Helene Forst, nominated by Senator Kenneth LaValle for Woman of Distinction, is a veteran teacher, an environmental activist, and a published author. She earned a B.A. at SUNY at Stony Brook graduating Magna Cum Laude, an M.A. from SUNY at Stony Brook in Liberal Studies graduating Summa Cum Laude, and an M.S. in Special Education from Dowling College graduating Summa Cum Laude. Helene holds six NYS teaching certifications: Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grades 1-6, Reading, Special Education, and Secondary English. She was the founder and director of The Pioneer School charted by NYS Board of Regents, a school for LD/Dyslexic students. Helene taught at the East Hampton Middle School holding the position of Academic Intervention/Reading Specialist. She continues to teach in a private practice. She is the Vice-President and founding partner of Forst and Silverblank, Inc., an East End custom builder. As a former member of the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad, she served as the Chair of the Public Relations Committee, documenting the organizations activities through press releases and articles, in addition to creating a Water Safety-CPR/Hands-Only training for the public. As an environmental activist she: Co-Chaired the East End Shoreham Opponents, Chaired the Environmental sub-committee for the Southampton/East Hampton Lyme Disease Task Force, Chaired the environmental committee for the East Hampton Cancer Task Force, and promotes and participates in the WWF’s Earth Hour Initiative. She is the author of two YA novels, The Journey of Hannah Woods published in 2013 and Stoked – 1969, published in 2016. Her third YA novel, Behind the Hedges, is near completion.
Rebecca Singer grew up in New York City, where her family had a local business selling unusual handmade items from all over the world, including jewelry, sculpture, decorative home products and handbags. She attended Bronx High School of Science and graduated from Cornell University.
She moved to San Francisco after graduation and became Personnel Director of The Institutes of Medical Sciences, before deciding to return to her roots, retail. She worked as a Buyer for Joseph Magnin in California before moving back to New York and joining Abraham and Strauss. She went on to Bonwit Teller, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Donna Karan. Rebecca rose to Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager at Lord & Taylor. Her career spanned Accessories, Shoes, and Women’s Apparel, including Designer Apparel. She opened her current green business, Eco Art Productions, which takes the original artwork of American Artists, and screens their artwork onto organic handbags in 2009. Each artist receives a percent of the sales from their handbags. Rebecca is an avid gardener and craft collector.
Michael Forst, a local third generation builder, graduated from East Hampton high school and went on to Dean Jr College where he studied Construction Management. He joined his family’s construction company, Forst and Silverblank, where they were building 25 custom homes a year. In 2001, Michael and his wife Amy started their own company, Forst Construction, Inc., located at 26 Gingerbread Lane in East Hampton. Forst Construction is a design build firm of custom residential homes.
Michael has been an environmental activist his whole life. He fought against Shoreham and Milestone Nuclear Power Plants, and the Broadwater Gas Barge. He is a leader in the Green Building movement and lives in a net zero home that he and Amy built, leading by example for their two children. He is a dedicated and active Volunteer Fireman who has held the rank of Captain of the EHFD Hook and Ladder company. He is also a certified rescue swimmer for the Volunteer Ocean Rescue team. He has donated time with boy scouts and little league, where he coached for 4 years. He actively assists with the Jr. lifeguard programs. His newest volunteer venture is Stopping PSEG from devaluing his neighbors homes and making our town look like NJ. Righting the wrongs of the world!
Jack Forst has been President of Forst and Silverblank, Inc. for the past thirty-six years. He has built over 400 custom homes on the East End of Long Island. He is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, New York State Building Association, and Long Island Builders Institute.
Amy Forst was born and raised on Long Island. She is a mother and local business woman. After attending classes and working as a Teacher’s Assistant for 3 years, she graduated with highest honors from Johnson and Wales University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management. In 1993, Amy moved to East Hampton and fell in love with the area. She was in the food and beverage industry for 15 years. For seven of those years she was a partner and owner of the Barefoot Contessa. Once her second child was born, Amy and her husband, Michael Forst, decided it was time to sell the store, and focus on raising their beautiful children. Amy is a partner and owner of Forst Construction, Inc. She volunteers her time with the PTA, Holy Trinity and LIBFRE. Currently she is a licensed real estate agent with Town & Country.