20 Questions with New Rochelle School Board Candidate Sharon D. Footes

Written By: Robert Cox

Campaign Website

  1. Would you support a more involved public process to review and discuss the annual audited financials, perhaps incorporating a review of actual spending into projected spending? Explain.

Yes. I would support a more involved public process to review and discuss the annual financials. This lends to the transparency the public continues to ask for.

  1. Would you support hiring an in-house legal staff to handle routine matters to reduce District legal expenses? Explain.

Yes. I would support a in-house legal staff to reduce the Districts legal expenses.This approach is the best practice to conserve funds.

  1. What are the skills and experiences you will bring to the school board, if elected?

My Command Sergeant Major said to me,”Footes, your skills are your willingness and commitment to the task.” I believe that then and it rings true now.These would be the skills and experience I bring to the Board.

  1. Under Dr. Feijóo, since January, the District has refused to fill Freedom of Information requests and, since March, disallowed public comments at regular school board meetings. What is your position on the Board’s role in enforcing transparency?

The lack of transparency has to first be noted. Then, understand and make clear that board is in violation of the Freedom of Information Act . It is of the uttermost importance that our leaders are always working within the law.

  1. What do you see is the first immediate priority of the school board? Looking out to the end of what would be your term in office, list three outcomes not currently under consideration by the board that you would like to see accomplished by 2025.

The immediate priority of the School Board should be overseeing the budget.

Three outcomes not under current consideration are 5190; Hire of Black Teachers; Funds for the Neuro Diverse Community

  1. Do you support retaining or removing Superintendent Dr. Laura Feijóo?

No comment.

  1. There has been significant “Black Flight” from the New Rochelle public schools since 2010, with about 650 Black students now “missing”, how would you propose the Board address Black Flight?

Black Flight is not solely an issue of the Board. Many factors go into how and how Black Students leave the District.

  1. Would you support commissioning a study to evaluate the feasibility of Universal Pre-K to 5 busing?

I would support commissioning a study to evaluate the feasibility of Universal Pre-K to 5th grade bussing if it meant the board would follow through with the recommendations.

  1. There was a great deal of controversy earlier this school year regarding former head football Coach Lou DeRienzo. What are your thoughts on the matter?

No comment.

  1. The District recently announced the hiring of Adofo Muhammad as the new NRHS Principal who then subsequently withdrew. What are your thoughts on that situation?

No comment.

  1. The District plans on moving the Alternative High School from St Gabriel’s Church to Bethesda Baptist Church of New Rochelle. What are your thoughts on that?

The short answer to the Alternative School being moved to Bethesda Church is “NO WAY”.

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many issues but two of the prominent for the District are Food Distribution and Distance Learning. Address those two points specifically and your thoughts on the District’s pandemic response generally.
  • Food Distribution 1 thru 10 = 6
  • Distance Learning 1 thru 10 = 5
  1. The demands on school board members have increased exponentially over the past decade. Is this a concern for you and, if so, how would you address it? Would you support shorter terms, shorter board meetings, less “required” non-boarding meeting activities, annual stipends?

The demands of the board have changed and that is not a concern for me, nor do I believe there should be a shorter term, no to shorter meetings, yes to less required non- board meetings and activities and no to an annual stipend.

  1. 90% of the School Board living in the North End speaks to the divide in the city. To change that divide or make sure everyone’s voice is being heard I encourage people from other parts of the city to run for the board and be part of the well needed change.

I believe the only way to change this is to follow or adopt the New Rochelle City Council model of dividing the city into district so only residents from those districts can represent them on the board. This is integral to ensuring fairness and equity throughout the city school district.

  1. What I realized about myself and took for granted is how I spend my free time. I did not value time for myself and now I do.

What I realized about myself and took for granted is how I spend my free time. I did not value time for myself and now I do.

  1. To what degree have you been involved with the New Rochelle School District over the past 10 years? Prior to 2019-20, how often have you attended New Rochelle Board of Education meetings?

I have been involved for the past 8 years and speaking at the board for the past 5 years.

  1. What are your thoughts on Apex Grade Inflation Investigations?

No comment.

  1. Do you think Board Members should be allowed to take jobs with the District or its vendors upon leaving the school board?


  1. If you win a seat, you will be responsible for spending about $1.5 billion dollars of other people’s money over the next 5 years. What is your level of financial literacy and how does it apply to this responsibility?

My level of financial literacy is that I have a background in Food Service and Retail Management. To add I can read, write and have a somewhat fair grasp on how to manage other people’s money.

  1. The board operates under a “strategic road map”. Identify three elements of the strategic road map that you feel the board got right (and why). Identify up to three (if any) elements that you would change or drop altogether (and why)?
  • Student Learning
  • Engagement and Outreach
  • Superb Staff
  • Safe and Supportive School
  • Excellent Teachers
  • Resource Management


Will you vote for the budget?


Do you have anything to say about the mail-in ballot distribution snafu?

They need to push the election back. People still haven’t received their ballots and want to vote.

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