She was commended by County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s office on Aug. 3, “in recognition of the vital and vibrant contributions that Salvadoran Americans have made to the quality of life in Nassau County and throughout the nation.”
She had helped coordinate the Aug. 3 Salvadoran Night, which was part of the Lakeside Theatre Concert Series at Eisenhower Park.
Then, during the Aug. 6 Salvadoran American Day festival at Hempstead Town Hall, Supervisor Don Clavin handed her a citation for “untiring devotion and outstanding dedication to the residents of America’s largest township.”
At that same event, Blanco-Harvey also received a plaque from the Comité Cívico Salvadoreño, Inc., the event host, thanking her for participation in the Festival Divino Salvador Del Mundo — Festival of the Divine Savior of the World — which was part of the Aug. 6 celebration.
What did Blanco-Harvey do to deserve such recognition?
A businesswoman, mother, and school board member, Blanco-Harvey is the regional manager for the five offices of Premier Endodontics of Long Island. She is also a dedicated supporter of education, with decades of participation in the Uniondale PTA and the Parent-Student-Teacher’s Association, as well as the PTA Council, which oversees all the parent organizations in the district.
Blanco-Harvey arrived in Uniondale with her mother and sister at age 8 in 1981, fleeing the bitter civil war in her home country, El Salvador. She is a naturalized American citizen.
Her mother, María T. Avelar, founded the Comité Cívico Salvadoreño, Inc., in 1997. The Hempstead-based organization advocates for transplanted Salvadorans and other Hispanic immigrants. Blanco-Harvey has participated in the Comité for more than a decade.
Blanco-Harvey’s business life took off 19 years ago, when she started working as a dental assistant at Premier Endodontics, founded by owner Dr. Albert Granger.
“During her time as a dental assistant I saw her potential,” said Granger, “and every task I gave, she grew into it.”
Granger took Blanco-Harvey and other employees for training and certification in public relations and management with the Levin Group, and her career with Premier grew.
But she also wanted to continue her academic education. With Granger’s encouragement, she attended Nassau Community College and SUNY Westbury.
“I graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s in Childhood Elementary Education, grades 1-6, with bilingual and special ed extensions,” Blanco-Harvey said.
She decided to continue her work for Premier rather than switch to full-time teaching.
“I still do advocacy work with my degree,” said Blanco-Harvey. “I tutor special ed students and bilingual students for free. But I also love what I do for Premier.”
“She’s helped manage the practice until we’ve grown to five offices,” said Granger. “I’ve never seen somebody with so much energy in my life. It’s incredible.”
In 2022, Blanco-Harvey became a mentor in the New York State Latina Mentoring Initiative. She learned that some of her mentees had no opportunity to see themselves pursuing education beyond a high school diploma.
“Through my role at Premier Endodontics,” she said, “I was able to bring our mentees to my office so they could see there is something else that they could aspire to.”
Her drive for advocacy pushed her in 2019 to run successfully for the Uniondale school board when its first Hispanic member, Bruno Cubas, stepped down. She felt Hispanic representation was important, given that the percentage of the Uniondale student body that identifies as Hispanic stands at 67 percent.
In 2020, Dr. Monique Darrisaw-Akil became the new school superintendent.
“With us hiring Dr. Akil, I have to tell you, our district is moving in a more positive direction that is almost like night and day,” said Blanco-Harvey. “We started working on a strategic plan, and looking at our data, which we hadn’t before.”
Blanco-Harvey said that Dr. Akil is not only innovative, but responsive to the needs of the student body. As part of outreach to the Hispanic sector, she established a yearly soccer jamboree, which will occur this year at the high school on Sept. 16.
"The recognition of Trustee Blanco-Harvey's contributions echoes the sentiment of a community that values inclusivity and the celebration of diverse heritage," said Uniondale School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Monique Darrisaw-Akil.
No one could be more proud of Blanco-Harvey than her own family.
“I’m so proud of my mom,” said Blanco-Harvey’s oldest daughter, Stephanie Conde, 31. “Her resilience is incredible. I am also proud of my Salvadoran heritage.”
“Creating Comité Cívico Salvadoreño was important for me so that I can help the Salvadoran community of Long Island,” said Avelar. “I am so proud of all my daughters, but on Sunday, I was especially proud of my daughter Addie and all of her accomplishments.”