Four seek four Wallkill School Board seats

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 5/15/24

Four candidates vie for four seats in Wallkill’s Board of Education elections slated for May 21. Incumbents Thomas Nafey, Donna Crowley, and Thomas Frisbie seek re-election, while candidate …

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Four seek four Wallkill School Board seats


Four candidates vie for four seats in Wallkill’s Board of Education elections slated for May 21. Incumbents Thomas Nafey, Donna Crowley, and Thomas Frisbie seek re-election, while candidate William Hecht aims to fill a vacancy and complete a term.

Three board terms are expiring, with incumbents pursuing another three-year tenure beginning July 1, 2024, and concluding on June 30, 2027. The fourth seat will fill a vacancy resulting from Vincent Petroccelli’s resignation, commencing upon the declaration of election results and expiring on June 30, 2026.

Voting will occur from noon to 9 p.m. at Wallkill Senior High School, Plattekill Elementary School, and Leptondale Elementary School.

Thomas Nafey, an incumbent since 2021, seeks re-election, highlighting his commitment to Wallkill’s educational community. Nafey, who hails from Long Island, has resided in Wallkill since 2002, actively engaging in youth coaching and community service. His focus as a board member includes student safety and supporting innovative teaching approaches.

As a board member, one of Nafey’s objectives has been to ensure the safety of our students and faculty. Outside of his board duties, Nafey retired from the City of Newburgh Police Department in 2021, completing his career as a Patrol Sergeant. He is currently working part-time for a local police department as a detective.

Nafey is also a supporter of the district teacher’s innovative approach to the curriculum and how it is dedicated to Wallkill student’s success. “We want to make sure that the teachers have the tools that they need,” said Nafey. “They’ve come out with a great reading program that is becoming a model that we’ve been doing for years. I like being a part of that.”

Donna Crowley, incumbent since 2009, emphasizes the district’s progress during her tenure, particularly in facilities upgrades and mental well-being initiatives. As a certified public accountant and board member, Crowley advocates for student needs and community interests, ensuring decisions prioritize student success.

As a member of the current board, Crowley said she feels that the district is in the right place as it is in the midst of budget discussions.

“I think that the upgrades that we have done to the facility, the technology enhancements that we’ve done, bringing new people on board for the mental well being of the children, those are just a couple of the things that I think that we have accomplished,” said Crowley.

With another term on the horizon, Crowley looks to continue addressing the needs of the students of the district whether that be class and program offerings, addressing the mental well-being of the students and upholding district safety. Other considerations brought to the board’s attention include the school building parking and maintaining the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program.

Thomas Frisbie, serving on the board since 2005, seeks re-election to continue contributing to Wallkill’s educational excellence. A local resident since 1997 and an engineering graduate, Frisbie’s board tenure includes overseeing significant capital improvement projects and advocating for student-centric policies.

During his time as chairman of the building and grounds committee, the district has completed two large capital improvement projects, one energy performance project, and is currently completing a third capital improvement project. Each of these projects helped make improvements to district facilities.

“The Wallkill Board of Education has always been, in my opinion, a great team. I want to continue to be a part of this fantastic team that the Board of Ed and the administrators make up,” said Frisbie. “We’ve done a number of great things. We all as a team, we row in the right direction. We all have the children and the students of our district’s best interests in mind on every decision we make.”

William Hecht, a newcomer to the board since last fall, brings extensive educational experience, having retired as Chief Operating Officer for Orange-Ulster BOCES after a 40-year career. A Wallkill native and former high school principal, Hecht prioritizes student well-being and educational advancements, emphasizing community engagement and student-centered decision-making.

Looking ahead, Hecht is excited for the completion of the district’s capital projects and for the growth of the district’s reading program at the primary level.

Heading to May 21, Hecht hopes for continued support for him and for his work on the board if re-elected. “I think I bring a history to the position. I’m a known entity, which I hope people trust. I’ve been doing this for a long time. Even though I worked at BOCES, I was still ingrained in the Wallkill community,” said Hecht. “My focus has always been doing what’s best for kids, doing what’s best for the students.”