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Nyack School Board Closing Argument: Leeann Irvin

The School Board Trustee election is being held by mail. You can drop off your ballot at the district office by June 9 (13A Dickinson Ave, Nyack, NY) or mail them in (ballots must be received June 16). Anyone who has lost or not received a ballot can reach out to Linda DeCicco (ldecicco@nyackschools.org) to arrange to receive a ballot.

Who are you and why are you interested in being on the School Board? Weren’t you on the board before?

Leeann Irvin, Nyack Schools, Board of EducationI am a long time resident of Nyack (40+ years), a wife, mother of two kids in Nyack schools (HS and MS), lawyer, volunteer, and community leader. I had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Education from 2011 to 2017, and was subsequently offered the position of Executive Director of the Rockland County School Board Association (“RCSBA”) where I have served for the last 3 years. Honestly, there has not been a month since I left Nyack’s Board that someone has not come up to me and asked if I would run again so in January, I made the decision not to renew my contract with RCSBA to focus my attention where I am the most invested–my Nyack/Valley Cottage community.

My experience at RCSBA was very valuable. I was able to get the annual dinner with Rockland’s legislators back up and running after a three year hiatus and organized three very successful lobbying days in Albany.  I also represented Rockland in our regional advocacy group, highlighting issues particular to the districts in our County and partnered with the Rockland County Human Rights Commission to promote their anti-bulling campaign and Women’s Forum. This experience provided me a tremendous opportunity to advocate for the concerns of both Nyack and Rockland throughout our region and state and enabled me to develop many contacts with legislators, lobbyists, superintendents, Board Trustees, and New York State School Board Association staff. I look forward bringing this unique experience to my role as a Nyack Board Trustee.

What is your platform?

When I advised RCSBA that I would not be renewing my contract and gathered the necessary signatures to be on Nyack’s ballot, I could not have imagined the circumstances we find ourselves in because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The repercussions from this will continue well into the next few years as we try to make up for what our children lost this year academically and socially. And more changes may be coming, possibly forcing us to respond to needs for new spacing and remote learning. My statewide contacts will enable me to discover new and successful ideas being tried elsewhere and my contacts in the other districts in Rockland and Westchester, with legislators, educators and superintendents all across the state may pave the way for Nyack to tap into additional support and aid for our students. I look forward to supplementing the great leadership we have in Nyack with my new experience.

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Nyack must find a new superintendent to replace Dr. Montesano who will soon retire. Again, my experience with RCSBA has allowed me to witness other districts’ search processes firsthand and has shown me many examples of both successful and unsuccessful superintendents. I will help Nyack find a strong candidate who will continue the great work being done to ensure equity in our students’ learning, who will ensure our district employs smart financial planning especially in the face of the challenges caused by the pandemic and who will engage with our community to make sure we all have a voice in issues concerning our children.

I also believe communication needs to be improved.  When I was on the board before, I remember being frustrated when people would complain about being uninformed while never coming to a board meetings or reaching out to me about their concerns. Since that time, I have seen how other districts in the county have more user-friendly websites, how they highlight activities of their students in social media, and even have superintendent blogs, and am convinced that Nyack can do better if we want to. I have even seen Boards of Education enhance access to meetings using virtual board meetings or video recordings to enable more people to attend. I know this can work in Nyack too as evidenced by the number of attendees signing into the pandemic ZOOM calls we’ve had with the administration.

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Any last thoughts?

During my prior service on the Board of Education, I was instrumental in the successful passage of 6 tax cap compliant budgets, approved curriculum enhancements including the fantastic Project Lead the Way programs, hired 3 of our great administrators, and approved the SOAR and Waldron Terrace mentoring programs. This, together with my new experience, makes me uniquely qualified to be an even more successful Board of Education Trustee going forward. I promise to be a representative for everyone in our district, to do my best to understand all sides of an issue and to be your voice in our district. I am proud to be a part of the Nyack School District and look forward to serving you again as a Board of Education Trustee. Thank you for your support.   

I would love to hear your feedback and comments throughout this voting process.  Please like my Facebook Page, Leeann Irvin for Nyack School Board, and contact me with any questions or concerns.

See also:

 

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