By Peter Sloggatt
Elizabeth Black became known locally during the nine years she served on the Huntington school board, and later as a candidate for public office. However, Black, who died this past October of ovarian cancer at age 63, might have preferred to be remembered for her day-to-day work as an educator. Over four decades as a teacher, Black taught English at the middle and high school levels, and as an adjunct professor for Syracuse University.
Black was recognized in 2008 as an “Educator of Excellence” by the New York State English Council, a professional organization for English teachers. At the time, she was teaching at Kings Park High School and serving as a trustee on the Huntington Union Free Dchool District Board of Education.
“Your work shows a dedication to your own learning and profession that inspires your students and your colleagues,” read a letter informing Black of the award. “The Educator of Excellence Award honors those teachers who are leaders in the classroom, collaborators with colleagues and mentors for those teachers new to the profession.”
The award reflects Black’s “all-in” approach to many aspects of her life. Not one to watch from the sidelines, Black got deeply involved.
Shortly after her death, Black was remembered by sister-in-law Bronwyn Black-Kelly as “dynamic woman who was very active in her community in all aspects.”
Several years ago she also played a part in the revival led by Black-Kelly of the Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians Ladies Division, after the women’s Irish heritage organization had grown inactive.
Black was also deeply involved with her church, St. Hugh of Lincoln R.C. Church in Huntington Station, as a lector and Eucharistic minister.
Huntington Superintendent of Schools Raymond Polansky recalled Black as an advocate.
“She was an advocate for this district. She was an advocate for all children. She was an advocate for the education profession,” Polansky said. ”She was a true champion of education.”