By Neal Mehta
Social workers and psychologists at OBHS welcome Dr. Matthew Jurgens as the new Assistant Director of the Special Services Department. Dr. Jurgens joined the Oyster Bay faculty in July, replacing the interim supervisor, Dr. Laurie Scimeca. He also serves as a Committee Chairperson on the OBEN-CSD’s Special Services Committee. Together, Dr. Jurgens and newly appointed Director Ms. Lynette Abruzzo lead the Special Services Department.
Before joining the administration of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich CSD, Dr. Jurgens was a Transition Specialist at a grant-funded program for Eastern Suffolk BOCES. After that, he worked in the Commack School District for five years as a Special Education Coordinator.
Dr. Jurgens proudly calls Oyster Bay his home and appreciates the open-armed community. He says, “I feel like I have been here for years with how warm and inviting everyone has been. It's such a kind place!”
Though he is an Elementary Special Education teacher by trade, he loves to assist those around him with skill-building. Dr. Jurgens’s goals for this year are to help students develop the tools to become independent and to prepare them for their post-high school endeavors. In his words, “The school bus eventually stops coming—our students need to be prepared for what's to come after high school--prepared to live, learn, and earn in their communities.”
Dr. Jurgens’s cousin, CJ, inspired him to become involved with Special Services. As a kid, he enjoyed playing games, such as Magic the Gathering, with his older cousin. Having known him for so long, Dr. Jurgens was surprised to find out that CJ had an intellectual impairment. They became close, and their relationship compelled Dr. Jurgens to work with people with special needs. Dr. Jurgens believes his service to the community is a homage to the memory of his cousin, who unfortunately passed away. “He was a great guy, and I feel blessed that he was in my life,” he states. He is grateful that Oyster Bay now gives him the opportunity to serve people from ages 3 to 21.
Outside of school, Dr. Jurgens loves to spend time with his family. He enjoys bowling with his wife, Lori, and their two children, Madeline (9) and Oliver (4). As a hockey enthusiast and avid Islanders fan, he plays as much as he can on all mediums: ice, roller, and deck. He watches the Mets and Jets as well, along with the occasional NASCAR and Indy-500 race. He also can’t get enough of pizza and sushi.
The Oyster Bay community is excited to welcome Dr. Jurgens to the OBHS faculty, and we wish him all the best for a successful school year!