Shortly before 10 pm. Tuesday, became the newest member of the Malverne Board of Education, when she was sworn in minutes after learning she won the seat that when he resigned last month.
With 802 votes, Bottitta, of Malverne, beat her competition, Sherwyn Besson, of Lakeview, and Joann Krudis, of Lynbrook, who garnered 239 and 329 votes respectively, but now that the race is over, she wants to see the community unite.
"I'm very grateful," Bottitta told Patch after exchanging hugs with her supporters inside the gymnasium of, where the results were read Tuesday night. Then, she quickly went over to Besson and Krudis, as well as Kathleen Nolan Kasal, who ran against Bottitta's running mate, Malverne Wildcats President and , who also won his race, and shook their hands. (Taylor was not present in the gym, nor was he available for comment as of press time.)
She then had this to say: "Whether anyone voted for me or not, we have to come together now and get to the next level, and do what we want to do collectively, politely, and respectively. Hopefully, we can get to where we want to go."
Starting now, Bottitta will serve out the three years that remain of Coonan's term on the board. Taylor, who ran for the seat currently occupied by Karen Aker, who is retiring when her term ends on July 1, will have to wait till then to takeover the seat. He will be sworn in at the annual reorganization meeting that month.
Bottitta, who has lived in Malverne since 1991 and has two children in the district's schools, is most known around town for her work with Project Enroll Now. She co-founded the non-profit in 2004 to dispel some of the negativity and misinformation that was out there regarding the Malverne school district, particularly among those residents who thought the public schools were insufficient and gave them no choice but to send their children to private ones.
In an interview with Patch in late April, she said, “We saw a real disconnect to what was truly happening in the schools and what was being communicated to people who weren’t using them. We were trying to help communicate to Malverne particularly, but not only Malverne, the bright side of the schools."
As a consultant for a network of health care facilities and formerly the HR director of a large Manharttan nursing home, Bottitta plans to apply her career experience to improving the efficiency of the Malverne school district. She believes the school system and the health care industry face similar challenges as both must contend with reductions in state aid, unfunded mandates and rising salary, benefits and pension costs, while trying to “maintain the quality of care with less resources.”
Among her goals are to unite the communities within the Malverne school district, encourage more involvement from residents, including those without kids in the schools, promote a better environment for its teachers and foster a respectful working relationship among board members.
Most of all, she says, she wants to see Malverne "provide the best [education] at the lowest cost.”
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