Meet The North Shore BOE Candidates

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Current trustee Joanna Commander is seeking re-election and community members Cheryl Brown and Richard Galati are seeking election to the North Shore Board of Education. It is a contested election with two seats available. Meet the Candidates Night will take place on Tuesday, April 25, in the North Shore High School Cafeteria, at 8 p.m.

Community members will have an opportunity to vote on the North Shore Schools Proposition 1 (2017-18 School Budget Proposal), Proposition 2 (Transportation Distance Limits) and the Election of Trustees on Tuesday, May 16, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the North High School Gymnasium.

Cheryl Brown
Occupation: For 21 years, I have been a first grade teacher in Islip School District. I have educated 475-plus students who I have had over those years. I have advocated for a number of my students who have required different services that fall under the Committee of Special Education and this year I have an ENL cluster class. My belief is in a student-centered approach and that what is best for students is best for the community.

Cheryl Brown

Qualifications: As an educator I have served as the chairperson for my site based Standards of Excellence committee. Under my leadership we created a science room in our building and initiated a Wellness Week. Also I served on my district technology committee for 10 years and many building committees including being the teacher liaison to the PTA. Finally, I served on my legislative committee for three years where I have been going to Albany to meet with legislators to fight for receiving our fair share of taxes, requesting that all mandates be fully funded as well as requesting that North Shore receive additional money this coming year due to the closing of the LIPA plant. Serving on these committees with other teachers, administrators, parents and students has helped me become a better communicator and problem solver. Over the years I also piloted a number of different educational programs in every academic area making me familiar with curriculum. I am the NYSUT delegate for my union which makes me familiar with contracts.

Personal: I have lived in Glen Head for eight years with my husband Rob. We have three children: a daughter in 10th grade at the high school, a son in eighth grade at the middle school and a son in kindergarten at Glenwood Landing. Each one of them has received the highest quality education. They have also been and are currently involved in a number of the amazing opportunities that North Shore has to offer from sports to after the bell clubs, Viking Explorers to mock trial. I graduated in 1994 from York College in PA, receiving a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and in 2000, I graduated with my master’s in reading from Dowling College.

Statement: I am running for the board because I believe that we are in a critical time in public education and a time of transition in leadership in North Shore. I would like to be a part of maintaining all that we have, as well as continuing to move the district forward. I have a lot to offer the board and the community by being a mom with children in all three levels, an educator and an involved community member. I am also a homeowner and taxpayer. With a daughter about to go to college in three years I understand how costly it is to live on Long Island and in Glen Head. It is important to support our school district, however we cannot over-burden our community with higher taxes. We need to stay at or under the tax cap. I look forward to working together with the community, schools and partnering with school leaders to continue to ensure a quality education for our children.

Joanna Commander

Occupation: Retired educator. Teacher and coach at Elmont High School; district director of health, physical education and athletics for the Lynbrook and Harborfields school districts; adjunct professor of health education at Adelphi University; adjunct professor of physical education at Hofstra University, coordinator of physical education student teaching at Hofstra University.

Joanna Commander

Qualifications: I am a current member of the North Shore Board of Education and have served on many district wide committees including the Construction Committee, Health and Safety Committee, Wellness Committee, Athletic Policy Committee, Athletic Advisory Committee, District Policy Committee and the IEP Review Committee. I am providing leadership for the creation of the North Shore Coalition Against Substance Abuse, an organization of parents, school personnel, students and community members to develop evidence based strategies for the prevention of substance abuse in our community. During my time as an administrator, I implemented a myriad of programs directed at the health and wellness of the children in my charge. I was the first in the county to integrate the Life Skills Training program into health education curricula addressing the development of decision-making, coping, communication and personal responsibility skills. I was one of the founding members of a committee of the New York State Public High School Association addressing the Female Athlete Triad, a syndrome which negatively affects many young female athletes. I served in the State Athletic Association Handbook committee which develops regulations and rules for all interscholastic athletes in the state. I have been honored by both Stonybrook and Hofstra Universities for my contributions to girls and women in sport. In my role as athletics director I was responsible for the fiscal management of a large detailed budget.

Personal: I have been a resident in the community for 11 years. I hold a bachelor of science degree from Southern Connecticut State University, a master of arts from Adelphi University and my administrative certification from St. John’s University.

Statement: I am a strong advocate for public school education and as a member of the Board of Education I have worked tirelessly to advocate for both our children and the taxpayers of our community. The strength and success of my professional career reflects my deep commitment to the health, safety and well-being of our children.

Richard Galati
Occupation: Prior to my retirement in 2016, I was a high school science teacher for 33 years, the last 31 of which were at North Shore High School. During my 31 years as a member of the North Shore High School faculty, I taught chemistry and physics to all levels of students and continued to work with and advise students who took chemistry and physics in college. I also taught and advised students in North Shore’s science research program, in which a number of my students earned honors in prestigious competitions such as the Intel Science Talent Search and the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. During graduate school, I worked as a synthetic organic chemist at the University of Miami’s department of medicine.

Richard Galati

Qualifications: I graduated from Colgate University in 1978 with an A.B. in biochemistry and I received my M.S. in science education from the University of Miami in 1984. I have been certified and trained as a physics teacher by both the College Board for Advanced Placement Physics and by the International Baccalaureate (IB). I developed the curriculum for North Shore’s AP and IB Physics courses. I also served as the interim chairman for the North Shore Schools’ Science Department.

In addition to my work as a high school science teacher, I served as the coordinator of student extracurricular activities for the entire North Shore Central School District for 27 years. I also served as chief negotiator for the North Shore Schools Federated Employees from 2008-2012.

My career as an educator also afforded me the opportunity to serve as the faculty advisor for a number of North Shore High School’s student organizations, including the Student Government Organization, Science Honor Society, Science Bowl Team and American Field Service (AFS). Through AFS, an international youth exchange organization; I initiated and led the exchange program between North Shore Schools and Uckfield Community College in West Sussex, UK.

Personal: My wife and I have lived in Glen Head for 28 years. We chose to live and raise our four children here because of the excellent educational advantages in the North Shore School District. My children are individually very different but each of them found a nurturing and encouraging environment in the North Shore Schools not only academically but also through their involvement in athletics, the arts program (fine and performing arts), student government, community service organizations and other extracurricular clubs and programs. My children embraced the opportunities offered to them at North Shore and were able to truly benefit from them; all four attended Cornell University for their undergraduate education and went on to pursue graduate and professional degrees because of the solid educational foundation they obtained by attending school in our district. They also were encouraged to give back to the community and each volunteered over 1,000 hours of community service while in high school. I am a member of Loggia Glen Cove Order Sons of Italy in America and the North Shore Kiwanis Club. During my teaching career, I was an active member of a number of science education organizations such as the Science Teachers Association of New York State, the National Science Teachers Association and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Statement: For more than half of my life, I have served this community as a dedicated, responsible, tireless educator and advocate for the children in our district. The North Shore Schools have been an integral part of my life, and I want to continue to serve the families of the district at this time in the best way I am capable of, as a Trustee on the Board of Education. As our new superintendent begins his term, along with the hiring of a new middle school principal and a new director of guidance for the district, I would bring a unique perspective to the board based upon my three decades of work within the schools. My background and experience within the system would serve to help smooth this major transition. I am committed to expand opportunities in and out of the classroom and to provide excellence in the educational experience for all of our students while maintaining fiscal responsibility. My own children benefited from all that North Shore had to offer, and it is my sincere desire to build upon our already strong foundation so that each and every one of our students can “discover his or her dreams.”

Voter registration will take place in the Central Office, 112 Franklin Avenue, Sea Cliff on Saturday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For the latest budget news, visit www.northshoreschools.org.

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