Editor, The Spotlight;
I am writing to heartily endorse my fellow BCHS parent and good friend, Jonathan Fishbein, for Bethlehem Central School Board. I was so happy to hear of his choice to run.
Jonathan and I each had and have several children in the district, and we have worked side-by-side on challenging issues with parents, teachers, school administrators and the Board in an effort to insure a quality education for our students. Jonathan’s skills at navigating such difficult waters quickly became evident to me. He has the pivotal traits and skills to effectively represent the community on the School Board. Jonathan is a skilled and patient listener, allowing him to carefully gather information from “all sides” of an issue before trying to promote solutions. He has a notable ability to see problems from the perspective of all stakeholders and to communicate his understanding of their interests regarding issues that, at first blush, appear to involve significant conflict between opposing sides. Most importantly, Jonathan has an uncanny skill for envisioning alternative solutions that can help opposing factions to say “yes” to a compromise after discovering common ground.
Jonathan’s skills are actually no surprise given his background: He is a highly experienced appellate attorney. He has an accounting background that prepares him for wrestling with the complex financial challenges all Board members are saddled with. Perhaps most importantly, Jonathan is a highly trained mediator and arbitrator who handles difficult, multidimensional disputes in his practice on a regular basis, certainly preparing him for the stakeholder disputes that are a regular part of serving on the Board. In short, he knows how to see problems from all perspectives in order to craft workable solutions.
Jonathan is a father who has always been very involved in his children’s education. He is a husband who knows the inner workings, struggles, and assets of BCSD well because his wife has been a speech pathologist with the district for 20 years. Jonathan has a keen understanding of how hard our teachers work in this district, and he is a taxpayer acutely aware of the struggles seniors have with our tax burden. As a former competitive ice dancer and coach, Jonathan also knows how to fall, get back up, dust off and focus on getting it right for the next challenge.
I have seen Jonathan at work, carefully gathering information about difficult disputes, brainstorming solutions that might make stakeholders able to agree and always doing so with a sense of respect and honor toward the people across the table from him. He is the kind of person we need representing our interests and values as a community on our Board of Education, a Board that tries year in and year out to find ways to keep our district a shining example of educational excellence during tough economic times. Please join me in casting your vote for Jonathan Fishbein on Election Day.
Jeffrey P. Wittmann,