Diane Nally: Board of Education Candidate Responds to KPAE Survey

By | May 9, 2015

The following survey was sent to each Kings park BOE candidate.  Once each survey has been posted, the KPAE steering committee will endorse 2 candidates.

Diane Nally

Diane Nally

Briefly state any experience you bring to your School District Board of Education.

I have three years of experience on the Kings Park School Board.   I also have the experience of working with children as the Assistant Director of Religious Education at St. Joseph’s Parish for the past 18 years.  My husband is a retired educator and my 3 children are educators in the public sector. .  I am very aware of the many challenges facing public education today.

Do you support parents’ right to refuse NYS grade 3-8 exams? Please explain.

I absolutely support a parent’s right to refuse NYS grade 3-8 exams.  These exams are too long and developmentally inappropriate.  They hold no educational value.  Test results are not available to teachers.  There is no diagnostic evaluation given in regards to a student’s performance.

What is your position on the 2% tax cap?

While I understand the need to limit taxes, the 2% tax cap is yet another example of New York State taking control away from local school boards.  The Kings Park School District has always kept the taxpayers of Kings Park in mind when creating school budgets and historically have some of the lowest tax levy increases on Long Island.  We do not need Governor Cuomo telling us how much we can spend on our school district.  This is another unrealistic mandate from the State of New York.

What is your position on the Gap Elimination Adjustment?

The GEA severely hurt our school district.  Thankfully we received some restoration for the 2015/2016 school year.  I will continue to lobby our legislators until we receive full restoration from the State.

What is the best way to evaluate teachers? Principals?

The best way to evaluate our teachers is to allow our administrators to observe and mentor them.  They work collaboratively all year, and it does not make sense (fiscally or academically) to bring in outside observers to evaluate our teachers.  Why should Kings Park hire someone else’s employees to evaluate our staff?  This is just another area where the state is trying to take away local control.  Central administration should evaluate the building principals.

Describe your view on the Common Core Learning Standards.

While I believe in higher standards and more rigor in the classroom, the Common Core Learning Standards were implemented too quickly.  They are too scripted .  They limit a teacher’s ability to teach to the individual children in their class.  Teachers are professionals, and they should be able to create their own lessons based on the needs of their students.

Describe your view on the amount of testing in our schools and how those test results are used.

I feel our children spend too much time taking tests.  Tests given by the classroom teacher are used to evaluate students’ progress.  Teachers are able to analyze student responses to identify areas of weakness in order to modify curriculum and achieve better results in the future.  New York State assessments are created by outside agencies without input from educators, and teachers never have the ability to examine their student’s answers, and therefore, have no chance to adapt their instruction.  These test are also far too long and are too closely tied to APPR and the Governor’s attack on public education.  These are the tests that I feel are unnecessary and take away from valuable instruction time.

As a board of education member, how will you engage the community to make certain that its needs are heard and acted upon?

I will continue to make the Kings Park School Board more receptive to the concerns of the community.  When I ran three years ago, I wanted to have public comments before voting items.  This year we have split our 30 minute public comment session.  We have one session prior to our consent agenda so people can express their concerns before a vote is taken.  The second remains at the end of the meeting.  I also wanted surveys on the district website so the district could gauge the community’s thoughts on various topics.  I also want to encourage more community involvement by making a commitment to create an environment where all opinions are valued.

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?

During my time on the board, I have developed relationships with board members in other districts, as well as with the Nassau Suffolk Schools Boards Association.  I have participated in meetings with our legislators.  I have attended forums concerning common core and high stakes testing.  All of these have afforded me the opportunity to gain greater knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing our students today.  I will personally work with the Superintendent to advocate for the needs of all the children of our school district.

Describe your views on the New York State Regents Reform Agenda.

The New York State Regents Reform Agenda is a disservice to some of the students in the public school system by setting unrealistic goals that are not making them college or career ready.  Again the state has taken a narrow view of the education system and has laid out lofty goals that do not necessarily benefit all children.

Define the role of a parent in a child’s education.

A parent is a child’s first role model.  They are their child’s first teacher.  They have the opportunity to foster a love of learning in their child.  A parent has to be a partner with the teacher in their child’s education.  They have to support learning by regularly reviewing work assignments and knowing when assignments are due.  They have to provide a home environment that is conducive to learning.

How do you define the success of a school district?

A successful school district is one where the students have an environment that fosters creativity, hard work and high achievement.  It includes a staff that has the ability to develop curriculum based on the needs of their particular students and not a “one size fits all” approach dictated by New York State politicians without any educational experience.  A successful school district is run by an administration that puts the education of its students as its first and foremost goal, and they have a successful working relationship with their teaches and staff based on mutual respect.  A successful school district has a school board that is dedicated to preventing excessive spending and advocating for what is right for public education and right for their district.

How can our school district improve?

Under the leadership of our new superintendent, we have started to address many areas that need improvement.  However, it is evident that more work needs to be done.  I will continue to work to further reduce class size and to improve the technology in our district in order for our students to compete in the 21st century.  We are in the process of forming a facilities committee to address the concerns regarding the condition of our buildings and grounds.

Any additional information you want the voters in your community to know.

I believe we have a great district, and I would like to be able to continue to be part of the wonderful things we have to offer.  However, there are many difficult issues surrounding public education today.  One of the most important issues is the chipping away of local control.  While I certainly believe in higher standards for children and the evaluation of teachers, these goals are only achieved when left in the hands of educational leaders, not politicians.  I take my work on the board seriously, spending a great deal of time researching, investigating and making sure I am prepared to make the most informed decisions for our children and community.  If re-elected, I will proudly continue to work hard. I will continue to be a voice for our community and I will continue to advocate for what is right for public education and right for our school district.

One thought on “Diane Nally: Board of Education Candidate Responds to KPAE Survey

  1. sally pruslow

    Mrs. Nally has become an excellent BOE member. Her first 3yrs. at times were often very difficult. Through those experiences she has gained the insight and skills to deal with difficult situations. She also does her homework and keeps informed. Again as a past member of the BOE for 9 yrs Mrs. Nally has and will continue to be an asset to this BOE.


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