The pandemic threw a giant curveball at school districts, and those locals who want to run for school board. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decided against walk-in voting, saying budget and school board votes will be done by absentee ballot. Would-be board candidates, rather than gather petitions and submit them to the Board of Elections, merely had to fill out an application and file it with the district clerk by 5 PM on May 12. In many cases, the public still doesn’t know who intends to run because some districts have yet to reveal the names of those running. Here’s what we know. Voters in each district will get a ballot in the mail in early June that is due back on June 9.
In Amagansett, there are two three-year terms on the board of education up for grabs, and three candidates.
Kevin Warren is the only incumbent on the ballot. Meredith Cairns and Kimberly Slicklein are also seeking election. Cairns is on the Amagansett Library Board of Trustees, a member of the Parent Teacher Association, a Girl Scout troop leader, and a former prosecutor with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Former board member Hank Muchnic chose not to run.
John Ryan and Jackie Lowey’s terms are expiring, and former East Hampton School Board President George Aman has thrown his hat in the ring.
“I’m running and I believe Jackie is as well,” Ryan told The Independent. His is a three-year term.
Aman was named president a decade ago, and resigned after three years on the board in 2013 to pursue other administrative positions that became available in the area. Prior to taking the helm in East Hampton he served as the superintendent of the Amagansett School District for 10 years. Across his more than 40 years of experience that includes being a math teacher, he served as a principal in Liverpool, NY, and was an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Riverhead and in Longwood.
“I believe that both John and Jackie are good board members, but I have 40 years of experience,” Aman said. “I believe I am more qualified.”
There are two board spots open in East Quogue, those of Kristen Jankowski and Brian Babcock. “Mrs. Jankowski will be seeking re-election, Mr. Babcock is not,” said Chris Hudson, the board president.
The challengers are Kristina LaRusso and Joseph Sanicola.
One seat is open in Greenport, and incumbent board member and vice president Kirsten Droskoski filed a petition for re-election, according to district officials.
Dorothy Capuano, an incumbent whose term is expiring, is running for another three-year term in Hampton Bays.
This year’s nominees are Pat Arslanian, a retired teacher; Mary Lynn Hoeg, a former board member; and Brian Mealy, the incumbent. There is one open seat on the Mattituck/Cutchogue board.
Montauk School Board President Diane Hausman, who holds one of five seats, is up for re-election. Hausman, the only candidate, has chosen to run again.
There will be three school board seats filled in this year’s election. They are currently held by board President Gregory Meyer, Christopher Dorr, and Therese Zuhoski. All three intend to serve another term.
Seven challengers have stepped up to run in this contentious district. Three former board members: Angela DeVito, Amelia Lantz and Ann Colter; Stephanie Ranghell, who holds master’s degree from Dowling College; Gregory John Fischer, who holds an MBA from University of Albany; Ryan Gregor, Virginia Healy, and Yolanda Thompson.
There are three expiring terms in Sag Harbor, those of Brian DeSesa, Diana Kolhoff, and Alex Kriegsman.
“Diana Kolhoff is the only board member . . . that has stated that she will not seek re-election,” said district Clerk Victoria Handy.
Former board member Sandi Kruel has filed a petition to run, as have Ronald Reed and Helen Roussel.
Kruel has a long history with the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League and was named its president in 2018. She served multiple terms on the school board before leaving in 2017. Her son Nick, who played for Pierson High School, is a major league pitching prospect.
Roussel founded the Dyslexia Advocacy Action Group to promote dyslexia awareness and works closely with local schools. Reed is an artist and architect. DeSesa and Kriegsman are attorneys.
In Southampton, there are two board seats available, each a four-year term. Anastasia Gavalas and James McKenna, whose terms expire on June 30, have indicated they will run again. McKenna is the former Mattituck-Cutchogue Union Free School District Superintendent.
Incumbent Southold school board members Scott Latham and Brian Tobin each filed petitions to seek another term on the school board. Two seats are open.
Tim Frazier and Pat Brabant, both incumbent members of the school board, are both up for re-election and both intend to run. Brabant is a builder by trade and Frazier, a school administrator.
Information on school board candidates in Bridgehampton, Shelter Island, Tuckahoe, and Westhampton Beach was not received by press time.