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Nyack School Board Closing Argument: Steven Francisco

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 ( to arrange to receive a ballot.

by Steven Francisco

In any given year, running for School Board Trustee is downright illogical: a volunteer position of little prestige that comes with a money back guarantee of angering your neighbors. Throw in some coronavirus, school budget challenges, economic insecurity, and a nation reckoning with 400 years of structural racism and you may be wondering why anyone would run in 2020? Yet, here I am asking for the privilege to serve as your Nyack School Board Trustee. Why? If I didn’t step up to lead at a time when my skill set is so needed, could I look my kids in the eye and know I’ve done what’s best for them?

At a time when the classroom has been turned upside down, I’m an educator. I understand the passion and commitment of our teachers, and what a difference prepping and equipping them can have.

When educators are challenged to create engaging digital experiences, I’m a seasoned education technology innovator, who turned a classroom invention and progressive teaching methods into a global company, and has since gone on to help a national non-profit transform to distance learning.

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At a time where state aid has been cut and CDC guidelines are fluid, I have the experience to judge what’s practical, what matters, and have an evidence based approach to impact and educating the whole child.  For 3.5 years, I served on an education council, overseeing 54 elementary and middle schools. Our responsibilities included approving budgets, redistricting schools, selecting and evaluating a superintendent.

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My graduate degree in local government and non-profit management prepared me to manage annual and capital budgets, navigate bonds, local laws, and connect them to what advocacy is needed at the federal, state, and local levels.

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At a time when across the US we are grappling with racial injustice, I offer a demonstrated commitment to justice and equity–deepened right in Upper Nyack, where as a teenager I trained in nonviolent community organizing. As a Black Latino, I bring to the board the lived experience to lead in this moment. I know the challenges of an inequitable education, and the life altering power of great public schools.

As a leader at a national non-profit, I work daily to change the face of civic leadership in America, helping hundreds of people with direct lived experiences in educational inequity form organizing coalitions, develop careers in education policy, and get elected to public office every year.

What comes next for our community is unprecedented, but it is not unimaginable. Schools will never be the same. If we’re reckoning with inequitable results, we can see the opportunity here. We have a rare chance to revisit our school programs with an ear towards what research says is effective, with an eye towards our vision of educational equity, and with the heart towards the whole child.

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If you value fiscal stewardship, innovation, equity, and excellence, and want those values to shape the future of our schools, I’d be honored to receive your vote.

See also:

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