COLONIE — Four candidates will run for two open seats on the South Colonie Board of Education when voters head to the polls on May 17.
BOE elections are not necessarily at-large elections so there are two candidates running for each of the open two seats.
In the first, a five-year term, incumbent and BOE President Rose Gigliello is defending her seat against Jeremy Rundell, a City of Albany police officer making his first run at the BOE.
The second seat is also a five-year term and incumbent Michael Keane is defending his seat against Nicole Castelle, an Accountant and Operations Administrator for a local renewable energy and residential solar company.
The two new candidates have formed a ticket with the Facebook page “J. Rundell & N. Castelle for South Colonie School Board.” An objective of their candidacy is “to encourage parents to play an active role in their child(ren)’s education and to help restore transparency within the district.”
Their platform has three basic tenets:
• Encourage parents and schools to cultivate strong relationships to improve the odds of every child’s academic success rate
• To be a voice for teachers
• To bring a combined proficiency in financial literacy and principled fundamentals to the parents, residents and tax payers.
“Teachers should not be expected, nor encouraged, to teach our kids anything other than academics, art, physical education and life skills,” Castelle said in a statement. “I want to be a voice for all parents and encourage them to take an active part in their children’s lives.”
Gigliello was first elected in 2012 and she is looking for her third term on the BOE. She has lived in the district for more than 35 years and is recently retired from BOCES where she was a special education teacher.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and a master’s degree in special education from the College of Saint Rose in Albany.
She is an active member of ICARE and was awarded a lifetime membership to the Parent Teacher Association. She has served on the district Curriculum Mapping and the Special Education Advisory committees.
She and her husband, John, have two daughters, both Colonie Central High School graduates.
Rundell has been on the Albany police for 17 years. The Chatham High School graduate, class of ’96, earned his associates from Hudson Valley Community College and his bachelor’s from SUNY Cortland,.
He has lived in the district for 11 years and currently has three children attending South Colonie schools.
He is an active volunteer with Feed Albany where he delivers meals to the homebound.
At a BOE meeting in August, 2021, as districts across the state were debating COVID-19 protocols, he spoke strongly against mask mandates for students and rather was a proponent of allowing parents to decide if their children should be masked or not.
Keane is looking for his second term on the BOE after getting elected in 2019 to fill the years remaining on the unexpired term of Leonard Motto.
He has lived in the district for 19 years and is the director of human resources for Living Resources Corporation.
A 1992 graduate of Colonie Central High School, Keane earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of Saint Rose.
He serves as the male engagement specialist for the Northeast Region of New York State PTA, is a current member of the Colonie High PTSA, and is a member of both the Colonie Girls Soccer and Girls Softball booster clubs.
He and his wife, Kim, have a son and a daughter who both attend South Colonie Schools.
Castelle is seeking her first term on the South Colonie Board of Education. Castelle is an Accountant and Operations Administrato for a local renewable energy and residential solar company. The Colonie High School graduate attended Hudson Valley Community College before moving on to SUNY Cortland where she earned a bachelor’s in mathematics and economic science.
She is a member of Grace Fellowship church and often participates in service projects and fundraisers around the community.
A mom to two, she has now lived in the district for more than 12 years.
In a note to voters she said her oldest child was diagnosed with a number of disorders in first grade and said South Colonie School District could not or would not provide him the appropriate support for a decent education so she placed him in private school. She did the same with her younger son.
The Board of Education
The South Colonie BOE is made up of nine residents of the district who each serve five-year terms. There is no compensation.
The board oversees all aspects of public education in the South Colonie School District which has about 4,800 students in a high school, two middle schools and five elementary schools with a proposed 2022-23 budget of $113.5 million.
To run for the BOE, a candidate must be able to read and write, be a citizen of the U.S., be mentally competent (or at least not deemed mentally incompetent by a court) and not a convicted felon.
A candidate must have been a resident of the district for at least a year prior to the election and cannot be employed at the district or live with someone who is on the BOE.
Voters living in the South Colonie School District, as with districts across the state, can vote on the BOE candidates and the budget on Tuesday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at any of the five elementary schools: Forest Park, Saddlewood, Shaker Road, Veeder and Roessleville.
There is also a proposition on the ballot asking for the voters’ permission to spend up to $1.9 million to purchase the soon to be vacant BOCES facility on Watervliet Shaker Road to use as new transportation and operations and maintenance facilities.