For the past six years I have had the privilege of serving as a member of the Suffern Central Board of Education. I have also had the honor of being elected to serve as Board President since the 2019-2020 school year – a responsibility I take very seriously. For those of you who may not know me beyond the walls of the boardroom, I am happy to share this brief bio:
Since 2018, I have owned and operated a franchise in Rockland and Westchester for a nationally recognized health, hygiene and commercial cleaning company. I have three children in the district – one at each building level – which keeps my wife and I busy all afternoon and evening. At Suffern High School my oldest daughter, a sophomore, plays on several sports teams and is an active member of USO, the United Student Organization. My son is a fourth grader at Montebello Elementary where has reaped the benefits of our Project Based Learning (PBL) program; and as my second daughter prepares to graduate from Suffern Middle School, she will do so after achieving some of the best grades of her career while also pursuing her true passion – dance – in a nearby studio. My wife Sarah and I have lived in Suffern for 14 years, while she has been a member of the Guidance Department at Suffern High School since 2002. Our family is committed to this district and an authentic example of what it means to have #MountiePride.
Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in our hectic, day-to-day lives we forget to stop and remember where we came from – what helped us become the people we see in the mirror each morning – and how our past dictates our future. I am a native of Yonkers, having moved to Rockland County the summer going into third grade. I attended private school through eighth grade, with a graduating class under 30. After transitioning to public school, I graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1995. Over the past 25 years I have seen how a school district facing change, demographic or otherwise, can either crumble at the public school’s expense or embrace that change through innovation, resolve and a progressive, holistic approach. I am proud to be part of the latter.
Three years ago, with my second term on the horizon, I talked about a Board that was dysfunctional, uncivil and lacking direction. Today, I am proud to say that the seven individuals currently on the Board of Education have created the stability that had been lacking in previous years. We are a team united by a single concept – to provide the best possible educational, social-emotional and extracurricular environment to our children.
Reflecting on some of our district’s achievements over that span, I am proud to have been a part of bringing a Pre-K program to Suffern schools, where we now offer two full day and two half-day sessions. We are offering summer enrichment programs and facing our demographic changes head on with the hiring of our first Director of ENL & Equity. Suffern has seen wonderful improvements in our curriculum, such as Project Based Learning and continues to utilize Yale E-I across all grade levels to strengthen the Social-Emotional wellbeing of the “complete student.” We have also hired a new Superintendent, reduced the annual spend on district attorneys by over 50% and continued to improve our facilities through established Capital Reserve Funds.
As with school districts nationwide, Suffern has not been without its challenges. COVID changed the landscape of public education over the past two years, creating new challenges for families, educators and administrators. Understanding the struggles of virtual learning early on, we were able to deploy devices such as Chromebooks to every single student in our public schools, which was a direct result of our positive budgeting strategies. We orchestrated the transition to remote, and eventually hybrid learning, while staying true to our lesson plans and instructional requirements.
I am proud to be on the ballot again this year and look forward to continuing our goals as set forth in last year’s Strategic Plan. I will continue to work tirelessly for the students of our district and provide transparency in our practices, even when unpopular, so that Suffern Central can continue to be the shining star in Rockland County.
All candidates for elected office are encouraged to send in a bio outlining who they are and why they are running. Please email us at: [email protected]