Question 16 of 20 for 2020 NRBOE Candidates: Past Involvement with District?

Written By: Robert Cox
  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?

Adina Berrios Brooks: We moved to New Rochelle nearly six years ago, and since then both of our children have attended New Rochelle public schools. My involvement until last year was that of a typical involved parent – I attended PTA meetings, volunteered regularly at my children’s schools and would occasionally attend BOE meetings in person or online. For the past year I have been much more engaged with the CSDNR, attending nearly every meeting and looking for other points of entry to improve our schools.

Katie Castellano Minaya: I started getting involved in the PTA and BOE meetings when my 3rd grade daughter started school here as a kindergartener. I began attending more regularly 2 years ago when there was talk of removing the CILA program at WARD when Dr. Parvey was interim superintendent. I attended budget meetings, too, to see how the priorities of the district aligned with the budget. My concern was that equality and equity were being conflated, so I worked closely with Dr. Parvey to discuss language access and literacy support for our students. I will continue to attend all BOE meetings and offer solutions and resources regardless of being on the BOE or not. Having a kindergartner reminds me that I am in this for the long haul and will do all I can to help our district reach its full potential.

Barbara D’Alois: As my children were younger, and needing to go in two different directions at once, it was not always easy to get to meetings at night. I tried. As the meetings became more available to watch on tv, I made my best effort to follow the best and worst of the shows. Sometimes insightful, sometimes more like the Jerry Springer show.

Christopher Daniello:Did not answer.

Stephen A. DiDonato: I have always been civically active. I have attended board meetings and council meetings over the years for various reasons.

Sometimes in celebration, sometimes to protest to what is going on in the schools or city. I’ve always enjoyed this connection.

As a recent retiree, I now have the time, and still have the desire to contribute to making the schools and by default the city a place to be proud of again.

Sharon D. Footes: I have been involved for the past 8 years and speaking at the board for the past 5 years.

Matthew T. Hirschman: I’ve followed the issues and engaged in discussions. I’ve watched many meetings online. I’m obviously trying to become more involved.

Michael Leone: My family is interested in the general health of the District as we have and had children in the schools and the need for fiscal responsibility and oversight has always been lacking. For a while it looked like there was some progress to that end and then with all of the turnover in key Administrative positions, that progress stalled. The District needs a strong Board that will follow their own policy’s. I usually watch the meetings after the fact so I can digest all the information going on and not be distracted. Even though I’ve not been a physical presence at the meetings, I am informed and understand the need for change.

Timothy McKnight: I have been extremely involved with the school district and community. I graduated from Trinity, Isaac Young, New Rochelle High School and St. Gabes. As the Resident Services Director for the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority, I had to create relationships and partnerships with many schools and administrators to adequately support my student residents. I have been a member of the New Rochelle Connects group run by Dr. Bongo, a member of the New Rochelle Council of Community Services, the Co-­‐Chair of the New Rochelle Network group, Vice President of the New Rochelle Community Action Partnership Board, and a My Brothers Keeper (MBK) Fellow. I have been attending Board Meeting for the last 4 years.

Mario A. Scarano: I have not participated or been involved until the Coach DiRienzo incident occurred. My wife Janet and I have been attending sporting, music and theater events over the years and have remained in contact with many staff members. Also, prior to selling my wife’s family business, Jan Mar Trophy Co. on January 2, 2019, we sold and/or donated awards and apparel products to many of the schools in the district.

Julia Taylor: My husband and I have been attending PTA meetings for both of my daughters since we moved here in 2011 and I have attended board meetings since then. We were part of Halloween events, school parties, international night, grandparent visit, and various play productions, I have taken professional pictures, and produced a performance video for parents. Both of our daughters are avid swimmers and participate on the swim teams in New Rochelle. My youngest daughter has participated in New Rochelle Soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. I also consult Gratis for parents who are struggling with getting related services for their children. Lastly, I am a great translator for my Spanish speaking neighbors who need support.

Donald Vega: My involvement has been primarily with my special need son’s education within that district across three schools (Barnard, Columbus, IEY). We have also participated in the Special Olympics, several board meetings, been members of the PTA & SEPTA, fund-raised for our schools and contributed donations to the respective schools.