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Meet the Candidates Night & Public Budget Hearing May 2
(April 19, 2017) Six candidates are seeking four (4) seats on the Board of Education. Running, in the order they will appear on the May 16 ballot, are Susan Ramos, Tammy Crawford, Craig Luckfield, Daniel Cohn, Brendan Caluneo and Francis McKearin.
To provide voters with more information, each candidate prepared a biography or statement which are posted below. Additionally, Board member candidates have been invited to participate in a “Meet the Candidates Night” hosted by the Ichabod Crane Participatory Government Class on May 2, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. Following this event, the Board will convene its Regular Board meeting with the first agenda item as the 2017-2018 Budget Hearing.
Four (4) vacancies are to be filled on the Board of Education. Two (2) vacancies are for three-year (3) terms as the terms of Cheryl Trefzger and Susan Ramos will expire June 30, 2017. One vacancy is for a three-year (3) term and one vacancy is for a one-year (1) term as two Board members resigned during their tenures and the interim appointments of Daniel Cohn and Michael Stead will expire on May 16, 2017. The annual school budget vote and Board member election will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. in the High School Gymnasium.
Questions about voting can be directed to the Ichabod Crane District Clerk, Mindy Potts at 758-7575 ext. 3001 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following biographies are written by the candidates:
Susan A. Ramos
I have a long career working and caring for children which demonstrates my abilities and passion required for the duties as a Board Member for the District.
I have participated with the Ichabod Crane School Board for the last seven years; first on the Audit and Finance committee and then the last 6 years on the ICC School Board. During the first 3 years, the district made the difficult choice to close two schools and eliminated many staff positions to maintain fiscal viability while maintaining programs and services to our students.Those decisions lead ICC to be in better financial position than most districts in the Capital Region. During the second 3 years we have upgraded the IT Infrastructure, completed an addition to the Primary and Middle Schools at minimal cost to the community, added much
needed security to all of the school buildings and added new programs to the high school.
This year we will say goodbye to our Superintendent, George Zini and welcome a new Superintendent, Michael Vanyo. A strong Board is needed and I have the background to be of assistance.
I am a taxpayer whose child attends the Middle School. I’ve volunteered for 5 years at the Primary School in kindergarten, and first- third grade assisting students who need additional support as well as for special events. I am vested in this school district.
I look to continue to work with the district with the hopes to add programs that will benefit our students. My goal for continued participation on the board is to assure that the children of the district receive a quality education with high standards set and met for academic performance that ensures their success for the future while being fiscally prudent and receptive to the taxpayers and community members.
I have decided to run for a seat on the board of education because of my passion for our community. I have lived in the Ichabod Crane School District since 1979. My husband and I are both graduates of the district and we raised our son here as well. During our sons school years we coached his little league team, and I was also a committee member for the local Boy Scout troop. I am the former owner and current manager of Carolina House Restaurant, and I am familiar and friendly with a substantial number of people in the district.
I am running for this position with no agenda, political or otherwise, simply a desire to do something good for our community. I am an expert negotiator; maybe that comes from my years as a real estate broker, or maybe from my subsequent years working with a mostly female staff at Carolina House. Whatever the reason, I have a special ability to see both sides of most situations empathetically. This skill may come in useful as school boards knowingly deal with sensitive issues. I look forward to the opportunity and appreciate your consideration.
Elevator Pitch: I am not a politician, I am a parent of 3 children in the district, a husband to a teacher at ICC, and a member of this community. I have significant experience in education working with Districts with technology improvements, advancements in curriculum, construction upgrades, and funding initiatives. I applaud the efforts of the ICC Board for the work they have done to improve our district and would like to continue their efforts as well as improving communications to the public, transparency of issues, and most importantly involve the public in strategies to make ICC a district we can be proud of.
We need to focus on the “ABCs”
Accountability- As a District, we need to be accountable to every child to reach his/her greatest potential.
Balance- I can offer a unique perspective and insight with a common sense approach to decision-making.
Community- Through collaboration, commitment, and communication we can achieve greatness at ICC.
Education: ICC Graduate (1989) The College of Saint Rose (1995) BS in Sociology/Business
Occupation: Account Executive for an educational technology company.
Family: I have three children attending ICC. Two in the High School, one in the Middle School and my wife, Nicole, is a long-time teacher in the Primary School.
Big Idea: We need to focus on the ABCs to make sure all students at ICC have everything they need to prepare themselves for success in college and career, wherever and whatever they may aspire to be. It takes a village and we cannot succeed on our own. The more we include our community the better our chance of success!
First Move on The School Board: Along with the other board members I will examine the leadership profile of the new superintendent and his leadership team. Determine what issues and challenges exist in the district, as well as the strengths. This can be by asking the critical questions to students, parents, teachers, school leaders and the community. We can then examine that information and use it to discuss and plan necessary decisions for change. Transparency is the key to our success, and information needs to be available and transparent to all stakeholders.
I am a lifelong resident of Columbia County and am a graduate of Ichabod Crane, along with my wife Christine, and have two sons. One son graduated last June and currently serves in the NAVY and the other is a junior at Ichabod Crane. I earned a bachelor’s degree from Siena College and graduated from Concordia Seminary. I have worked for the Department of Treasury since 1990 and have served as pastor at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stuyvesant since 2012.
I am active in the community where I have coached in the Crane Soccer Club since 2009 and also serve as the club’s treasurer. I am a volunteer firefighter and chaplain for the Palmer Engine & Hose Company in Kinderhook.
I would like to continue serving on the board and hope to continue the work that we have done over the past year. I look forward to working with the teachers, parents, and students to help get the students get the best education that they can; while preparing them for life after high school and doing so in a fiscally responsible way for the taxpayer.
Brendan James Caluneo is a recent graduate of Ichabod Crane Central School District having graduated as a member of the Class of 2016 and is currently attending Hudson Valley Community College pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. During his time at Ichabod Brendan attended the Hoby Youth Leadership Conference and Boys State at Suny Morrisville. Currently Brendan is serving as a Freshman Class Senator at Hudson Valley Community College and Community College Representative for Suny Student Assembly as well as running for President of The Student Senate and Student Representative on The Board of Trustees at Hudson Valley Community College. When asked why he decided to run for school board he said. “ I decided to run for school board as a way to give back to the school district and community. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunities to excel in school and I want to ensure that future generations of Ichabod Crane graduates receive the same great education I did.” As a member of Ichabod Crane Central School District’s Board of Education Brendan James Caluneo will work endlessly and tirelessly to ensure that the student receive the best education possible and are ready for what comes after graduation.
I have lived in Little Falls, in the Village of Valatie, for twelve years. Married for almost twenty years, my wife and I have two wonderful children who are currently students at Ichabod Crane (Junior and 8th grade). I coached Little League softball and CYO basketball for many years and was a member of the Kinderhook Town Recreation Commission. I am currently a member of the Kinderhook Elks and have been on the Board of Directors of O.K. Kids for the last five years.
My interest in becoming a school board member is simply that I believe in giving back to the community. I come with no personal agenda. Like all of you, I want to see our children receive the best educational, social and extracurricular opportunities possible; while ensuring that tax increases are kept to a minimum. I hope to bring a creative perspective to the board that will help assist in meeting the many challenges that exist. I would be honored, as one of your representatives, to help bring your ideas forward on how we can work together to make Ichabod Crane an even better school district.