Board Of Ed Incumbents Run For Reelection

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Board of Education president Christine Napolitano and trustee Brian Widman are running uncontested for reelection on Tuesday, May 15. The Mineola American asked the candidates to fill out a questionnaire describing their accomplishments and their vision for the district’s future.

Christine Napolitano

Christine Napolitano

I have lived in Williston Park for the past 26 years and raised three daughters who all went through the Mineola School District (I hope to have my new grandson graduate from it!). I was an involved parent but realized that although things were good, they could be so much better. When I first got on the board nearly 10 years ago, things started to change. It was messy and it was hard, but the reconfiguration of schools was probably the best thing this district went through. It saved us millions of dollars for taxpayers and provided better curriculum alignment for students. We’ve strengthened the educational system, upgraded our infrastructure and enhanced our technology to award winning levels. Long-range planning has served us well so we save for projects instead of bonding and we have been able to bring incredible programs to children while staying under the tax cap. Our music and arts programs continue to bring joy not only to the students and parents, but to the community as well.

Why did you decide to run again for Board of Education trustee?

I am enjoying my time on the board as we are seeing the fruition of all of the hard work and planning. Walking into classrooms and seeing happy students who are challenged in unique and fun ways fills me with pride and hope. Our dual language program is a great example of that.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and what would you do to solve it?

I think the biggest challenge of any school district besides making sure that tax dollars are responsibly spent and well spent, is making sure that we are getting our students ready for their future. We must be able to meet the needs of all students while making sure that we are getting them ready for a world where technology is fast defining the jobs of the future. All the while we want students to have fun while learning, support them in our wonderful music, art and theatre programs and continue to provide strong curriculum that will have them ready for their life after high school. The level of professional collaboration between teachers and administration have elevated this district where visitors from around the country—and even overseas—have come to learn about the innovative ways we educate children. This is not the same district that my children entered years ago and I’m confident it will be even more extraordinary going forward.

Brian Widman

Brian Widman

I’m a 46-year resident of Roslyn Heights and a 1986 Mineola High School graduate. I have a computer science degree from Queens College and am currently a business data analyst for US Family Health Plan. I and my wife, Stefanie, have two boys in the district. One is 13 years old and is currently in eighth grade and the second is 10 years old and in fifth grade. I’ve served on the board as a trustee for three years after attending many years of meetings. I am also a vice-president of my neighborhood’s civic association.

Why did you decide to run again for Board of Education trustee?

These past three years have been very rewarding. I see and talk to students who are having fun learning and looking forward to going to school each day. Also there have been many exciting things that have occurred in the district over the past eight to nine years with many more to come. I’m honored to have been a small part of the recent accomplishments and want to see current projects through to their finish. I want to maintain the direction of the district and be a part of new projects. I’m very proud of this board and past boards for keeping our tax levy—at or in this year’s case—below the state mandated tax levy cap while not only not maintaining programs and projects, but increasing opportunities for our students, improving the infrastructure of our district and adding new programs, classes and learning areas. And this has all been done with a watchful eye on the budget. This is due to the hard work of the superintendent, administration, the teachers, all of the other employees of the district and the board. I truly enjoy working with all of these groups for the betterment of our school district.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and what would you do to solve it?

As in any district or household, creating and sticking to a budget is always going to be a challenge. Thankfully this and past Mineola Boards of Education along with the superintendent and district administrators have done a very good job of maintaining and adding programs while keeping any budget increase to a minimum while offering allowable exemptions like those afforded to veterans. The district has maintained their facilities on a rolling year by year basis, so we can keep any unforeseen problems that would cause a financial liability to a minimum.

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Anthony Murray is the editor of the Mineola American, New Hyde Park Illustrated News and is a contributing writer for Long Island Weekly

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