CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Three seats on the Shenendehowa School District Board of Education will be up for election this May and all three incumbents holding those seats have announced their intentions to seek re-election.
The announcement of the upcoming board elections from Shen Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson drew immediate responses from board members Gary DiLallo, Todd Gilbert and Deanna Stephenson at the March 5 board meeting.
While individually, stating their intentions to run, all three noted the positive results gained from the broad range of views held by the seven members that make up the board. Each gave impassioned reasons for why they wish to remain on the board.
After Robinson noted that the re-election packets were on the desk in front of him, Gilbert made his intentions clear by leaving his seat to get one. He is seeking his third, four-year term on the board.
“We are a very highly functioning board in my estimation,” he said. “We agree and we disagree, but we always focus on the right things, the students in the district and the employees. While we may have disagreements here and there, we always get to the right goal in the end. We always make the right decisions. I’m very happy.”
DiLallo noted how he continues to find the work of the board an interesting and challenging endeavor.
“I’ve been on this board nearly 18 years and believe I’ve made some significant contributions in my time,” he said. “I’m not just occupying space but working with others to make a difference. I believe I still have the ability to contribute and make a difference and so I’ve decided to run for my seventh term on the board.”
Stephenson is running for her second term. Her remarks were the most personal of the three. A former PTA president at Arongen Elementary School, she came to the board with strong community support. In a preface to her remarks, she described her election to the board as a great opportunity and an honor.
“As I’ve reflected on my time on the board since 2016, I’m continually in awe of the positive strides the district makes to encompass the whole student,” she said. “I continue to learn in this position, one that’s never stagnant.”
She noted the many challenges the district continually faces from a variety of perspectives which include, among others, political aspects, financial, cultural diversity, social justice, and health and wellness.
“When I first considered a run for the board, I thought I knew everything that was happening at Shen when I did my PTA work, but I’ve got to tell you that when I stepped into this role I knew nothing,” she said. “This district is huge. The aspects of it are endless, and I continue to learn every day. We work collaboratively. I am one of seven people that sit on this board of education. I respect each and every one of you for what you contribute. I seek the continued support of my fellow board members and the community as I seek my second term.”
Board president Robert Pressly advised anyone seeking election to the board for the first time to visit the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) website and review the information posted there for board of education members.
“I think we all take a broad perspective on this board,” he said. “People considering a run should not focus on one issue, in my opinion. The mood within this board is we need to continue that broad perspective if we want to do things for all students.”
All candidates wishing to run for a seat on the board must submit nominating petitions to the district clerk with at least 42 signatures from qualified voters living in the school district.
Packets containing a basic district questionnaire and three nominating petitions can be obtained from the district headquarters at 5 Chelsea Place. The nominating petitions must be returned to the district clerk or the superintendent’s office at Shen District headquarters by 5 p.m. April 22.
A nominee for a board of education member must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of this country, and a resident of the school district for a period of one year preceding the date of the annual meeting.
The Shen School Board Candidate Packet includes a short questionnaire on the candidate, guidelines for filing petitions, five nominating petitions, and expenditure statements for candidates for election to a board of education. Nominees are required to follow the requirements of the state Commissioner of Education for reporting expenses.