As the June 9 mail-in ballot deadline comes closer, the Newburgh Enlarged City School District [NECSD] is preparing to fill four spots on the district’s board of education [BOE].
There are seven candidates in the running: Shoy Colbourne, Zachary Costa, Dawn Fucheck, Mark Levinstein, Carole Mineo, Darren Stridiron, and William Walker. Mineo, Stridiron, and Walker are the current incumbents.
Colbourne has been in the district for eight years now, and is working on getting his doctorate of education from Saint Peter’s University. He is an employee in the New York City Department of Education’s Central Office.
Colbourne aims to collaborate with key stakeholders to reduce chronic absenteeism rates in the district.
“I believe the Board of Education’s top priority should be remote instruction and all of the complexities that are associated with remote instruction,” said Colbourne. He believes the district should plan what the reopening of schools will look like.
“We need to continue to order electronic devices for all students in the district, ensuring our students have access to instruction at a basic level. In that same vein, I think we need to further develop relationships with companies that can offer greater broadband and connectivity for multiple devices in a household, again, so students have access to grade appropriate instructional material,” said Colbourne.
He also hopes to develop functional summer programs taught by licensed professionals that blend enrichment and instruction. He believes the summer should be used strategically as a preview to what September can look like.
Zachary Costa has been in the school district for 31 years now. He currently works as the manager of a North Plank Road Tavern. He hopes that his experience in managing one organization can translate well to the BOE. In order to maintain a long term sustainable budget, he believes in greater collaboration with the community.
Costa hopes to increase student access to cutting edge technology inside of schools.
“The implications of growing online learning are potentially a historic event. Some traditional aspects such as annual mile long runs, or earth science labs, just cannot be replicated remotely. Everyone will have to be brave and find innovative ways during this crisis to make sure the students receive the education they deserve. Technology, at least for the short term, will have to be approached as a solution rather than a hindrance.”
Dawn Fucheck has been in the district for 30 years now. She is a former member of the BOE. She served for nine years previously. She believes her past experience benefits her when it comes to dealing with the budget and any potential shortfalls.
She works as an adjunct facilitator for the New York State School Board Association. She wants “to work collaboratively towards the common goal of achieving student achievement and ensuring equity for all.”
“They [teachers and leaders] have done an amazing job adapting to distance learning and delivering instruction during this unprecedented time. They have developed extremely innovative ways to teach our scholars,” said Fucheck.
“That being said, we do know that some of our scholars are struggling with this new way of learning. The District will need to first assess the learning deficit and then provide what is necessary to address that deficit.”
“I will look to rely upon what has been learned by the teachers, students, parents and administrators, as they reflect on the previous 3 months of education. I will be open minded to the fact that education as it once was will not be the education of the future.”
Mark Levinstein has been in the district for 27 years. He is a former member of the board of education. He works for North Point Carpet Supplies. He has an associate’s degree from Orange County Community College.
He has served on the capital bond project advisory group, Newburgh Teacher Center Policy Board, finance committee, personnel committee, curriculum committee, building & grounds committee, exceptional learners and compact committees.
He hopes “to partner with parents and educators to create better outcomes and opportunities for the children of the Newburgh School District.” He wants to ensure a safe environment for students. He also strives to make sure students graduate, and are prepared to enter higher graduation while being civic-minded young adults.
“The district will need to identify the portion of students that might have developed a learning gap [with the recent move to online learning],” said Levinstein. “My belief is that having discussions with our teachers, parents, and students could help create a better way to educate our students going forward. We all need to plan and work together to overcome obstacles in these unusual times.”
Carole Mineo has been in the district for 47 years and has been president of BOE since 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, and spanish. She has a master’s degree in elementary education, a CAS in School District Administration, an ABD in School District Administration.
“As the President of the Board of Education since 2015, I sit on (and attend) every Board Committee and have been a member of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee,” said Mineo. “For the last two years, I have been the Chairperson of the Curriculum Committee. I have been a member of the Newburgh Teachers’ Center Policy Board since July 2019.”
“I would like to see a unified Reading Program for the Primary Grades that would help all students to read and enjoy reading by the end of second grade,” said Mineo. Her current top priorities for the district are safety, fiscal responsibility, and the unification of the language arts and math programs in the primary grades.
Darren Stridiron currently works for Heritage Land Surveying PC & CV Associates NY. He is also a current member of the board. He has an AAS in Forest Technology from SUNY Environmental Science & Technology.
His priorities include fiscal stability, safety and security, and support for programs that provide a full education experience and promote learning over just passing.
William Walker has been in the school district for 33 years. He is a retired teacher of English Language Arts and active member of the school board. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin-Wallace College, and a Master of Science from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
He has worked with the textbook selection committee, numerous reading and writing committees, the NAACP, Racial Unity Council, and the Nehemiah Project.
He believes the district’s top priorities are curriculum and teacher development, budget alignment, diversity recruitment, and collaboration between the district, union, schools, and community.