/Co-President. Dennis also volunteers as a PAL basketball coach.

Eric Szillus

Eric Szillus, a resident of Plainedge since 2004, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Hunter College, a Master’s degree in Nursing Education and a Post Masters Certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Wagner College. Currently practicing Internal/Pulmonary Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner, Eric has been a nursing Instructor at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and a Burn unit Nurse Manager at Staten Island University Hospital, having opened and operated the Burn ICU both clinically and administratively. Recently retired from the FDNY Engine 227 Ladder 114 in Brooklyn, Eric is also an Iraq War Veteran, having provided medical care for wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Along with 22 years military service, Eric serves the Plainedge community through fire safety lectures for Easplain Elementary students, provides field and equipment maintenance for Plainedge Youth Lacrosse League, coaches the PGSA, fundraisers for the Plainedge High School orchestra, and serves as the current co-president of the PHS Lacrosse Crease Club.

Sisi Townson

Sisi Wong Townson, a resident of Plainedge since 2004, worked as a corporate travel agent for a number of years before opening up a successful entertainment travel business in 1999.  Working with top entertainment acts, the success of this business eventually led to an article being written in the Money section of USA Today in 2002.

While Sisi currently owns and operates her own business, she is actively involved in the Plainedge PTA community, having not only been a volunteer but also holding the position of chairperson to different committees as well as serving on the PTA board.  Positions have included Co-President for both the Charles E. Schwarting and the Plainedge Middle School PTA.



Sonny Spagnuolo

Sonny Spagnuolo is a 20-year Plainedge resident and a self-employed realtor/real estate investor. Sonny is the father of three children who attend the Plainedge schools: a daughter in 9th grade, a son in 6th grade, and a special needs son in Kindergarten.

He comes from a family of educators and believes that a strong education is the root and the foundation of a fulfilling and rewarding life. He is currently continuing his own education toward earning his college degree. Sonny has been serving the children of Plainedge since 2006 as a soccer coach and as a board member of the Plainedge Soccer Club. He is also a coach and a member of the Plainedge Youth Baseball League. Sonny recently founded “Rocco’s Voice for Autism,” a not-for-profit charity dedicated to helping children who are on the Autism spectrum and their families.


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