- NY44 Health Benefits Plan Trust
On Friday, September 28th the NY44 Health Trust family lost our sentinel, our leader, our friend. Dr. Darleen Michalak passed away suddenly, leaving behind the legacy of over forty years of service to her community.
Darleen’s career in the realm of education spanned over four decades and consisted of teaching high school English, instructing at Bryant and Stratton, SUNY at Buffalo’s Teacher Education Center and as an Adjunct Professor at D’Youville College. She was a thirty-three year veteran of Erie 1 BOCES, holding positions in multiple departments including Deputy Superintendent/ Chief Operating Officer, the position she retired from in 2010.
For anyone who knew Darleen, you know that retirement was just a term and that the next chapter had already begun. In her years with Erie 1 BOCES, Darleen recognized the need for school districts to contain health insurance costs. In response, she created the NY44 Health Benefits Plan Trust. In her role as Plan Administrator, Darleen brought to the table experts in the health care, financial and actuarial industries. Because of Darleen’s own expertise for assembling the right people for the job, the NY44 Health Trust is a strong entity that provides health care management to school districts throughout New York State. The NY44 Health Trust’s benefit design was created to promote a proactive approach to healthy lifestyles with no barriers to care.
In addition to a long career in education, Darleen also sat on the Catholic Schools Advisory Council, chairing the Organizational Structure and Leadership Committee and was also a long standing member of the Board of Directors for the Cantalician Center.
Darleen’s achievements were recognized by the Western New York Educational Service Council with an Award for Excellence. Awardees were provided an opportunity to make a statement. Darleen responded with the following quote:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” *
Dr. Michalak certainly left this world a better place and many lives have been touched by her thoughtfulness, generosity and guidance. Her success cannot be argued. Darleen will be lovingly missed.
*Often misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson/Traceable to Bessie Stanley’s famous poem “What Constitutes Success”