Ernest J. Kight, Jr. forged a legacy of service to Freeport’s schools and touched countless lives through his wisdom, compassion, and advocacy.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Nassau Legislature Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams (D - Freeport) and Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé (D - Freeport) joined Freeport Village officials, education leaders, and the friends and loved ones of Ernest J. Kight, Jr. recently to honor his legacy by ceremonially renaming a portion of South Brookside Avenue near Freeport High School.
“The renaming of Brookside Avenue between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road is such an amazing and fitting tribute to Ernest J. Kight Jr.,” said his wife, Dr. Diane Mary Caruso. “He spent so many happy and fruitful years at Freeport High School traveling up and down this street in service of Freeport students! It is an honor that Ernie would be so proud of and we are grateful and appreciative to all those who made this honor possible.”
After Mr. Kight passed away suddenly on Feb. 27, 2021, Minority Leader Abrahams and Legislator Mulé worked in consultation with his family and secured unanimous approval from the Legislature in late April to ceremonially rename South Brookside Avenue between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road “Ernest J. Kight, Jr. Way.” County Executive Curran signed the measure into law soon after, clearing the way for today’s ceremony.
“During a lifetime dedicated to our community, Ernest J. Kight, Jr. forged a legacy of service to Freeport’s schools and touched countless lives through his wisdom, compassion, and advocacy,” Legislator Mulé said. “While we will always miss Mr. Kight tremendously, I hope that the entire Freeport community can draw comfort from this wonderful and lasting public tribute and be inspired to embody the ‘Ernie Kight Way’ by lifting one another up, giving back to our community, and supporting our students on their educational journeys.”
“Renaming this portion of Brookside Avenue in Ernie Kight’s honor is a fitting tribute to a man whose dedication to education showed that there are teachers and administrators who really care and want the best for the students who pass through the halls of Freeport’s schools,” Minority Leader Abrahams said. “I am hopeful that when students look up to this sign and see Mr. Kight’s name, they will be inspired to do more, be their best, give back and make the world about us a better and more caring place.”
A 1971 Freeport High School graduate, Mr. Kight began his employment at his alma mater in 1975 as a social studies teacher. He later served as principal at J.W. Dodd Junior High School before becoming Freeport High School’s assistant principal in 1991; he was elevated to interim principal in 2008 and became the school’s principal a year later. He was inducted into the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame after coaching numerous varsity sports, including most notably the Freeport Red Devils ladies’ basketball program. After retiring from the school district, he was elected to the Freeport School Board in 2015 and became its president in 2019.
This lasting public tribute serves as an homage to a man who made a positive impact in Freeport’s schools for more than four decades.
“Ernie positively affected the lives of countless students and neighbors over his 40-year career in education,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “I hope this sign will inspire others to emulate Ernie’s lasting legacy of kindness and generosity to others.”
“Ernie Kight represented the best of all of us. He cared about Freeport, but most importantly, its students,” Freeport Village Mayor Robert T. Kennedy said. “Throughout our travels, we find those individuals that make a difference by mentoring and guiding our children to success. That was Ernie Kight. He will be missed.”
“Mr. Kight was a passionate educational leader with unwavering support for our students, schools and community,” Freeport Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham said. “He has made a positive impact on generations of students and their families, along with all those who have had the pleasure of working with him through our schools and the Board of Education.”