By the Westbury Times Staff
Dr. Irene “Betty” Hylton, was recently recognized for her outstanding work as an educator, activist and advocate during a presentation recognizing February as African American History Month at the Nassau County Legislature.
A longtime educator, Hylton taught in the Westbury School District for 22 years and went back to school in her mid-50s to obtain her Ph.D. She commuted weekly for several years to Pennsylvania as Associate Dean of Teacher Education at the State University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg University. Since moving to Westbury in 1969, she has been actively involved in the community, and made more of a commitment to service after retiring.
“Volunteering is like a full time job,” Hylton says. “I give back in any way I can. If I could do more, I would.”
Though she moved here after she was married, Hylton describes Westbury as “the place she grew up” because it’s where she taught and got very involved. She says she likes to support things that are good for Westbury and New Cassel.
She is an advocate and activist for the local community, where she co-chairs North Shore Child and Family Guidance’s Leeds Place Advisory Council, the group that organizes National Night Out Against Crime each year. She played a vital role in reactivating the Westbury branch of NAACP and plays an active part of the local Pi Pi Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Hylton additionally spearheaded the New Cassel Community Partnership Association so that organizations could work together for the same funds and resources. This effort has proven to be successful where recently many private and public organizations received a grant through the efforts of The Early Years grant.
Hylton is 77-years-old and while many her age would think of slowing down, Hylton is only picking up steam, getting involved with as many projects as she can to help make the community a better place.
“If you have the time and love for the people in the community, you try to give whatever you can,” Hylton said. “It requires a lot of thought as to what is the best way that I can use my skills and energy to make a difference, but as long as I’m living here I will do that. If I don’t, I won’t be happy with myself. I really enjoy helping other people.”
Hylton was also recently recognized by NYS NAACP Conference as a former President, and received an award from First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury for her Community Service. She was also awarded North Shore Child & Family Guidance Association — Family Life Award. But she says she holds this recent recognition by the Nassau County legislator and fellow Westbury resident Siela Bynoe, close to her heart.
“It was such a surprise to be honored by Siela,” she said. “I’ve been recognized by many groups, but I was so honored by being honored at this level by Nassau County.”