The Mineola School Board chose resident Nicole Matzer to succeed Terence Hale after he resigns on July 2. The board interviewed Matzer along with Bryan Bradley at a special meeting on Thursday, June 27. It is unknown who will serve as board vice president.
Matzer just finished her second year as District Council co-president. She previously served as Willis Avenue PTO president for two years.
Matzer moved from Queens to Mineola in 1999. She has a son and a daughter, going into seventh grade and fourth grade, respectively, in September.
The Mineola mom comes on the board at a tense time, with backlash over intra-board emails before Election Day. She said Hale is a “wonderful individual who has given up his time to the school district and should absolutely be proud of his accomplishments and his volunteerism.”
Matzer indicated that she thought about running for school board previously, but the timing was never right. When she heard a spot opened up, she felt she should at least try.
“I’m excited for the opportunity, a little nervous,” she said. “It’s a different outlook but I’m excited to learn this side of the district versus the parent side and the PTA side. This is going to be different. This is the business side and the academic side.”
The board went into executive session to interview Matzer and Bradley. Matzer went first.
“We would like to thank Mr. Bradley for his interest and his time and passion for the district,” Board President William Hornberger said after the vetting. “Nicole will be officially appointed on July 2 at our reorganization meeting. Thank you Mrs. Matzer for your interest and good luck.”
Bradley, 64, has one son in Mineola High School and a daughter in Mineola Middle School. He has been heavily involved with the district finance committee and ran for school board in 2005 and 2006. Bradley works as a computer programmer and as an adjunct professor at the Katharine Gibbs School in Melville.
“I’m interested in school district happenings,” Bradley said before being interviewed. “I have been interested in board affairs [for a long time]…I think continuing with the path I’ve been on recently; trying to improve the curriculum, try to make sure that fiscally the school district is sound.”
Bradley’s interest in the district sparked from Mineola’s financials.
“When I first started going to board meetings [years ago], when they talked about the budget, you couldn’t make sense of it,” he said. “There was no transparency.”
Before the interviews, Hornberger said that he was hoping for a “free-flowing process.” When he interviewed with the board in 2007, he stated he answered two questions from each board member.
“It was a back-and-forth, not just the board speaking to the candidate,” he said of his experience six years ago. The protocol limiting each trustee to two questions hasn’t changed.
Trustee Irene Parrino objected to the two-question limit. It was Parrino’s petition to the state education commissioner’s office to have Hale removed that led to this special board appointment.
“Obviously, we’re not going to ask a lot of questions,” she said. “But if you asked a questions and someone has a follow-up, I don’t see why you can’t continue on with the questioning.”
“I agree,” Hornberger interjected.
“It doesn’t seem like it,” Parrino replied.
“I think it’s a matter of common sense,” trustee Christine Napolitano said. “I’m sure if there’s a follow-up, no one is going to stop them. I’m sure there is no rush, but I think we’ll find the appropriate tempo.”
After the interviews, Matzer said the questioning was fair.
“[They asked] my thoughts on the district and where I see district going,” she said. “I see the district, in five years, their scores getting progressively higher.”