This is a statement from South Nyacker Dan Kaplan, who is running for Nyack School Board. Three hopefuls—first-timer Kaplan, sitting member Claudette Clarke and newcomer Karen Hughes—are vying for two seats.
The vote will be held May 15.
Read about this year's school budget , and last year's school board elections .
To the editor:
I am running for the school board because I passionately believe in public education and feel that I have the skills and experience to make a positive contribution.
I have been an educator since 1991. I am currently the Director of the Early College Program at International High School at LaGuardia Community College in Queens - a public high school that serves 500 English Language Learners. I have been at International High School for 18 years and previously served there as a social studies teacher, counselor, and Assistant Principal. Prior to becoming a teacher, I was Assistant Budget Director in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President for four years.
I believe that my skills, insights and experience as an educator are strong qualifications for the Nyack School Board. As a parent, I am knowledgeable about the district and have been actively engaged in educational discussions in the community. My many years of classroom teaching, counseling of students and serving as an administrator, in addition to being an active parent to my school-age children, have influenced my conviction that a quality education must focus on depth of knowledge, critical thinking and creative and rigorous learning.
I am now running as I want to take my involvement to the next level. I believe I can be a positive voice in the district and in the community. I will work to improve our schools through open and candid discussions with parents, teachers, administrators, students and all community members.
The district faces many challenges in the future. Certainly the budget and future financing of our schools are a major challenge. We all want to support and keep the outstanding programs that we have - but that will become more difficult as resources become more limited, so we will need to prioritize and be creative. And for many of us, our current property taxes are already stretching us to the limit.
We need to support strong and creative administrators who can develop and support strong teachers as we address the needs of all our students. Communication and trust are huge issues. The Nyack School District is a very diverse community and thus has many different perspectives and priorities. As a Board member I will need to listen, work to bring these constituencies together, and ensure that discussions and debates are transparent and inclusive.
The Nyack School District offers a diverse and rich academic program to our students. Our greatest strength is our diversity and the wide array of academic, artistic, social, community service and athletic opportunities we provide. However, we still have more work to do to close the achievement gap and improve academic outcomes for all our students. We need to focus on innovative ways to engage and develop the skills of all our students. Our highest priority needs to be investing in and supporting strong instruction that focuses on developing critical thinking skills that prepare students for college and beyond.
I have been active in the Nyack community for many years. My wife and I moved to South Nyack in 1992. I was a board member of the Friends of the Nyacks in the early 1990s and a board member of the Nyack Center from the mid to late 1990s. In addition, I have attended and spoken at numerous school board meetings over the years and participated in focus groups, as part of the process of selecting Nyack's two most recent superintendents.
I am married to Amy Barnett, who is a non-profit management consultant. We have 2 children: a daughter who is a junior at Nyack High School, and a son who is in 7th grade at Nyack Middle School. We have a 5 year old labrador retriever.
I went to public school in Teaneck, New Jersey. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Grinnell College and a Master's Degree in Anthropology from Hunter College. I have a School Administrator's Certification from the College of Saint Rose.
If community members want more information about my campaign or have questions or concerns, they are encouraged to join my facebook group: Dan Kaplan for Nyack School Board.
Please vote and support the school budget on May 15.