BOE Candidates

BOE Candidates

2021-22 Board of Education Candidates

On May 18, 2021, residents will vote to elect three members to fill these Board of Education seats:
A three-year term ending June 30, 2023 currently held by Peter Balzani.
A three-year term ending June 30, 2023 currently held by William Powell.
A three-year term ending June 30, 2023 currently held by Melinda Spooner.
 
Information about residents seeking election appear here in the order they will appear on the election ballot.

Seat Occupied by Melinda Spooner

Sara Dickstein

Sara Dickstein
Name: Sara Dickstein
Years living in district: 3 years
Occupation: Billing Representative at Endwell Family Physicians
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved: 
My family and I are members of St. John’s  Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I am a member of the church “Sisterhood” which organizes and plans fundraising for such activities as our annual festival.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I have a genuine interest in our children’s education and have a desire to improve our schools.  Students must always be priority number one.  I would like the opportunity to collaborate with parents, staff and the community to help make decisions to ensure all students are given every advantage available to maximize their individual talents.  Decisions should always be based upon factual information and relevant data.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
My children are my number one priority in life!  I am an enthusiastic participant in all of my children’s cognitive and physical developmental activities. Other relevant skills include being a good listener, the ability to work well with others and a willingness to learn.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
Being trustworthy, caring, adaptable, knowledgeable and ambitious are attributes that I believe members should have.  It’s also important to be receptive, responsible and respectful to others.  Other essential attributes include being able to work with others to get things accomplished and the ability to share in accountability for decisions made together.

What is your vision for education in this community?
I believe teaching important value such as responsibility, community and self determination are essential to prepare or youth to live as free, productive adults.  Having a partnership between school, family, teachers and students ensures that everyone is responsible to do their part.  Our schools need to provide a safe place for our children to build relationships, gain knowledge and learn skills to enable them to do chart their own paths.  Most importantly, all students must have a place to share ideas, viewpoints and traditions in an open forum.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
A school board’s primary mission is always to provide a quality education for every student with the underlying recognition that the tax payer’s burden must be considered and respected.  To achieve this, all efforts must be prioritized with the common goal to maximize students’ needs in an atmosphere of compromise.

Melinda Spooner

Melinda Spooner
Name: Melinda Spooner
Years living in district: 16
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved:
I have served on the Maine-Endwell board of education for the past three years. As a Maine-Endwell board member I volunteered on additional committee’s such as The Policy Committee and Re-Opening committee. I am involved with the Maine Endwell Soccer Club program and have volunteered with the Maine-Endwell modified girls soccer team. In the past I have spent time in our school’s assisting teachers, volunteering with PTA activities along with volunteering in classrooms.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am running for re-election because I believe that every child should receive a premier education. Being a parent of three Spartans has given me a personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of education. I have participated in some great strides that the district has made over the past three years and am looking forward to more achievements. I am a person who is passionate about helping others and have found this to be a great way to serve my community.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
After serving on the board of education over the past three years I believe my experience has given me the potential to be more valuable than ever. I am educated on our school budget and the financial vision that our district has. Therefore, I can influence the fiscal health of our district. As a parent of three Spartans, a community member, and a board member,  I am able to represent different groups in the community and ensure others have a voice.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
To be an effective school board member it is essential to be able to work with the school staff, community, and stakeholders.  It is also essential for board members to be prepared prior to board meetings. A good board member spends time learning new things to advance the school community. Another attribute of a board member is to ensure all decisions made represent the best interest of EVERY student.

What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision is to have well supported teachers, high standards, motivated students, committed accountable leaders, a safe and secure classroom environment, opportunities for different experiences, parent engagement, and community participation. One of my visions for education in our community is to prepare our young people for success in careers and life. Also to have our district create pathways and opportunities for our great teachers to empower our students to achieve even more.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
While serving on the board of education the past few years we have encouraged community engagement in the budget process by thought exchange, survey’s, and budget workshops. I am a strong believer in educating stakeholders and having communication to build relationships that will lead to trust.

Jennifer Shattuck

Jennifer Shattuck
Name: Jennifer Shattuck
Years living in district: 8
Occupation: Nurse Practitioner
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved: 
I have been involved in several Maine Endwell school district and community activities/organizations. School activities include PTA member, PTA merchandising during 2018 school year, and a parent classroom volunteer at Homer Brink.  I can be found most of the time at the Maine Endwell pool supporting UNAC swimmers or at the Maine Endwell Little League fields.  Also, I have taught Faith Formation classes at the Church of the Holy Family.  

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am running for the Board of Education to give back to our community and advocate for the children of our school district.  I have a vested interest in Maine Endwell, as I have two sons - Frankie (5th) who attends Homer Brink Elementary and Martino (7th) who attends the Middle school.  My goal is for every child to have an exceptional education while working with the teachers and community members.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
I have previous experience as the Treasurer for the NYS Nurse Practitioner Association Susquehanna Chapter from 2008-2015.  I hold a Masters degree in Nursing.  I collaborate and communicate well with others, especially my experience with co-workers in the medical field working in office and hospital settings over the past 22 years.  I taught as a clinical Instructor for BCC and BU from 2006-2007.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
School board members are responsible for the education of all students, while being accountable with funds to support these needs.  A member needs to have strong communication skills.  Through listening to the needs of the students, teachers and community, decisions and goals can be made in the best interest of the students while supporting the teachers.

What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision for education in our community is to work as a team with teachers and the community members to provide all students with an exceptional education.  Prepare all students to graduate with being open minded, well rounded and creative. Graduates should be individuals who are prepared to become leaders and innovators.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
This is the challenge of every board member.  Each decision a board makes as a whole needs to be made with great attention and in the best interest of the students while being fiscally responsible.  This is accomplished by understanding the needs of the students, teachers, parents and community members through actively listening and inquiring.

Seat Occupied by Peter Balzani

Todd McCarthy

Todd McCarthy
Name: Todd McCarthy
Years living in district: 18
Occupation: Distance Education Technology Operations Manager for SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved:
I previously served on our school board from 2011-2018, serving as president 2015-2018, and I continue to serve on our district’s Strategic Planning Committee. I served as our district’s legislative representative and met with our state and federal elected officials and NYS Commissioners of Education to advocate for our students. I’m a former board member of Binghamton Youth Symphony, coached a number of Odyssey of the Mind teams and have served on a variety of district and regional task forces and committees, mostly involving education, technology and/or music.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
Providing all students an education that truly prepares them for success is the cornerstone of our societal obligation. Our future will be determined by our ability to meet that obligation. Working towards that goal is an area where I feel I have the experience, passion, energy, and skills to make a positive contribution and would be grateful for the opportunity. Please reach out or visit maineendwell.org if you’d like to hear more.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
Along with my prior school board experience, in my position at Cornell University I work closely with university faculty to help bring their instruction to the virtual classroom as well strategize and implement educational technology for the college. I earned my degree in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell and as a lifelong learner, I’m currently enrolled at Cornell Law working on my Master of Science in Legal Studies. Being away from the school board for the last three years, I have an appreciation and understanding of what was successful and effective during my time on the board, but come back to it with a fresh perspective on how we can best serve our students and meet the challenges of providing a modern education.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
Teamwork, commitment, dedication, preparedness, responsibility, respect and professionalism are among many key attributes for board members. A board member should champion open government, transparency, and using data and research, along with the district’s core beliefs, to make thoughtful and financially sound decisions. The board represents the community as a whole, not a single constituency or group, and the focus must be on our mission and vision in serving our students.

What is your vision for education in this community?
As we transition back to full-time, in-person instruction with our students, we should review what technology and practices were effective, not just within our district, but globally, and seek opportunities to enhance instruction where it makes sense. We need to look towards the future of our students and be sure we’re providing the knowledge and skills to navigate and succeed in a world that will be changed post-pandemic. Additionally, our community supports and demands a well-rounded education that includes music, arts and sports and we need to find creative solutions to provide our students those opportunities.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
There is no “easy button” answer to this question. What I can offer is the process I’ll use to handle the complex decisions that face our school board. I will make sure to consider all relevant information, thoughtfully listen to all sides of every debate, and research and study to make sure I fully understand the issues. When making a final recommendation, I will do so informed and through the filter of our district’s core belief: to make decisions in the best interest of the students.

Mike Chudacik

Mike Chudacik
Name: Mike Chudacik
Years living in district: 8
Occupation: Controller (Amphenol Interconnect Products Corporation)
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools? Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved: 
Maine-Endwell Little League

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
As a finance professional for over 20 years, I would love to never be in a situation of our district being in financial trouble.  I want to bring my financial expertise to the Board to assist on this issue so that Faculty and staff never have to worry about funding and cuts.
Also, I would like to focus on student achievement and implementing policies that will ensure success for all students.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
I have a strong financial background which can help assist our district in making important financial decisions.  I have been in a management and leadership role during most of my career which has presented me with various issues on decision making processes.  I possess a strong communication skill which has prepared me for this position since I believe you need to be able to both listen and discuss various issues as a Board Member.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
I believe school members should be dedicated and committed, able to lead and influence others, straightforward and impartial, knowledgeable, and value discretion and confidentiality.

What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision for education in our community is to teach all children to acquire and develop skills at all stages of their education and provide them with great aspirations for their future learning.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
I think the Board needs to address this with a hybrid balanced approach in which we need to strategize on how to maximize the most for our student education while being reasonable to the local taxpayer. 

Peter Balzani

Peter Balzani
Name: Peter Balzani
Years living in district: 30
Occupation: Retired 
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved: 
I substitute teach in Chenenago Valley School District.; St. James parish council/lector/ eucharistic minister, and Binghamton Umpire Association.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am running to continue to provide a premier education to all students and to provide a stable financial base that ensures budgets that will be supported by the community now and in the future.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
My past 3 years on the Board. 
Substitute teaching has allowed me to better understand the full and important role teachers provide in the classrooms and after school to support their students.
I believe my past career of public service with New York State working with people with disabilities and nursing home residents has helped me understand the academic and health /safety rules and regulations for school districts.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
I believe listening skills, being approachable and honest and the ability to work with others, to make decisions to form a consensus that the board can support are essential attributes for a school board member. 

What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision is that every student that graduates will not only find a rewarding occupation , but also a vocation of life-long community service that allows them to see the value of every person, of helping others, and making their community a better place to live.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
The two needs are balanced by engaging the community, asking for their input , listening to their responses, being open and transparent about the decisions and explain why the decisions are/were made.

Jeremy Latimer

Jeremy Latimer
Name: Jeremy Latimer
Years living in district: 8
Occupation: District Manager Weis Markets
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools? Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved:
I have actively participated in events with following organizations. Broome County Council of Churches , Rumble Ponies Education Days, Rally in the Valley (Chenango Valley), Stand for Children, Toys for Tots, Hockey for Hope and Honor Flight.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I think that it is important to take an active role in the organizations and institutions that impact our children and our communities. I think we live in a great community. I want to give back and the school board is a place I think I can be of service.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
With 16 years of management experience, I have the financial acumen necessary to assist the board with making educated fiscal decisions using data.  I understand the importance of working as a team to reach common goals and the importance of looking at the big picture.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
A school board member must be willing to listen to different sides of an argument in order to make objective decisions. The school board must represent all groups in the district and ensure all stakeholders have a voice.  They should be  passionate about providing the best education and opportunities to all our children.

What is your vision for education in this community?
I want to see a balance between testing accountability and educational freedom. I understand the importance of accountability but I want to be sure we’re providing opportunities for our students to engage in learning and follow their individual passions.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
You need to develop a clear vision for programs and plans in the district.  You then need to understand what the public is willing and able to support and use that information to plan for the future.

Chad Earl

Chad Earl
Name: Chad Earl
Years living in district: 10
Occupation: Software Engineer
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved:

STEM, Parent Coach for ME little league,  volunteer in my children’s classrooms

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am looking forward to working with fellow board members, faculty, parents, and administration to help grow our vision, goals and policy all while making fiscally responsible decisions to best serve our Spartan community.  I looking forward to hearing feedback from our students, parents, and faculty about how we can improve on their experiences in our schools.  I would like to have the opportunity to make a positive impact in our schools.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
Throughout my career and volunteer experiences, I have developed leadership and listening skills for an all inclusive team building environment, which will foster positive relationships to further our Spartan community.  We also have a small business, my wife is the owner of, that sells computers over the internet that has been in business for the last 7 years.   Helping to run a small business has given me a great understanding of finance and operations of a business that will help to make fiscally responsible decisions to best serve our Spartan community.  

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
I believe that school board members should have children currently enrolled in the school district so they are vested in their children’s education.  I believe that school members should be good leaders, listeners and all inclusive of all voices.

What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision of education in this community is to have an environment of faculty, parents, students, and community members that can thrive and further grow our children for the future of tomorrow.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
There has to be a balance of how the school district spends money wisely and also ensuring the quality of education.  The school board must listen to the taxpayers’ side and the educators needs to provide a quality education to create a school budget that supports all sides.

Seat Occupied by William Powell

Lynn Ross

Lynn Ross
Name: Lynn Ross
Years living in district: 25
Occupation: Retired  Maine Endwell Teacher
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved:
I served 15 years as a Kindergarten/Transitional First teacher at Homer Brink Elementary School.  While at Homer Brink, I was selected to serve as the Kindergarten/Transitional First team leader for science, and I represented Homer Brink for two years on the District’s Strategic Planning Committee.  I served Maine-Endwell teachers as a Building Representative, and later as Vice President in the Maine-Endwell Teachers’ Association.
 While our two daughters went through the Maine-Endwell school system, I played an active role in the Parent Teacher Association.  Throughout these school years, I coached one daughter’s Odyssey of the Mind team; cheered for the swimming, diving, and softball teams; supported music boosters; served as a Girl Scout troop leader; coordinated costumes for operettas and plays; and fundraised for the many other after-school activities our daughters enjoyed through M-E.
Outside of the school district, I have served on the Town of Maine’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and I am currently a trustee for the Nanticoke Valley Historical Society.  I also volunteer at a local food bank established to help our community through the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I love being part of Maine-Endwell, and I hope to have the opportunity and privilege to serve our community as a representative on the Board of Education!  As a candidate for the school board, I offer a unique blend of perspectives given my experiences as an educator, parent, and community member within the Maine-Endwell district.  I believe the role of a school board member is to serve as a leader in the community by fostering policies, informed by community input, that move our schools in a positive direction.  I believe I can be of service to our wonderful community in helping to achieve this vision.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?

My 15 years as a teacher at Homer Brink, two years on the District Strategic Planning Committee, service as a member on the negotiating team for two teacher contracts, and experiences with two children going through the Maine-Endwell school system have prepared me to represent our community on the school board.  Along with my degree in education, I also have a master’s degree in Business Administration, which helps me understand the needs of educators, parents, and students as well as the administrative functions underpinning the district.  Although I am sure there will be much to learn, I believe these skills and experiences have prepared me to effectively serve our community as a representative on the school board.

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
Above all, effective school board members must maintain a focus on student education.  Members of the board need strong communication skills in order to speak with and listen to the total learning community, which  they represent.  Meaningful exchange with the community assists the board in developing a clear vision and in setting goals for our children’s education. The board needs to hold the district accountable for effectively using budgetary resources and for educational results.

What is your vision for education in this community?

My vision for our district is an educational model that looks at, and helps develop, the whole child.  A child’s cognitive development (thinking, memory, and language) is a crucial component of education, but research also emphasizes the importance of social, emotional, and physical development, which have a lifelong impact on a person.  I hope to help our schools balance their focus on these coequal components of education, a balance that has been all the more difficult during the pandemic.  My hope for our district is that each student graduates with a foundation built on all the skills they will need to be happy and productive.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
The primary functions of the school board are to develop policies that provide direction and set priorities for the district and to adopt and oversee the district’s budget.  To be effective in these roles, the board needs to build an inclusive environment, linking the community and families more closely to our children’s education.  To foster this inclusivity, the board needs to reach out in a variety of ways to hear what members of the learning community  feel the school board should consider.  Only by understanding the community’s opinions can board members effectively set priorities and ensure the best use of every taxpayer dollar devoted to our children’s education.

Bill Powell

Bill Powell
Name: William (Bill) T. Powell
Years living in district: 65+
Occupation: Retired, Director of Business Operations (Broome -Tioga BOCES)
Do you, or have you had children who attended Maine-Endwell Schools?  Yes

In what school district, or community activities/organizations have you been involved:
For the past 40 years I have been a very active “volunteer-for-life”, currently on two school boards, my 9 years on our Maine-Endwell board of Ed, and the B-T BOCES board. Previously I was active on several other boards, such as the Cider Mill Playhouse Board, and the Broome Developmental Center Foundation Board, and part of the financial roles in each, and was the past President of local chapter of the Purchasing Management Association. I also am a graduate of, and past board member of the Broome Leadership Institute (BLI).  
On the specific M-E activities, I have been on committees such as the Building Planning committee, the Technology Planning committee, the Community Superintendent Search committee, and now on the Strategic Planning committee, the Health Insurance Evaluation committee, the board of Professional Development committee, the School Safety and Security team, and the Board Audit Committee. Outside of these board activities, I was also a coach in the Vestal and Town of Union youth soccer leagues, also as a judge for the Odyssey of the Mind competition for 6 years.

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
As many of you know, I am deeply committed to the well-being of the district, the students, the staff, the parents, and the taxpayers. So, to be able to help the district make the right decisions, a person needs to be on the school board, that is why I have chosen to run another term on the board of education. And that by working together in a non-aggressive, non-combative yet positive and collaborate manner, we will continue to be able to offer a premier education to all students… while also working to meet the needs of all the contributors.

What particular experience, or skills, have prepared you to serve as a board member?
In addition to my time spent working and volunteering at the above-mentioned boards, I have had the unique experience of working in both sectors, originally in the private sector for 30 years, and then in the public sector for the past 14 years, specifically in the school environment. During my time spent working at BOCES, I have acquired over 10 yrs. experience of the financial and budgeting of a school. This work experience has complimented my life-time-learner approach, as I chose to continue my education, as a commitment to my new career. I took it upon myself to pursue my permanent certifications, both as a School Business Administrator (SBA), and as a School District Administrator (SDA).

What attributes and behaviors are essential for school board members?
I believe that the number one characteristic of a successful school board member is that being an “active listener”, of which I pride myself on being such a person. I not only research any topics to be discussed, and then listen intently to what is being said or presented. All prior to me forming a “working opinion.”

What is your vision for education in this community?
My vision of education in our community is providing an enriched educational plan for all students, tailoring as much as possible for each student. Educational packages that meet all the needs of each student, designed to not only address the academics, but also offering courses that will provide the students with socialization skills.
In addition, there should be a course on mental health and topics related to this subject. Another area to focus in is the subject of diversity.

How does a school board balance the need to provide a quality education with the need to respond to the local taxpayer burden?
Our district has always had the support of our community, and we are very thankful of their support. I believe that the community trusts us to do the right thing, and a lot of this comes from the transparency we have put in place with our entire budget process. We start months ahead of our annual vote in May, holding hour long budget review meetings, prior to normally scheduled board meetings. This has been put in place ever since our superintendent took over the position, as Jason has always been a believer in being transparent in all that we do.
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