*Questionnaires are completed by the candidates and unedited by KPAE.
Please tell us about yourself. (ie. work experience, life experience, residency, hobbies, associations, etc.)
I am a life long resident of Kings Park, raised and educated in the district. My work experience as an Airline Pilot gives me the opportunity to work with a variety of people on a daily bases, many who depend on my leadership, guidance and sometimes conflict resolution abilities.
Shortly after graduating flight school and university, I was employed as a flight instructor for the BOCES program as well as Dowling College. My wife and I have 3 children within the district. My family is active in St Joseph’s Parish, Ancient Order of Hibernians, as well as school sports, CYO athletics, various community activities and organizations. I have been a volunteer for the Junior Achievement Program as well as assisted in Career day at WTRMS on multiple occasions.
Briefly state any experience you bring to your School District Board of Education.
I am running for the School Board because I would like to share my time and talents with the district that fostered me through my youth. I hope to be a voice for our teachers, parents and students. I want to create stronger ties with the amazing community we have so it may better serve all our kids and faculty. I have a strong science and technology background. More and more school districts are placing emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career paths, so it will be a tremendous advantage to have a member of the Board who has that type of professional credentials.
As a board of education member, how will you engage the community to make certain that its needs are heard and acted upon?
Kings Park is a unique Long Island hamlet, we are small enough that so many residents know each other. There are many generations present, however as new families move in there should be more connective access. The community and the school board should offer forums to voice their concerns, ideas and proposals not just limited to the BOE meetings. I would like to see more of community connection via our schools website that allows the community to have access to the board. Social media has been a great tool, as we have witnessed with our children’s specific school PFO organizations. However, they seem to run parallel with district at times. Would like to see easier access for all parties.
For current BOE members, please provide examples of how you have engaged the community.
Commitment to the promise of public education for all children requires Board of Education members to work outside of and across community boundaries. How will you advocate for our school and students outside of our school district (ie: regional, state and federal government) so that all students’ needs are met?
Just like in industry, one needs to develop relationships in similar environments so you can build upon ideas, learn from and institute plans that help in the overall mission. As a new Board Member it will be a great learning experience for me. Having experienced colleagues by my side who can help foster my knowledge and understanding in the scope and function will be key. I look forward to developing a relationship with the Nassau-Suffolk School Board Association and others. Through involvement with organizations beyond those within the district we all can advocate for a positive path for our students.
For current BOE members, please provide some examples of how you advocated during your term for our schools.
Currently, New York State has issued a 4 year moratorium on using NYS assessments for teacher evaluations, how would you like to see teachers evaluated in our district?
I believe that our teachers should be evaluated by their own administration. Teachers work all year in conjunction with administration to formulate, support and administer curriculum. The district should oversee teacher evaluations not an outside source at an additional cost to the district.
How do you define the success of a school district?
Strong parent-community-district ties, as well as cultivating teachers and staff. This way all become invested in the overall responsibility for the school improvement and success!
What educational value does our school district receive from NYS field tests? If none, would you support KPCSD not administering these tests.
I think the tests are a hindrance to the students and teachers. For some time we have been on the rocky road with the current system. State testing has taken much of the individuaized instruction away from the teachers. The bar is unrealistically set for failure. I 100% agree with doing all we can to raise the bar and have our students thrive and rank at a higher level within the world. However, the new norm has limited teachers in their abilities to deliver a curriculum that is effective. These moments enable teachers to reach out, connect and build stronger knowledge bases. The current testing practice, in a sense is forcing teachers to teach the test, ensuring the mark is made all the while creating a pressurized, stressful negative learning curve for students. This has been proven time and time again.
What is your position on the 2% tax cap?
Kings Park has always kept its residents in mind when creating budgets. The district has a fiduciary responsibility to its community. While increased taxes is never a positive topic, I believe there is a false sense “security” for residents by NYS limiting the tax cap at 2%. The cap only adds to the hurdle of operating the district as an unfunded mandated. We face the same mandates and rising costs in retirement and health insurance, The district constantly looks to take steps to cut costs, and it just means we have to use our reserves. And when that’s gone, what’s next?
What is the best way to evaluate teachers and principals?
They should be evaluated by their own administration and Board of Education members.
Describe your view on the Common Core Learning Standards.
While the intent of the CCLS was to raise the bar and produce a stronger educated population across the nation, I believe it has many faults that need to be revamped, changed and/or retooled. A one size fits all program is not a realistic approach for every district throughout the country.
Describe your view on the amount of testing in our schools and how those test results are used.
Common Core testing has been a proven controversial topic. Defenders say that the tests provide the data necessary to determine whether kids are learning all that we want them to—a corrective to a system that too often lets failing students and teachers slide by. Critics argue that the tests are too long, too difficult, too confusing; that the focus on math and reading leaves less time for science, art, and other valuable subjects that aren’t part of the new testing regime; and that the pressure to perform leaves kids stressed-out and miserable.
Define the role of a parent in a child’s education.
Parent involvement is paramount in the success of their children. Not only in education but also in whole life, continuous support from parents is crucial to sustain a student’s confidence and sense of achievement. However, knowing when to let your child learn their own life lessons, experience accountability, make decisions and know the consequences and repercussions is very important.
Have you ever been a parent/guardian of a child enrolled in the KPCSD? If so, what was your experience?
Yes, we have 3 children in the district. Thus far we have had very positive experiences in our interactions with faculty and administration. My wife and I are graduates of the district and see that commitment to education excellence is still the ultimate goal.
How can our school district improve?
Under the leadership of our new Superintendent, we have already seen improvements such as the re-emergence of moral and unity that seemed to have been eroded from years past. The positive momentum only gives students, faculty, staff and the board members an incentive to continue to build a district that is very competitive and excels in the 21st century.
Approximately 60% of parents of students in grades 3-8 have refused state testing. What will you do to restore their trust in the system?
The Common Core system needs to be reevaluated in its entirety. The Department of Education needs to create a program that encompasses a learning model that addresses the educational experience as a whole. Pressurized lesson plans to make sure test materials are covered while creating a stressful environment only creates a negative experience, that is counterproductive and does not make for a smarter student. Furthermore, data collected from these tests can not be accurate, is skewed and not useful in my opinion.
Is there additional information you want the voters in your community to know?
I hope to be an additional positive voice for our district. An educator once conveyed to me a simple concept…” What is good for the students is good for the teachers and is good for the community.” If elected I will advocate for all of the above making sure that Kings Park Central School District and the education provided to our children is an exceptional education. One that fosters the academic as well as interpersonal success our children need to become exceptional members of our society.