Dr. Nathalie C. Lilavois has been an educator for thirty years in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities. As a classroom teacher, she taught at the primary level for ten years. During that time, she also worked as a certified reading specialist, focusing on early literacy. Dr. Lilavois completed her undergraduate degree in elementary education and advanced study in the Teaching of Writing at Hofstra University. She holds a Masters degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Doctorate of Education in Literacy Studies from her alma mater, Hofstra University.
In 1997, Dr. Lilavois attained the district level position of Coordinator of Instruction (Pre-K-12) in Lawrence Public Schools and completed her professional diploma in Supervision and Administration at Queens College, which enabled her to obtain both building and district level administrator certification. Through the responsibilities of the Coordinator position, she gained valuable experience with state testing, professional development, ESL, and gifted education. Additionally, she chaired the district’s Staff Development Day programs. During that time, she also served as President of the Nassau County Association for the Education of Young Children and co-chaired the annual conferences for four years.
She was appointed principal of Boyd Intermediate School in 2000 where she served as the instructional leader for 600 students in grades 3-5. At Boyd, she created and implemented a successful schoolwide enrichment program, Expeditions. In this program, students participated in enrichment clusters over a 10-12 week period to investigate real-world topics they had selected. Teachers also selected areas of interest to teach-- making for interesting, meaningful and engaging learning experiences for all involved.
Two years later, she became the principal of W.S. Mount School, a K-6 building housing 800+ students. Under her leadership, Mount Elementary School was named a 2009 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by US Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan. Mount was one of only four Long Island schools and the only Suffolk County school of a total of 19 in New York to be awarded this 2009 honor. Dr. Lilavois has served on many district committees related to standards implementation, program review, professional development, community partnerships, and teacher/administrator appraisal.
At Mount, Dr. Lilavois continued her vision for high levels of engagement through the development of a Career Laboratory by Dr. Pam Hurst-Della Pietra. First launched in 2007, each year, the Career Laboratory provided enrichment activities designed to expose students to a wide variety of disciplines, topics, occupations, hobbies, persons, places, and events through authentic, hands-on experiences with experienced professionals. Many parents, friends, relatives and community members volunteered their time to participate.
Dr. Lilavois also encourages students, teachers and parents to work collaboratively on service learning projects that benefit the community. Of particular note is the Nature Preserve Revitalization Project, reflecting her advocacy for environmental conservation, health, and fitness. In the fall of 2010, Dr. Lilavois proposed the development of a task force to revitalize the 33 acre piece of land known as the Three Village Community Nature Preserve. As the principal of the adjacent WS Mount School, she wanted to tackle to issue of repairing and refurbishing this area in order to re-capture it as an outdoor classroom, equipped with nature & fitness trails for the community to enjoy. Along with two teachers, Dr. Lilavois spearheaded a series of after school meetings and presentations to increase community awareness and garner support. With district, local government and community support, this project soon took hold and many people were inspired to join the task force, attend the clean-up efforts, and donate time, wo(man)power, and materials to see its success.
With this track record in place, Dr. Lilavois assumed the leadership of the Setauket Elementary School in August 2013. In September, she received the Black Celebration Award in Education and in October was named Melody of the Year at 35th Anniversary Gala of the Malik Melody Sisterhood Inc. Both awards recognized her dedication to education, empowerment, and civic responsibility.
Concurrently, she worked with entrepreneur James Komosinski to co-found Lift Up Long Island, a campaign that mobilizes teams of students to address local needs by developing their own social enterprise solutions. The campaign has engaged over 225 students in nine districts across Nassau and Suffolk counties to launch community-impacting social ventures, cultivate greater civic engagement, and enhance students’ entrepreneurial and leadership skills. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Lift up Long Island.
Throughout her tenure as an educator, Dr. Lilavois has also been involved in the mentoring and development of future teachers as a professor at both public and private institutions of higher learning. As an adjunct professor, she has taught teacher education courses at Hofstra University, Queens College, York College, and Dowling College. She has worked with many pre-service and in-service elementary teachers to implement standards-based curriculum, integrate technology, focus on literacy, develop assessment rubrics, and promote differentiated instruction.
Additionally, she has presented in state and national venues, such as International Reading Association; New York State English Council; Blue Ribbon Schools Conference; International Scholars’ Forum, Hofstra University; New York State Reading Association; Northeastern Educational Research Association; and University of Pennsylvania Ethnography in Education Forum.
Dr. Lilavois is a former US Army Reserve Captain whose name was added to the Historic Roll of Honor by the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in June 2011. Located at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, it is the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America throughout history.
Dr. Lilavois is the President of the Executive Board of the Malik Melodies Sisterhood Inc. (MMSI), a non-profit organization whose primary focus has been to develop leaders and instill motivation, determination, and a sense of commitment within women who address issues that confront them in the educational and professional environment as well as in the communities where they reside. Dr. Lilavois has developed strong community partnerships and participated in numerous service projects and leadership initiatives, working with such partners as One Warm Coat, United Way of Long Island, LI Cares, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Hands On Network, Kids In Need Foundation and the Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center. She was inducted into the Suffolk Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in the fall 2016 and currently serves on the Board as 3rd Vice President, Membership.
Dr. Lilavois has been working directly with MMSI’s CEO and co-founder, Kim J. Bright to establish an Artist Networking and Mentor Program designed to pair young artists (ages 13-19) with mentor artists. Launched in July of 2012, this program continues to evolve and build opportunities for youth in various art forms. Along with Professional Branch President, Sharon Harleston, Dr. Lilavois coordinates the donation exchange between participating stores and community partners through the MMSI/ Kids in Need Foundation partnership. Working with Nassau coordinator, Stacey Leveille, Dr. Lilavois serves as the Suffolk Coordinator for Binky Patrol, a national, all volunteer organization that collects and delivers homemade blankets to children born HIV+, drug-addicted, infected with AIDS or other chronic & terminal illnesses, those who are abused, in foster care, or experiencing trauma of any kind. More recently, this program has partnered with Precious Hearts 1969 to bring blankets and matching character hats to infants born with congenital heart disease.
Dr. Lilavois served as the Keynote Speaker for Fourth Annual Community Mother’s Award Reception in May of 2012 hosted by the Haitian Americans United for Change (hauc.org). Her inspiring speech focused on Empowerment and Education. Dr. Lilavois, HAUC, and several local political figures joined together to honor several prominent women as community mothers that had made an impact in their respective areas in the community. She continues to support HAUC's efforts to provide disaster relief to Haiti after the devastation from Hurricane Matthew and subsequent storms.
Dr. Lilavois' current position is Director of Elementary Education for Three Village Central School District. In June 2016, Dr. Lilavois received the Friends of Education Award from the Stony Brook University Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa International. She is also a Lifechanger of the Year nominee 2016-2017. She has curated two successful TEDxDeerPark events.
Dr. Lilavois continues to pursue interests in the areas of literacy education, multimedia educational technology, art, community activism, cultural diversity, women's empowerment, gender equity, youth development, social justice, and health & wellness. She hopes to connect her efforts to First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative by fostering environments that encourage a healthy lifestyle and answer President Obama’s call to service through community service projects that empower its youth to be active changemakers in their world.