Dear Editor:

Thank you so much for offering me the platform and opportunity to introduce myself to the members of the Shenendehowa community. My name is Lacey Griffin-Braaf and I am a mom of three children aged 12, 9 and 2. Since joining this wonderful school district over two years ago, I have happily volunteered my time to partner with faculty and staff in numerous of school led events.

Having a position on the Shenendehowa school Board of Education should allow me to pair my personal and professional passions and experiences to better enhance the education o the children of this community. My experience in working as a mental health advocate, supporting individuals with disabilities, volunteering and mentoring young girls throughout the Capital Region and my ability to think creatively and collectively makes me a great candidate for this role.

I’ve spent the last three years working for New York State Department of Health managing budgets for programs that are designed to help families and children throughout New York State with addressing mental health issues, substance abuse concerns, and health and wellness education. This experience has taught me to be fiscally responsible with public funds to support families and children in the best way possible.

Thank you again for the opportunity to introduce myself and I look forward to partnering with the members of this community.

Lacey Griffin-Braaf

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Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in support of the re-election of my two board colleagues Naomi Hoffman and Gusta Miller.  I have had the pleasure of serving the past few years with both of them and have gained a lot of respect for the value they both bring to the board. 

Gusta’s background in mental health is a very valuable and useful resource in our discussions and decisions in the district to ensure the welfare of ALL of our students, no matter their circumstances.  

Naomi brings a strong connection to our community and is very active in the PTAs. She attends as many events across the district as she possibly can which allows her to share out messaging and provide us with valuable feedback from the community we serve. 

Like the rest of us, both have made sacrifices to their families in spending time on the board and that is very much appreciated by all.  They understand the time commitments and what that means as far as time away from their families, in order to serve our district and community. 

I will be supporting both Gusta and Naomi for re-election and ask that you do as well.  Thank you. 

Todd R Gilbert, Shen Board of Education member


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Dear Editor:

I have been a resident of Clifton Park and the Shenendehowa School District for 50 years and am voting for Tom Templeton for a seat on the school board on June 9. I have known Tom for several years, mostly in a professional capacity. That working relationship evolved into a working friendship based on an admiration for Tom's integrity, a strong work ethic and a calm reasoned approach to problem solving. 

Those are qualities crucial to being a member of a school board.

Beyond those strong character traits, Tom's professional background qualifies him to serve both the youth of our community and their parents.  He has dedicated his career to work with and for children as a licensed, practicing psychotherapist and a behavioral health policy consultant.  Tom has a special interest in suicide prevention and has consulted on preventative policies in New York State and elsewhere.  

His background is a vital resource that can be of service to the school and our community.

As a Shen graduate, Tom understands the scope and needs of the district. Another asset for Tom’s candidacy is his family status. He and his wife have an 18-month old daughter and another child is expected momentarily. His background will help the district solve immediate problems. However, because of his young family, the solutions he advocates will also have meaning for the future.

It has been my experience that those who have a plan for the future are usually successful in the present.  I believe Tom Templeton is that type of person.   I hope you give this serious thought and vote for Tom Templeton on June 9. 

Bob Goepfert

Clifton Park 

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Dear Editor:

There are many good reasons for the residents of the Shenendehowa School District to care about this year’s School Board election. In normal times, the Board makes a lot of important decisions such as building improvements and new school policies. With the pandemic, the Board’s decisions about fiscal management and student health issues will be even more important. Darryl Giannetti is the right choice to help our Board of Education make these tough choices.

I have known Darryl for almost twenty-five years. I had the privilege of serving with him as a Shen Hockey Booster Club officer. Darryl was a dedicated leader who brought numerous creative ideas to help raise funds for our projects. His business experience was a big help in building a consensus among the boosters and in generating positive support for the team from the community and our sponsors.

Darryl’s analytical ability, business insight, and leadership skills would be an asset to any public body, especially a school board. With the possibility of school aid changes and new regulations for in-school “social distancing”, I urge voters to strongly consider Darryl Giannetti when they complete their absentee ballot. He will be a responsive advocate for the key Shen constituents – our students, teachers and the community.


Phil Moore

Past President, Shen Hockey Boosters

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Dear Editor:

At this time last year, little did we know that we would be facing an unprecedented global public health crisis.

It is extraordinary how our district has navigated these uncharted waters. I am grateful to our students, families and staff for the unbelievable efforts they have made, from pivoting the way we deliver education and support to our students under these circumstances to accommodating each other to keep connected.

Due to the pandemic, education funding is extremely unpredictable leaving many school districts vulnerable--making it very challenging in developing the 2020-2021 District Budget. However, the community should be reassured that the sage foresight of district administration has positioned Shen to ride out this crisis without being seriously scathed, while being sensitive to the impact on taxpayers.

I encourage voters to support the proposed school budget and bus proposition by completing and returning their postage-paid absentee ballot by June 9th.

Don’t forget to vote for candidates to fill two Board of Education seats: Naomi Hoffman and Gusta Miller are seeking re-election. I have had the honor of working with Naomi and Gusta on the BOE for the past few years—their experience and proven track records speak for themselves, bringing to the table financial and mental health expertise. At this time of uncertainty, I believe it is critical to have continuity on the BOE with seasoned members who have an understanding of complex education laws and strong fiscal acumen as we continue to navigate this crisis. Stronger together.

-Christina Rajotte, Shen Board of Education member

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To Shenendehowa Voters:

As a parent of three Shenendehowa students and as a proud Shen Alum, I truly care about the character, commitment and abilities of the people we elect to make important decisions for our school district. I trust Gusta Miller to make those decisions and enthusiastically support her re-election to the Shenendehowa School Board.

I came to know Gusta when she was a dedicated volunteer taking on leadership roles at the school level. When she chose to run for the school board a few years ago, I wholeheartedly supported her decision. I thought that she would bring a unique perspective to the board as an experienced mental health professional. I still believe that perspective is relevant, probably now more than ever, with the unprecedented challenges associated with Covid-19.

Perhaps more importantly, the pandemic has highlighted that we can’t fully anticipate what issues and problems will arise over the coming years. Life is unpredictable and can change in an instant. That is why it is crucial that we take this election seriously and elect candidates who are smart, reasonable and compassionate—candidates with the ability to work through whatever challenges come our way. Gusta is all of these things. I am confident in her ability to carefully and competently analyze issues and to make thoughtful, rational, well-supported decisions in the best interest of the entire Shen community.

It is also essential to elect someone who has demonstrated her abilities and her commitment to Shen. Now is not the time to take chances. Gusta has a proven track record over her past two years serving on the board. She takes her responsibilities seriously. She listens, she advocates and, most importantly, she cares. Gusta is not a “one issue” candidate. She does not have an “agenda.” She is invested in all of Shen.

I will be casting my vote for Gusta Miller and entrusting her to make critical decisions for my own family, for all Shen students and for the entire Shen community. I hope that you will join me. Please remember that voting is by absentee ballot only and that all ballots must be received by the district on or before June 9th.

Respectfully submitted,

Tracey Drohan Tidgewell

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Dear Editor:

We are writing to urge the community to vote on June 9th to re-elect Gusta Miller and Naomi Hoffman to serve their second terms on the Shenendehowa School Board of Education.  We feel that Gusta’s professional background in mental health, and Naomi’s background in business are excellent complements to the other Board Member experience sets. They each have children who currently attend Shenendehowa and so their perspectives are highly informed.

We have had the opportunity to get to know both Gusta and Naomi personally, and through their many roles serving our community.  Prior to their first terms on the BOE, they each spent years and countless hours working as leaders for their children’s school PTA boards.  We have seen first hand that they both have a genuine interest in serving the students and Shen community and are dedicated to making thoughtful, educated decisions without  personal agendas or biases. 

Their personal backgrounds, work experiences and dedication are unique and unwavering. They are both great assets to the Shen BOE and our community.  It is for this reason that they have our enthusiastic support and we hope that you will vote for them in the upcoming election.  

Matt & Beth Miles

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Dear Editor:

Our family has resided in Clifton Park for more than 40 years. Our children benefited from the education they received from the Shenendehowa School District. My husband and I are now retired.

We have a continued interest in our community and the Shenendehowa School District. We are compelled to support and recommend the leadership and integrity that Darryl Giannetti can bring to our school district. It is so important during these uncertain times that people of principle, merit and intelligence represent our voice to help guide the future of our schools and the community. 

Having known Darryl and his family for 20 plus years, we are confident that Darryl Giannetti is such a person.  We highly recommend that you consider Darryl to represent you on the Shenendehowa School Board.

Vote for excellence. Vote for the future. Vote smart. Vote for Darryl Giannetti for the Shenendehowa School Board. Thank you.

Wally and Frances Akstull

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