Residents of the Malverne school district had a chance to get to know the five candidates running for the Board of Education next month at a forum hosted by the Lakeview chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Tuesday night.
Sherwyn Besson, Kathleen Nolan Kasal, Michael Taylor, Josephine "Joey" Bottita and Joann Krudis, the five residents competing for two seats on the school board, all attended the event held at St. Paul AME Church in Rockville Centre. (Taylor and Nolan Kasal are both running for the seat currently held by long-time Trustee Karen Aker, who is retiring when her term ends in June. The remaining candidates, Besson, Krudis and Bottita, are competing the the seat that Dr. Patrick Coonan vacated when he resigned earlier this month.)
Each candidate was allotted three minutes to introduce themselves and then residents could pose questions, either to specific candidates or the group as a whole.
“I really believe in our young people,” Besson stated as he introduced himself. The father of four and current part-time business teacher and soccer coach for the district said he prides himself on his view that as a member of the board, you are representing students as well as the taxpayers.
“I have always been interested in the school system, knowing that my children, when I had them, would be going to them eventually,” said Nolan Kasal, a mother of two and a NYC teacher. “ I also know there seems to be a disconnect between the community and what's going on in the schools, and as a member of the school board I would love to help open that conversation.”
All the candidates agreed that a strong relationship between community and schools is a major factor in the success of the district as a whole.
“I love my community, I love my kids,” said Coach Taylor, as he expressed his desire to keep that connection alive.
Community and district communication was only one of the candidates’ concerns though. All said that in order for the board to work as it should, there needs to be a sense of collaboration and agreement among Board of Education members.
“The board absolutely has to work together,” said Botitta, an active parent and co-founder of Project Enroll Now, a non-profit formed in 2004 to "promote the social welfare of the Malverne community," specifically its public schools.
Krudis, another active parent and NYC school teacher, agreed, saying, “ I don’t have all the answers, but we need the three C’s; communication, collaboration and community.”
She elaborated on her statement, explaining that since she is a concerned and involved parent, she has attended multiple board meetings, but has often felt there is a disconnect between board members and parents. “ I felt like I was only getting half of the story,” she added.
After each candidate filled their three minute introductions, multiple questions were asked by members of the audience. Many voiced concerns regarding budgeting issues and the foundations of education in the younger grades. The attendees were also curious to find out what influenced individual candidates to run for the board. All the hopefuls said they were motivated to an extent by their own children and their experiences.
Another candidates forum will be held on May 7 at Check back for details.
Want to know more about each candidate. Click on each name below to read their profiles.
- Joey Bottita -- Profile coming soon.
- Joanne Krudis -- Profile coming soon.
Have a question you want to ask the candidates? Post it in the comments section below.