COVID has fundamentally altered both the academic and social experience of our children and the impact of that disruption will be long-lasting for many. As we look towards the future, we have to anticipate that many of our students will need extra support- academically, socially and emotionally- in the years to come. And our children are not alone in dealing with the impact of COVID: our teachers, staff and administrators have navigated staffing shortages, personal loss and increased student need while also being tasked with anticipating and addressing challenges in an ever-changing emergency situation. As a result, many faculty and staff are burnt out and it is anticipated that retention and staffing shortages may continue to be a problem over the coming years. Simultaneously, we are likely to be navigating these increased needs during a time when budgets are tight due to loss of revenue and increased costs.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
As an active member of the LGBTQ+ community, I understand firsthand the necessity of ensuring that our school community is one that welcomes all students and their families; it’s critical to not only their education and preparation for the future but also for their physical and emotional safety. We can achieve this by focusing on recruiting faculty and staff with a diversity of lived experiences, looking for opportunities to enrich our curriculum with new perspectives and focusing on a culture of caring and support within the school community. In the last two years, I have worked with other local residents to start the Pleasantville Community DEI Initiative. The mission of the Pleasantville Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Community Initiative is to inspire and build a community that celebrates differences, encourages trust and respect amongst neighbors and creates accountability to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Safety & Security
The unfortunate reality is that there seems to be no end to incidents of school violence across the country; I know from personal experience that no school is immune. In my professional life, I’ve been responsible for working closely with some of the most well-respected security experts available to ensure the safety and security of staff. As a board member, I would welcome the opportunity to work closely with District staff to ensure that physical security and protocols reflect the best practices possible while operating within budget constraints.
Working on issues related to climate change and environmental sustainability has been a common theme throughout my career. I’m also lucky to be married to a teacher who oversees the implementation of all sustainability efforts within her own school community. The District has an ethical obligation to continue its work with staff and students on implementing sustainability best practices in the school. But beyond that, there is a practical and financial imperative. Many cities and states are moving towards ambitious “zero waste” goals, including NYC. It’s likely that the same will be the case for NYS in the not-so-distant future and PUFSD would be well-served to start working towards that goal in advance of a mandate requiring it so that costs can be managed more effectively. For our students, this also provides opportunities to begin developing their own skills and knowledge, which will serve them well in the future as "green" jobs become increasingly sought after.