To the Editor:

My name is Tom Templeton, and I am seeking a seat on the Shenendehowa Board of Education. As a Shen alumnus – married to a Shen alumna – it has long been my goal to serve the school district that afforded me so many meaningful opportunities in my youth. Given the uncertainty of our circumstances due to the pandemic, I feel that now is the right time to put my experience in action on behalf of – and with deep respect to – my alma mater

Over the last decade, I have dedicated my life to improving the mental health and emotional well-being of children and families. I have provided direct care to young patients across the Capital Region, managed a clinic that serves more than 1,300 families, and worked alongside senior level state policymakers across child-serving agencies in California, Massachusetts and Michigan to help them develop policies to reduce the impact of trauma and violence on children. In addition, I contributed to New York’s statewide suicide prevention plan, “1,700 Too Many,” highlighting the importance of peer support as part of any sound prevention strategy.

If elected to the Shen board of education, I plan to utilize the skills and judgement I have honed in these roles to assist in addressing the complex challenges the district faces at this unprecedented time. As we look toward the next school year, we must prioritize mental and emotional health and safety alongside physical safety, as well as improve our capacity to meet the needs of students of all abilities and from all socioeconomic backgrounds. We must also make sure teachers have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively whether their classrooms are physical or virtual.

Our community is at a crossroads, and I believe I possess the necessary leadership experience to help ensure that Shenendehowa’s legacy of excellence lasts far into the future. Please vote Tom Templeton for the Shenendehowa Board of Education on June 9. 

Tom Templeton

Clifton Park

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Dear Fellow Residents of the Shenendehowa School District,

We certainly find ourselves in unprecedented times - economically, educationally, as a community, State, and Nation.  This is also an unprecedented opportunity to implement newly researched systems, practices, and innovations, as education is redefined.

As a member of the Clifton Park community and, by extension, the robust Shenendehowa School District for almost a decade, I would be honored to collaborate with fellow leaders as we embark on these changes.  A seat on the School Board will enable that. As a Shenendehowa School Board Member, my primary goal will be to address the impact of the School Budget on families struggling with the COVID-19 Pause Order. I want to make sure that proposed options as we move forward reflect equitable responsibility, while still providing for the best quality education that our current and future generations deserve! Doing so will take a fresh perspective, and collaboration. I propose innovative thinking and action for short-term and long-term sustainability.

You may have heard of SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Goals like this provide a positive reinforcement loop, in which we can see our plans unfold, and move towards measurable progress. I am hoping you will consider the SMARTER extension in which we embrace Evaluation and Reassessment, making sure that the ends we come to from implementing our plans live up to our intentions in setting them. Superintendent Dr. Robinson has been doing an excellent job providing leadership and vision. Shenendehowa is a coveted, exemplary district. Its per-student cost is low compared to the rest of the state. Its performance, school spirit, and community engagements are models for other Districts to follow. I do not want to change this; I want to progress to the next level with innovation!

No one yet knows what education will be like come September, though I am confident that it will be different on account of necessity.  This is our chance to continue to lead the State in educational efforts through best practice and remain an exemplar District, even in the face of newness. 

The resources I bring to the table include a fresh perspective that focuses on the long view, as well shorter-term specifics. Through my wife, Dr. Laura Ficarra, there is also networking with resources from the State Department Education, Office of Mental Health, Office of Addiction Services and Supports, BOCES, Skidmore College, and the PAXIS Institute for guidance about latest research in childhood development and education. 

Let us celebrate the enthusiastic pride of our community and School District as we expand on the laurels that have been achieved to date.  As we create the new era in education, I want our community to share in the excitement about what the future holds for Shen students, administrators and teachers, as well as the residents at large. I look forward to working with my fellow residents on the School Board as a reflection of the greater will in making this vision happen!

Yours in Service,

Brian Kissel

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Dear Editor,

Two years ago I was elected to the Shenendehowa Board of Education after the wonderful Bill Casey stepped down. I come to you asking for your support to be re-elected to continue the honor of representing the Shen community, serving each child in our great district.

The past two years have been nothing short of rewarding, exciting and even sometimes challenging. Challenging in the most productive way, especially now during a time of such uncertainty given the Coronavirus crisis. We as a board and district have accepted this challenge as an opportunity to move forward to ensure that the Shenendehowa mission, to be leaders for learning, doesn't go by the wayside, including being fiscally responsible.

This year's budget is familiar to previous years where we have passed two solid district budgets. It keeps taxes low while maintaining the quality of our education programs. In a time where other neighboring districts have had to cut staff and programs, Shenendehowa has made no staffing cuts, is preserving all programs and tax increases remain below the cap.

My husband Jeff and I live in the district with our two teenage children who attend Shenendehowa. I have an undergraduate degree and a Master’s Degree of Social Work from New York University. My post graduate work was done at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy where I completed a 4 year psychoanalytic training program.

My professional experience includes years of working independently as a private psychotherapy practitioner, hospital social worker for 15 plus years, along with providing intakes and evaluations for children and adolescents in a psychiatric setting.

I have been involved in several PTA leadership roles, and have been serving the past two years on the Board of Education. As a board member I sit on several committees including those related to mental health: Counseling Advisory Committee - working closely with our school counselors- and Mental Health and Wellness - (working with counselors and members from various departments throughout the district including those from the policy team) several partnership teams, PTA’s, and Cultural Diversity.

Shen’s Board of Education has done great work as a team and it is my hope to keep that continuity going. We are like minded in public service and expect the same outcome for the 10,000 children in our district.

 We have approved programs and policies with the confidence that each student can reach their full potential and are true believers in public education. We each bring a specific strength to the table that makes us the team we are today.

My strength is 25 plus years of experience in the mental health field. I bring with me a completely different perspective, one that looks deeply into our programs and policies making certain mental health is being represented and brought forth. I believe my area of expertise is critical especially now when the social and emotional needs of our children are of utmost importance. I am an advocate both personally and professionally. I identify, advocate, execute and implement. That said, I am receptive and responsive to the community at large and believe in being transparent and encouraging open dialogue with staff, community members and especially our students whose voices matter.

I am passionate about running for the board of education today more than ever. We are in a crisis and I have the background and expertise to help guide the district to make mental health and wellness a top priority for our children and I hope to have your support going forward on June 9.

 Thank You,

Gusta Miller

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Dear Editor,

We live with a threat to our lives, fortunes and future.  The welfare of our children and their future is our greatest concern and that future is influenced most by the quality of the education they experience.  Shenendehowa has adjusted swiftly and well to the sudden changes brought by COVID–19.  The leadership of the district and board of education has dealt well with the educational challenges and is putting forth a budget that preserves a rich experience for students.

In these highly unusual circumstances the residents of the Shenendehowa CSD have the good fortune of having seven individuals who have stepped forward to offer their service as board of education members.  Candidates for this office are likely public minded, well-educated and offer a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. In short they are likely all qualified to serve. What distinguishes two of the candidates from the others? They are serving members of the board.

Continuity of board membership is truly vital at this time, therefore I ask you to return Naomi Hoffman and Gusta Miller to the board for another term.  They both bring intellect, judgement and experience to the table. Also, please support the proposed budget and transportation proposal.

Gary DiLallo, Shen Board of Education member

Clifton Park

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To the Editor:

As a parent of young adults that benefited from their educational experiences in the Shenendehowa school system, I remain interested in the continued pursuit of educational excellence for our children (and grandchildren).  Moreover, as someone who previously managed public sector budgets – including State aid to the 700 public school districts in our State, it is clear to me that school districts will face some real financial challenges in upcoming years.

Darryl Giannetti is the spouse of a career high school teacher and the parent of three Shenendehowa graduates who went on to receive degrees at prominent national universities.  Giannetti has practical business experience, skills and knowledge that can assist our Board of Education in the challenges that lie ahead.  He cares about children and will work to maintain and improve the educational opportunities for all the students of Shenendehowa.  Please support Darryl Giannetti for Shenendehowa Board of Education.

Robert Brondi

Ballston Lake

                                                         

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Dear Editor,

 My name is Jennifer Armstrong and I have been a teacher at Shenendehowa High School for the past nine years. One of the benefits of this time of social distancing has been seeing the numerous passionate candidates running for Board of Education and having the time to read their platforms as they seek election in the community. It has been amazing to see some of my colleagues run for the Boards of Education in their own communities. I know that their expertise in the classroom will be invaluable as advocates for education. As a teacher in the Shenendehowa School District, I can attest that the importance of advocacy and real-world experience is necessary to support teachers and students. There are nine qualified candidates running for the Shenendehowa Board of Education; Thomas Templeton, however, is one candidate that I personally would like to support in his candidacy as he runs for Shenendehowa Board of Education.  Mr. Templeton has the right combination of professional experience as a mental health professional, personal ties to the community as an alumnus and parent, and a champion for education for all students that make him a uniquely qualified candidate.

Mr. Templeton has three platforms that he is running on that I believe are particularly important for the Shenendehowa community. First is the safe reopening of schools in the wake of COVID-19. As an alumnus of Shenendehowa and a mental health professional, he understands the intricate details of the school environment and would bring an important perspective and voice to the board as they create a plan for the safe education of our students in the coming months. Second is the creation of a strategic planning committee with the goal of improving ELA and Math Assessment scores among economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. As an educator, who firmly believes in empowering students and creating equal access to quality education, this goal is extremely important to me. As an educator in the Shenendehowa High School, I can again attest to the amazing and passionate teachers that work with our students and I believe with additional attention from a strategic planning committee we will be better prepared to continue to meet the challenges of our diverse student population. Lastly, Mr. Templeton plans to advocate for full-day kindergarten. The importance of full-day kindergarten and its ability to contribute in improving verbal and reasoning skills in children has been shown in countless studies and it is something that we as a school community should be prioritizing for our students.

There are nine passionate and uniquely qualified candidates running for the Shenendehowa Board of Education and as a teacher in the Shenendehowa school district I write this letter in support of Mr. Thomas Templeton’s candidacy. I believe that Mr. Templeton will bring a passionate and diverse lens to the Board of Education and will work tirelessly to provide the quality of education and excellence we believe in at Shenendehowa to all the children of this district.

Sincerely,                                                                                                          Jennifer Armstrong, Shen High School World Language Teacher

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Dear Editor,

As a retired educator of the Shenendehowa Central School District, and a resident of Halfmoon, I write to express my endorsement of Thomas Templeton for the school board. Over my forty two year career, at Shen, I have proudly watched many students use all they were afforded by our district to achieve wonderful places in our society.

Tom is no exception. He has established himself as a licensed psychotherapist and behavioral health policy consultant in our area, and worked to meet the needs of children and families across the region. He has worked with people from all walks of life to help mediate the impact of mental health and trauma around our state and in our area. After the impact of the pandemic on our school district’s children and teachers, I cannot think of another person who would adequately fill the shoes that we are in need of right now.

His priorities are clear and he has stated them to distinguish himself from all seven of the candidates running for two vacant seats. He states:

 1. Ensure that the planning efforts to reopen the physical campus following the Covid-19 Lockdown prioritize mental and emotional safety, as well as physical safety, now and in the future.

2.  Work to improve the scores of ELA and Math Assessment among economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.

3. Advocate for full day Kindergarten.

Tom and his beautiful wife, Erin, who is also a Shen alumnus, chose to reside in the community they grew up in, and to raise their daughter, Everly, and future children, here. They are thankful for the quality education they received and wish for that to continue in our district. Please consider supporting this very hardworking and talented young man, He will not disappoint us.

Dora P. Myers

Clifton Park

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To All Shenendehowa School District Voters,

Having known Darryl Giannetti for over 35 years, I heartily recommend him for the position of Shenendehowa School Board Member. His analytical and critical thinking within a context of common sense fiscal responsibility make him an extremely qualified candidate and passionate school board member.

Daryl and his wife have raised three wonderful sons, all Shenendehowa graduates. It has been my pleasure, and my family’s pleasure, to watch their maturation and growth following their parents’ lead. Academically, athletically, socially and philanthropically, the Giannetti boys emulate their father in all areas. Good citizens, respectful and open-minded, proud of their Shen heritage and active in its growth moving forward. A true testament to their father’s guidance.

Darryl Giannetti will bring a level of professionalism, common sense and critical thinking to the Shenendehowa school board which I appreciate as a fellow resident of the Shenendehowa Central School District. His appreciation of the Shen district for his sons’ educations and commitment for the Shenendehowa Central School District moving forward in these new and unsettled times make him eminently qualified for school board membership.

A truly qualified candidate and a nicer guy you will never meet. He has our family’s vote and I would suggest your vote as well.

Respectfully,

Mark A. Petrecki

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Dear Editor

I am writing to enthusiastically support Naomi Hoffman for re-election to the Shenendehowa Central School District Board of Education. She is a Shen parent and has worked tirelessly in organizing and developing a variety of Shenendehowa programs that have benefitted the students across many Shenendehowa schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

As a parent of children in Shenendehowa, I had the opportunity of volunteering as a coach in the Odyssey of the Mind program, where students learn to apply creative problem-solving skills while competing in teams. I was provided opportunities to train and understand the Odyssey program and guide the children in the program. I noticed first hand, programs such as these give our children additional opportunities for enrichment, personal growth and team work. To introduce this program at the elementary school level, Naomi wrote grants, organized workshops to make it possible for more students to participate in it and assist new coaches. She has been a guide and mentor for such programs and her dedication, energy and commitment is evident from the fact that the program has continued to be successful. Naomi has also coached high school level Odyssey teams these past 4 years, and in 2018-2019 successfully established the high school club. Through the club and program, high schoolers have the opportunity to use their experience to mentor younger teams as well.

Aside from the Odyssey of the Mind program, Naomi has also been involved in several PTA programs, such as Arts in Education, Shen Inventors, First Lego League and Junior First Lego League. Naomi is an asset to our Shenendehowa school community, and I hope our readers will support her re-election at the upcoming Shenendehowa Board of Education election.

Ketaki Nagarkar                                                                                                          Clifton Park

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Dear voters of the Shen School District:

 Darryl Giannetti is running for the Shen School Board and I invite you to support him with your vote. I’ve known Darryl for 3 years; we serve on a company board together. He is whip-smart, a listener, curious, and comes prepared with lots of questions. He talks when he has something to say but doesn’t have an ego in the game. His thoughtful questions have propelled the company to opportunities it hadn’t considered before. I chaired the board of trustees of a school here in Massachusetts for 7 years and know how important it is to get well-meaning community members involved in our kids’ education. School committee members need to keep the children at the heart of what they do and not get locked into positions. I have seen how Darryl is a collaborator and bridge-builder. He will keep the children of your district in mind. He will balance the needs of kids, parents, businesses and other stakeholders in your community, and do it in a manner that is kind, thoughtful, and reasoned. If I were in Shen School District, I would feel confident knowing he was on the School Board.

Sincerely,

Cheryl Lower

Sterling, MA

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As a teacher and school principal with twenty years in the field, I believe the single most essential characteristic for an elected official in this unprecedented time is servant leadership. Tom Templeton epitomizes this way of leading, and both his personal life and professional life speak clearly to this. A candidate skilled at generous listening and consensus building, a laser-like focus on access and opportunity for all students, an unwavering commitment to providing the necessary tools and training for world-class educators, and a consistent advocacy for parent engagement at the decision-making table—Tom will surface and address the issues that truly matter. A proud husband, humble father and successful Shen graduate, Tom demonstrates his steadfast belief that quality education is the lynchpin for lifelong achievement. He is serious about his responsibility to give back; grateful for the foundation and preparation he received at Shen. At this moment, we are at a decided crossroads in education with many competing priorities and significantly limited resources. Tom Templeton is the type of leader the community needs to serve Shenendehowa Central Schools as it continues to be widely recognized throughout the state and country as a model school district. 

Michael Templeton

Providence, RI

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Dear Editor,

There are many strong candidates running for a seat on the Shenendehowa School Board this year.  Among these many choices, I encourage you to vote for Naomi Hoffman for a second term.  Naomi is experienced, having served on the board in the previous term.  Naomi has over 20 years’ experience in finance and has tirelessly dedicated her time and expertise as a volunteer in our schools for over ten years.  She is a Shen parent, herself, and though her children are transitioning out of Shen and onto their next chapters, Naomi continues to dedicate her time to a number of STEAM programs.  She is a coach and leader for Odyssey of the Mind as well as the Lego Robotics League and her team members can tell you of her passion for and dedication to the education, well-being and intellectual development of Shen’s children. 

I met Naomi when I volunteered as a first-time coach for my son’s Odyssey of the Mind team in 2016.  Though she was coaching her own Division II Odyssey team and leading the Lego Robotics program in the high school, she volunteered her time on several occasions to mentor our Division 0 team (K-2).  Her energy and enthusiasm were infectious!  Her deep love of learning and discovery were apparent as she encouraged the children to think and build in creative ways.  This passion for education is a necessary trait for a member of Shenendehowa’s Board of Education. 

Naomi listens to the concerns and needs of Shen’s parents.  She can be seen at many Shen events and I have talked with her many times at these events about my thoughts and concerns regarding my own children’s academic experiences.  She listens to these concerns and responds with understanding and with ideas and thoughts for addressing them.  I have witnessed similar exchanges between Naomi and countless other parents at countless school events.  Naomi is not only a member of the Board, she is a member of our school community as her presence and accessibility show. 

Naomi is present.  She is accessible.  She is caring.  Naomi is passionate about education and dedicated to our students.  For these reasons, I am voting for Naomi Hoffman for Shenendehowa School Board.  I hope that you will, as well.  Thank you.

Warm regards,                                                                                              Joleyn Brewer                                                                                                 Clifton Park

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