Street Address: 67 N. Chatsworth Ave., Larchmont
Race: Mamaroneck Trustee
More Mamaroneck Trustee candidates: Steven Warner |
Political and civic experience: Mamaroneck schools trustee three years, including two years as Vice President
Family: Husband and daughter who attends Hommocks middle school
Residency: Nine year resident of LarchmontIncumbent?: Yes
Education: B.A. Cornell University M.Phil Oxford University
Occupation: Marketing Communications Consultant and Writer
Why are you running for office or seeking re-election?
What in your personal, civic or professional experience recommends your election or return to office?
My background in business, communications and community service as well as my experiences as a current parent in the district have prepared me to meet the challenges of serving on the Mamaroneck Board of Education.
Much of the work of the Board is to analyze complex, sometimes incomplete information, weigh alternatives, and reach difficult decisions that may impact students, employees and taxpayers, all on a quick timetable – and frequently in front of the public eye. These skills developed over the course of my business and management career at Goldman Sachs and other financial organizations are critical to keeping up with the demands of governing what is in effect a $135 million company.
My experience as the leader of Goldman Sachs’ worldwide communications efforts prepared me to be an effective member of the district’s Communications Committee, to serve as a sounding board for the district’s Director of Public Information, help draft key communications materials, such as the annual budget newsletter, and participate in the development of regular community conversations on strategic issues.
As current board Vice President I have drawn upon my experience as President of the Jacob Riis Settlement House Board of Directors and Co-President of the Murray Avenue School PTA to work with the Superintendent and the Board President to develop board agendas, manage a lengthy “to do” list, and reach consensus during board discussions.
I also demonstrate a strong work ethic, listening ability, patience, persistence, team orientation and creativity. These skills are critically important to maintaining an effective board that works well together and continues to meet new challenges.
My experiences as the parent of a daughter at Hommocks provide an invaluable window into what goes on in classrooms and with students, and the relationships I developed with parents throughout the district as co-President of the Murray PTA and a member of PTA Council continue to bring me new perspectives and insights.
What would be your top three priorities if you are elected or re-elected?
My top priority is maintaining the quality and breadth of the district’s educational programs in the face of rising personnel costs and the challenge of staying under the tax levy cap. In my first term on the board, we negotiated four labor contracts, achieving significant short- and long-term savings through a two-year salary freeze for teachers and administrators. Other significant savings were achieved by switching to a self-paid health insurance plan, and outsourcing transportation services and our Pre-Kindergarten program. I will continue to look for savings opportunities that do not impact the classroom.
Another priority is closing the achievement gap for minority students. While Mamaroneck’s minority students outperform state averages, we continually pursue new ideas to improve outcomes. In my first term, the district launched a dual-language English/Spanish Kindergarten program that this year will be expanded to first grade. We launched a summer bridge program for minority students aimed at improving the transition from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school. We opened gates that limited access to higher level high school courses, like Regents and APs, and eliminated some lower level courses that tended to pigeon-hole students. I will continue to support efforts to ensure that all children in the district have access to opportunities to achieve their true potential.
A third priority is to prepare students for careers in the global economy. In my first term, our district has expanded our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) course offerings to include robotics and computer science at the high school, and enhanced the technology curriculum at the middle school by offering 3-D printing. We also launched a 1:1 computing initiative using iPads in 8th – 10th grade. To develop research and communication skills, we are launching multi-disciplinary “capstone” projects in 5th and 8th grades next year. Our senior internship program is now in its third year. In my second term, I will continue to foster a district culture that seeks to deliver a relevant 21st century education.