LATHAM — Three candidates are vying for one open seat on the North Colonie Board of Education.
The vacancy was created when BOE incumbent Paula D’Orazio, the current vice president, opted to not seek a fifth term on the board. The seat carries a five-year term and is there is no compensation.
The election is Tuesday, May 17, when voters across the state vote on annual school budgets.
The candidates as they will be listed on the ballot are:
Mary Alber is in her second year as president of the North Colonie Parent Teacher Association Council and is president of the Shaker High School PTA. Previously, she was the president of the Special Education PTA.
She has been a representative on the Board of Education Budget Committee for the past two years.
She is currently an information technology specialist at the Teachers’ Retirement System. She has a bachelor’s degree from Baruch College and a master’s from the University of Phoenix.
“As president of the PTA Council I collaborated with district administrators, PTA leaders and the United Way to bring the community support fund to life during the pandemic. I recently rechartered the high school PTSA to ensure there are more opportunities for parents, students and administrators to collaborate. As a SEPTA leader I connected families to local service providers in our area,” she said in a statement on the district website. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue advocating for equity for all children and families in our school community. I strive to be a voice that asks thoughtful questions while setting expectations and accountability among school leaders to continually seek communication and feedback from those impacted by their decisions.”
Donna Watson works for the Troy City School District as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She is a member of the North Colonie Professional Development Planning Committee, is a sports Booster Club parent volunteer and PTA member and was a 2021 Shaker Freshman Football team parent. She is a former Girl Scout leader and former volunteer coach for the Latham Circle Soccer Recreation League.
She has a bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees from UAlbany. She also completed a Certificate of Advanced Educational Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Studies.
“As the proud mother of three North Colonie School District graduates and a current freshman at Shaker High School, I have been actively involved in our schools for the last 17 years,” she said. “I am running for a seat on the North Colonie School District Board of Education because I believe I have much to contribute given my educational background and decades of experience working in schools as both a leader and teacher. I am keenly aware of the need to balance sound educational programming with fiscal responsibility and transparency, while keeping students at the heart of all decisions. I hope to ensure that parents and the community have a real voice in the educational process and that teachers and leaders have the tools they need to meet the ever changing needs of all of the students and families.”
Marcy Thompson grew up and lived in South Colonie for more than 30 years
and has lived in the North Colonie district for about two years. A former elementary school teacher and graduate of the College of Saint Rose, she currently works in human resources for New York state. She is a member of Grace Fellowship and often participates in service projects and fundraisers around the community.
“I believe that much of the change we seek in our schools and communities begins at the local school board level, and I am highly motivated to serve as a passionate advocate for the parents and students of our district. Our school boards are entrusted with choosing curriculum and textbooks, allocatingtax dollar resources, and creating policy. Those decisions impact us all in some way,” she said. “Equipped with a holistic understanding of the purpose of the school board and the issues affecting our families, I bring a fresh perspective, strong passion for serving, and the ability to identify unique opportunities for improvement and stability. I will use my knowledge and experience to build a positive bridge of communication between our community and my fellow school board members. Working together, we can ensure that the impressionable minds of our youth are responsibly guided toward the future.”
The nine-member panel meets formally once a month and oversees all aspects of education at the district that has more than 6,000 students.
It also approves and oversees the annual budget, which for the 2022-23 school year is proposed to be about $134.9 million. It would increase spending by 7.9 percent but only increase taxes by 0.5 percent, or about $21 per year for the owner of a home assessed at $150,000 and $28 for a home assessed at $200,000.
The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Goodrich Building, the district office building, on Fiddlers Lane.
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