Q. How long have you been a resident of the Commack area?
A. I have been a proud resident of Commack for over 40 years. As I like to say, “I was born and raised in Commack for Commack”. My wife Kristi and I were able to purchase the house next door to the house I grew up in, so that my children could enjoy the same education that I was privileged to have experienced.
Q. Do you have now, or have you ever had, any children attend the District public schools?
A. I have 3 children Liam, Landon, and Madison. Liam will be a Sixth Grader in the fall at CMS, Landon will be a Fourth Grader this fall at Sawmill, and Madison will be a Kindergartner at Wood Park.
Q. What is your educational background and current occupation?
A. I graduated from Commack in 1997 and then earned my BA in Child Study from St. Joseph’s College in 2001. I began my teaching career in the Kings Park Central School District where I taught and coached within the district for 18 years. I was then named Principal of Eastport Elementary School in the Eastport-South Manor School District. After spending two years out East, I was named to my current position, as Principal of Maplewood Intermediate School in the South Huntington School District. I have earned a Master’s degree in Literacy from Long Island University CW Post, and an Advanced Certificate in Educational Leadership from Stony Brook University. Lastly, I earned my Ed.D in Educational Administration from St. John’s University in March of 2022.
Q. Of what school-related and/or community organizations are you, or have you been, a member?
A. Throughout my years in Commack, I have had opportunity to be involved in many organizations, I have been a coach and manager for Commack South Little League as well as a coach for the Commack Soccer Club. I have also been an active participant in many committees and activities associated with the Commack School District.
Q. Why do you want to be a member of the Board of Education and what talents (strengths) do you have that would contribute to the Board?
A. I believe that I have brought a very important and valuable set of skills to the board. As a teacher and administrator, I am in the “trenches of education” on a daily basis and I am well versed in the current trends and issues in the world of education as well as the inter-workings of a school district. Being on the Board of Education has taught me how important skills such as, organization, time management, and the value of working as team are to a successful board. I am someone who will continue to bring honesty and integrity to the position of Trustee.
Q. How many Board of Education meetings have you attended during the last three years?
A. As a Board of Education Trustee, I have attended every meeting within the past 3 years.
Q. What do you see as the role of a Board of Education member as part of our district governance team?
A. As a member of the Board of Education I see my role as someone who represents the community and is part of a team that should look to provide the best education possible for all children. I think an important role is to listen and gather information from all people and stakeholders within the community. I also believe that as a member, it is my job to advocate for public education and ensure that this community receives proper funding from the state and federal government. I feel it is important for a board member to be well educated and current on all issues affecting the district. A board member should be visible and active within the community supporting our students and teachers at all levels.
Q. If you are reelected or elected to serve on the Commack Board of Education, what would be your three priority areas for board/administration study and potential improvement for the district?
A. My first priority is to continue the work that has been done to ensure success for all students. Research has shown that over 60% of the jobs that our students will be employed in within the next ten years have not yet been created. Therefore, I will make it a priority to ensure that our district continues to provide access and opportunity for all in a quickly changing world. Over the past few years, we have continued to place an emphasis on this idea and as a result have created new classes in areas such as Cisco computer repair and supporting our BOCES Occupational programs. The future will require more opportunity for individualized instruction and a focus on fostering a love for learning for each child while balancing a budget in these uncertain times.
My second priority is to continue to support the work of the Legislative Advocacy Committee. This committee has really grown over the past few years and consists of parents, students, teachers, community members, board members and administrators that work together to develop common goals that can be addressed to our local political representatives. Over the past six years, I have witnessed the progress we have made in advocating for issues such as the restoration of funding, special education mandates, the securing of grants, and many other issues. There are many more issues coming down the line that will look to dismantle both public education and provide less support for our all our students. I feel we must work together to ensure that the excellent education provided in Commack continues to exist.
My third priority will be to further create an environment of collaboration. It has often been said that “it takes a village to raise a child” and I agree with this statement. As a successful coach and former athlete I have been involved in many teams and I understand the importance of teamwork. I believe we must continue to all work together as both a Board of Education and community.
Q. What is your definition of a “Comprehensive Commack Education?” Does Commack currently offer this kind of an education, K-12?
A. I take great pride in the education I received over 25 years ago from Commack. In fact, I can often be heard saying that I attribute a great deal of my success as a teacher, coach, and entrepreneur to the town of Commack and the education I received. I believe a “Comprehensive Commack Education” is one which allows and prepares students to succeed throughout life. I believe it involves educating the whole child in all aspects of social, emotional, and academic development. I do not believe there is a “cookie-cutter” method to education. Each child should be educated utilizing their strengths and interests with less focus on weakness. I also believe that a comprehensive education provides a variety of choices academically as well as through sports, clubs and activities. I feel that Commack currently provides an outstanding balanced and comprehensive education for all, and I will continue to look to provide creative solutions to ensure future generations receive the type of education we have come to expect in the Commack Community.