Residents of the Niskayuna Central School District will be able to choose from three candidates for two open spots on the Board of Education for the 2009-2010 school year at the Tuesday, May 19, budget vote.
The three candidates for the Niskayuna Board of Education are Barbara Mauro, Richard Fisher and Robert Winchester. Barbara Mauro is seeking her fifth term on the board, Robert Winchester is seeking his second term on the board, and Richard Fisher is seeking his first term on the board.
Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a master’s degree in earth science education from the University at Albany.
Fisher taught life science and earth science at Watervliet Junior-Senior High from 1992-2008 and has been a science specialist for the Jewish Community Center’s Camp Chavereim for the past two summers. He currently works on educational programs for different community organizations.
He has served as a den leader for the Boy Scouts and has also been an assistant coach and head coach for Niskayuna baseball at all levels of competition. He has lived in the district for 11 years and has four children who have attended, currently attend or will attend Niskayuna Schools.
[I would like] to continue the great work of the school board, to support the kids in the area, and pretty much make the world a better place and to serve my community in the best capacity possible, said Fisher.
According to Fisher, the three main items on his immediate agenda, if elected, are to implement full-day kindergarten; work on a fully interactive online education program ` first for the high school and eventually for the middle school; and to start a universal pre-kindergarten program.
Mauro, who has served on the board for the past 12 years, received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Duquesne University; a master’s from the University at Albany School of Criminal Justice and a law degree from New York University School of Law.
She is a retired attorney and former counsel to the New York State Assembly Social Services Committee. She is currently a Schenectady County commissioner on the Capital District Regional Planning Commission and was recently elected to the Capital Region BOCES Board of Education.
Mauro has served as board president and vice president, and is currently a member of the board’s audit and policy committees, and the district’s health advisory committee, as well as other activities.
Mauro was a member of the parent-teacher organizations at Rosendale Elementary School, Iroquois Middle School and Niskayuna High School, and the shared decision making teams at Rosendale and Iroquois.
She and her husband, Frank, have lived in the district since 1993. Their daughters, Gina and Ava, are graduates of Niskayuna High School.
`What it boils down to is I’m running for the children; for the students in our school district,` said Mauro. `That’s the entire motivation. I’ve been on the board for 12 years. It’s always in my conscience to try and do things efficiently.`
She said that finishing the $94.5 million dollar building project is one of the things she hopes to see accomplished as soon as possible.
`Many board members would say the same thing ` there are always areas for improvement, there are always areas where we can do things differently. I still have a lot of enthusiasm for my work on the school board; I love doing it and I feel that I’ve been effective over the years,` said Mauro.
Robert Winchester is seeking his second term on the Board of Education. Winchester holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh, where he majored in biology and chemistry.
He worked for the Niskayuna Central School District for 36 years before retiring in 2005. He served as the district’s director of health education and services for 19 years and currently manages his own business importing and selling original Chinese artwork.
He and his family have lived in the district for 37 years. They have three daughters ` all are graduates of Niskayuna High School.
Winchester was on the founding board of MVP Health Plan and has served as a consultant evaluating health education for the United States Centers for Disease Control and has written two books.
`It’s not just that I’ve done a lot of these things already; I’ve been on the board for 12 years working with other people, making collaborative decisions on what we should be doing educationally,` said Winchester.
Voting will take place at the Niskayuna High School on Tuesday, May 19, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.niskayschools.net.