Fifteen-year Williston Park resident Patricia Navarra is the first out of the gate to challenge incumbent Mineola School Board Trustee Irene Parrino on Election Day in May. District residents have until April 22 to submit petitions to run.
Parrino confirmed to the Mineola American that she would seek re-election next month.
Navarra, a professor at Hofstra University since 2000, said it was the right time to run, and said she had received some prodding from Jackson Avenue School parents.
She co-founded P.E.A.C.E.-People for Excellence, Affordability and Commitment to Education with Mineola School Board Trustee Artie Barnett. Navarra touted her 75 hours of work with the Community Committee on Consolidation, which aided district administrators in reconfiguring the school district.
Navarra served as president of the District Council PTA from 2008-2010. She worked with administrators and district residents to form the CCC and come up with a plan, which saw the fifth-grade move to Mineola Middle School, eighth-grade move to Mineola High School and the closing of Willis Avenue School and Cross Street School. Both closed schools have been leased to outside entities. She said students deserve careful planning and can’t afford to go backwards.
“I have tremendous affection for this community and for our schools,” Navarra stated. “I look forward to making positive contributions.”
A mother of two, Navarra said that fiscal responsibility in the district is key, noting that according to her sources, 80 percent of voters in last years budget vote were residents without children in the schools.
“Why are they showing up to vote? Because they’re watching their tax dollars,” she said. They want to see that we’re working efficiently. Albany is giving us state mandates all the time. Because of our careful planning, we’re in good financial standing.”
As far as advising parents and residents on what to look for in an election candidate, Navarra said people should “take the time to research candidates with the big-picture outlook.”
“In the course of one or two elections, you could lose proactive board members or heaven forbid, gain members who do not look down the road five or ten years to see what we can sustain,” she stated. “It’s about creating good programs. Your work today is only good as how we can sustain it over time.”
Navarra grew up in Albertson and is graduate of St. Aidan’s School and Herricks High School. She obtained her undergraduate degree at SUNY Buffalo and a masters in English literature and creative writing at Queens College.
“I picked up a petition first irrespective of anyone else’s intention to run,” she said. “It’s a very good time to be in Mineola and I want to be part of it.”