Meet Your Candidates for the East Meadow School Board | Community Newspapers Herald
The race is on for two trustee seats on the East Meadow School District School Board. Incumbents Eileen Napolitano, who was elected to the board three years ago, and Melissa Tell, first elected to the board in 2015, are re-elected. Their challengers are Colette DeVito and Rosalba Danielo.
The East Meadow Herald has reached out to all applicants to ask how they would be an asset to the district, considering this upcoming school year will become crucial amid the financial impact of the pandemic, as well as the onset of a new normal.
East Meadow Herald: What inspired you to run?
Colette DeVito: I want some changes to be made. I would like to see better communication for the community and better quality for our children.
Eileen Napolitano: I think we still have work to do. We have a very diverse and cohesive board that works well together and I think as we come out of a pandemic as well, we need individuals with knowledge so that we can have boots on the ground and start well. the school year rather than having someone. still on a learning curve.
Rosalba Danielo: My daughter graduated last year from WT Clarke High School. Granted, it was a pandemic, but things need to change. It’s the same old system and things need to be updated, starting with pre-K through adulthood, helping them prepare for college. You have to build them from small until they get old and I feel like I have the opportunity to do that.
Melissa Tell: In 2014 and 2015, the East Meadow School District needed a change in leadership. I got involved in the campaign to have the community vote for full-time kindergarten. Some things that I saw happening in the neighborhood didn’t suit me, so I decided it was worth a try.
East Meadow Herald: What skills do you bring to the table?
DeVito: I have management skills.
Napolitano: I would say I bring a different perspective than some of the other directors. My two children have already graduated. Sometimes I can see things more from a community perspective, where one of the other admins can see something and focus on a particular class or academic.
Danielo: Being a mom. Sometimes you get these guys or women who have all these degrees and sometimes they forget that you have to be fed, you have to know what these kids really need at mother level.
Tell: Passion, commitment and honesty.
East Meadow Herald: What would your goals be if you were elected?
DeVito: I would like to see the children make the most of everything, while staying on budget. For me, communication is the key. I think this is lacking at the moment, in my personal opinion. The five goals that I hope to achieve if I am lucky enough to be elected are to improve communication, the quality of education, budget allocation and technology, sports and artistic infrastructure.
Napolitano: One of my priorities has been to ensure that we have equity among all students. This includes students who choose to work rather than pursue higher education. We are seeing more and more students choosing this direction and I still think there is still work to be done to bridge the gap and give them resources. Another goal would be to continue working our budget efficiently and effectively and to continue the programs we have established with our students without increasing taxpayers. During this pandemic, we had to be reactionary at the time. Another goal would be to better prepare or have an expanded plan, should a situation like this occur again.
Danielo: To improve the pre-K system. It’s very minimal and I think it needs to be helped and we need to get the teachers’ help and the right resources. Again, help graduates prepare for college. There is something in place with guidance counselors, but we need to prepare them more when they enter university. And communication is important. I think a community needs better communication between districts and parents. Parents should be able to be more involved in decision-making. Also, I would try to keep taxes as low as they could be.
Tell: My main priority is the health and safety of students and employees in our district. One of the administrator’s responsibilities means making sure that the school district administration follows state and law guidelines. Most people don’t understand this. Another goal is to continue to provide the best possible education for every student, as well as to continue to be transparent as a board. I also believe in #oneeastmeadow. We are a very large neighborhood. Somehow we have to maintain the individuality within each school with the same concept and the same mission behind it all. We have made tremendous progress, but as a district we still have a long way to go. Finally, we must remain financially strong.
East Meadow Herald: What is your biggest concern for the next school year when it comes to the pandemic?
Napolitano: We need to focus on emotional, mental and transitional support for students. In addition, we have had kindergartens that have only had one learning experience and that has been behind the plexiglass. We must therefore be prepared to make resources available to students who are struggling and adjusting. We need our guidance counselors, directors, administrators and anyone who is truly prepared to deal with any situation that may arise regarding what a child has lost during this pandemic.
Danielo: I know the school was linked to the pandemic and they tried to do whatever they could under the governor’s rules but hopefully they can get these kids full time next year from the first day. Bring them back to normal. These children need to be around them, they need their friends, they need their sports.
Tell: As a world, this has been a very difficult year. Society has changed forever. As a district, we must keep moving forward and not back down. We have worked very hard to get this far and it would be a shame if we went back to the previous mentality.
East Meadow Herald: Why should the community elect you?
DeVito: Their children are my children.
Napolitano: The community knows me and knows my passion to always do the right thing and do the right thing for everyone and not for some. I think about the experience I bring with my many years in the school system. Regarding the PTA, the support of our teachers and what I have learned over the past three years as a Trustee, I will be a strong Trustee for another year where we will rely on our strengths.
Danielo: I am one of them. I’m a mom who started preschool kids two hours through high school, and I have a kid who is finishing college now. I represent them and I would like to be their representative.
Tell: Being a board director isn’t what many think it is and once they become a board director they end up like a deer in the headlights without knowing how to fend for themselves. The training is plentiful, but it’s not an overnight learning curve. It is important that we have one goal, which is to hit the ground running and get everything back to normal, all based on state advice. We are a decision-making body. We are not school district micromanagers, and we should never be. I think what we have is amazing and with what we have been able to accomplish this year, even with the limits set out by the government and section 8, we have been able to move mountains. I would like to continue to advance the East Meadow School District.