Peter Smergut, loving husband of Annette and father to Nadia, passed away of natural causes on March 27. Due to the current health crisis, remembrance services will be held at a future date.
Smergut served as the executive director of Life’s WORC for nearly two decades. Under his leadership Life’s WORC grew from a small boutique provider to an organization that serves 1,500 individuals in the New York metropolitan area. He and his team created a Life’s WORC brand that is known for its extraordinary support of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism as well as the staff who support them.
While Mergut served as CEO, the agency was acknowledged as a Best Company to Work for in New York City by Crain’s Business, the 9th Best Large Company to Work for in New York State by the Society for Human Resource Management, the ACHIEVE award as One of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in the United States, and the Agency of the Year by the New York State Self-Advocacy Association. He served on a number of associations that advocated for the rights of individuals with disabilities including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Interagency Council, the AGNY and NYSACRA.
Prior to joining Life’s WORC, Smergut served as the Supervising Principal for the New York City Special Education District 75. In that capacity he was responsible for the direct supervision of 61 elementary, middle, and secondary special education schools serving 17,000 students throughout the five boroughs.
He previously worked as the principal of the Manhattan School for Career Development and was a founder of the Manhattan Transition Center (MTC). The MTC was selected as one of 38 New York State Compass schools of excellence.
Peter has written and presented extensively on issues of organizational change in the not-for-profit and education communities. He is a graduate of the City College of New York where he received a Bachelor of Business Arts in finance and economics. Peter also holds a Master of Science degree from Long Island University and an Advanced Certificate in Administration from Hofstra University.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Peter’s memory be made to the Life’s WORC Family Center for Autism. Mail to: Life’s WORC, P.O. Box 8165, Garden City, NY 11530.
Editor’s note: Life’s WORC was founded by Victoria Schneps-Yunis, president of Schneps Media, the parent company of the Long Island Press.