If you live anywhere on Long Island or near it, you should show up to meet and greet Dr. Joseph Rella, a hero educator who spoke out against New York State’s nutty and abusive scoring system. The event is on Saturday at noon.

I received the following notice from his admirers:

Dr. Joseph Rella, superintendent of Comsewogue School District, has created an opportunity for everyone who wants to end high-stakes testing. It was not part of an elaborate plan to further his career in education. It is the result of a letter he wrote for the children he was entrusted to educate, but felt forced to protect. That letter resonated loudly in the hearts and minds of those who know the negative implications of high-stakes testing and it went viral in one day.

Today, Dr. Joseph Rella, was presented the first “Lace to the Top Certificate of Appreciation.” This is the inscription:

“This award is presented to Dr. Joseph Rella, Compassionate Superintendent, for selfless dedication to students, parents, teachers, administrators, and all other stake-holders in the State of New York through courageous actions against high-stakes tests and their destructive implications, the members of Lace to the Top celebrate your Leadership and Conscience that inspire the fight for Public Education.”

Kevin and I sat with Dr. Rella and his beautiful wife, Jackie for over 2 hours. Our conversation followed a common theme; these tests abuse children and they cannot continue. It was a pleasure to hear him speak passionately about teaching, learning, and the future of public education.

I did not think I could love Dr. Rella anymore than I did after I read his letter, but I was wrong. Dr. Rella accepted our award with teary-eyed gratitude, his wife by his side. He posed for some pictures and turned to his wall filled with diplomas. His wife asked where to hang his award. His response was, “Take down the doctorate.” I thought he was joking. He was not. He took his doctorate off the center of the wall and hung the Lace to the Top award in its place and even used his shoe to hammer in a new nail. Now, hanging behind the man who inspired a rally is a certificate draped with a fresh pair of bright green laces.

The opportunity he created is this weekend at 12:00 at Comsewogue High School, 545 Bicycle Path in Port Jefferson Station, NY. Make it a priority. Be a part of a rally for children and education. Wear your green laces and unite behind this inspirational leader.