Meet the candidates for Chester School Board

Election. Four candidates are running for two positions on the Chester School Board. Election Day is Tuesday May 17, 2022. Polls are open 8.a.m-9 the Chester Academy Music Room

| 11 May 2022 | 07:21

Keith Brideweser

I am an incumbent on the Chester Board of Education. I have been a resident of Chester for over 18 years and have been with Orange and Rockland Utilities for over 28 years where I am a manager. I have a BS degree in Psychology from Gordon College and a MS in Computer Science from NYU. Currently, I serve on the Village of Chester ZBA, the Chester School Board, and the Board of Directors for the O&R Utilities Employees Federal Credit Union. My son graduated from the Academy last year, and my daughter is finishing her junior year at the high school. Our children have been able to receive great teaching and participate in the music, athletics, Odyssey of the Mind, and other extracurricular offerings at the schools. I have volunteered for Chester Recreation as a coach and in the Scouts as a leader.

Joseph Delaney

For the past 5 elections, incumbents on the Chester School Board have run unopposed.

I’m running for School Board to add a much-needed level of accountability and transparency. With my experience as a Director of Operations, a part-time instructor, and former AmeriCorps volunteer, I would bring a unique and valuable perspective on education and operations to our Board. I have extensive experience with budget management, contract negotiations, and continuous improvement plans.

First and foremost, our main goal needs to be closing the pandemic-induced learning gap by collaborating with parents, teachers, and support staff. The past two years have been a challenge for all of us, especially our students, and we need to work together to get back on track.

We have a great community and we should leverage that resource to better our District.

I want to improve engagement by bringing back committees to focus on budget/auditing, policy, curriculum development, and the Maple Avenue School. We need to bridge the gap between the Board and our community.

This year, voting hours were cut by the School Board. Every surrounding District is open from 6am - 9pm except Chester. I want to restore early voting hours to provide access to voters who prefer to cast their ballot before going to work.

We also need better access to board meetings. Over 50% of this year’s Board of Education meetings conflicted with the Town Board’s existing schedule. I want to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

We need to ensure the adopted budget provides our District and our Students the best value possible. We need to revamp our purchasing policy so all major expenses are funneled through a formal quoting process. Other Districts, such as Goshen, have adopted similar policies; we shouldn’t be signing $80,000 contracts without competitive bids.

Kim DiCurcio

My name is Kim DiCurcio. My husband and I have resided in Chester since 1999. My daughter, Michaela, is a 2020 graduate of Chester Academy and my son, Nicholas, will be graduating this June. I have been a public school educator for the past 29 years.

As a Chester community member, I have had the privilege of being involved with Girl Scouts, Odyssey of the Mind, the Little League Board, Academy booster clubs, and various parent planning committees. This community involvement has given me the opportunity to work as a team with many different individuals.

Public education is something I hold near and dear. Providing a quality education for all children is of the utmost importance that requires the collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders. If elected, I will work tirelessly to support programs, curriculum development and school personnel to help ensure our schools meet the needs of all learners.

Caroline Negersmith

First, and most importantly, I am a mom to 2 boys in the elementary school. I graduated from Chester High School so as a long time community member I am very invested in seeing our district grow and improve. My family still lives in Chester so I am inherently sensitive to how our budget and spending can affect others.

I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Social work from NYU. I also completed a Graduate Certificate at George Washington University specializing in Brian Injury, which also focused on curriculum differentiation for children with special needs. As a social worker I think I could bring a unique perspective to our Board. My strengths include being a strong advocate and working collaboratively with others. My goal would be to use these same skills in working with our stakeholders and administration to make sure the needs of our teachers and students are met.

My goals would be to improve school climate, communication and curriculum. In regard to communication one of my goals would be to help develop committees that could help funnel concerns from parents and staff to administrators in this way. We need to improve the communication structures in our district. Currently I feel that there is a disconnect between how our district thinks we are doing compared to how our parents feel about the areas of school climate and curriculum. In regard to school climate, creating greater opportunities to engage our parents and staff together is a critical part of social-emotional learning. Having the district take a more active role in initiating and planning district wide events for students outside of the PTA is important.

There were so many missed opportunities for our students this year that other surrounding districts brought back last Fall. In regard to curriculum, evaluating our curriculum and the factors influencing our ratings should be a priority as well as having a plan in place to address them. This is important for making sure the needs of our students is met but also for our tax payers and the value of our homes.