Readers Write: Incumbents represent steady leadership for Port Washington School District

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As three Port Washington School Board trustees who are running for re-election this year, we are asking for your vote because experience, perspective and passion for all students and stakeholders is necessary to lead the district through these tumultuous times.

Our Board of Education needs trustees who can listen to the many voices in our district and make tough decisions knowing that there are no quick fixes.

Between us, we have eight children who have graduated from the district, the last in 2020. Our own children have had very different needs which have given us a personal perspective on the various paths available to students in the district.

We have had children in PEP, special education, athletics, theater, kids who have thrived and kids who have struggled. As board members, we know that our responsibility is to advocate for 5300 children, not just our own.

Larry Greenstein is completing his fifth term on the board. He began his advocacy in the district by starting a chapter of SEPTA, a national Special Education PTA. He served as president of that organization before stepping up to serve all the students of the district as a BOE trustee.

In his tenure on the board, he has served as president, chair of various committees, and continues as a leader of the Legislative Task Force, working to focus the attention of our elected officials on the issues affecting the Port Washington community.

He also sits on the Board of Nassau BOCES where he advocates for all of the children in Nassau County and serves as secretary/treasurer of Nassau/Suffolk School Boards Association where he discusses issues and best practices with colleagues from all over Long Island.

In his professional life, Mr. Greenstein is a practicing CPA.  When asked what makes an effective board member Larry replies, “A good board member doesn’t advocate for their child. They fight for all the children.”

Nora Johnson has served the Port Washington Union Free School District as a BOE member for three terms. She began volunteering soon after her family moved to Port serving as president of the Sousa HSA, and later as president of the Schreiber HSA.

She has also served as President of the Community Chest’s Scholarship Fund and co-chaired Port Washington’s Relay for Life. She is currently the Board President and previously was the Vice President. Professionally, Nora started her career as a registered nurse, realized that law was her calling, went back to school for her J.D. and practiced law at several large firms.

Initially taking time off to raise her family, Nora resumed her law practice two years ago and currently has a pro-bono practice representing community members.

Elizabeth (Beth) Weisburd has served two terms as a member of the Port Washington School Board, including serving as vice president for the last two years.

In addition, she has served as chair of the Budget and Facilities Committee, overseeing the work of the 2015 bond.

Beth began her advocacy in the district as a member of the Salem elementary school HSA and later as president of the Weber HSA. In 2015, prior to her election to the school board, Beth was tapped to serve on the Community Bond committee, assisting the board in prioritizing the facility needs of the district.

Prior to having children, she was a Special Education teacher. Beth is a multi-generational member of the Port Washington Community.

Recently, Beth joined the Port Washington Fire Department, Fire Medic Company 1 and become an EMT to continue her service to this community, and distinguished herself as a top volunteer first responder during the Covid crisis.

Collectively, the incumbents have led the Port Washington School District through many positive changes despite some challenging financial years and the recent unprecedented Covid crisis.

We were instrumental in the passage of the 2015 Facilities Bond. The bond work includes new science and technology spaces in the elementary schools, a new music suite in the Middle school, necessary expansion and additions in all of the schools, new turf fields, renovated auditoriums and many more improvements that have had a direct, positive impact on all students. We have also consistently presented the community with responsible budgets that remained within the tax cap while continuing to move the district forward.

Under our leadership, new programs that bring consistency to the curriculum such as Project Lead the Way, Math in Focus, Science 21, Columbia Teachers college literacy program have been implemented.  We have funded the addition of a critical literacy administrator and ensured the necessary expansion of our English as a new language staff as the needs of the district changed.

In addition to safely reopening schools this year, we are proud of the 1:1 initiative that has provided every student with an iPad or Chromebook and WiFi access, helping to close the technology gap and plans that are underway to expand the RULER program for social and emotional learning to all schools.

Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we championed the district’s Vision and Mission task force and partnered with NYU Metro IECS, both of which will ensure that every student in Port Washington has the educational opportunities they deserve consistent with our community’s values.

As stated by Nora, “Beth, Larry and I have been a steady guiding hand in the district as we have gone through many changes, including the Covid crisis which is still with us. We have the experience, perspective and passion and understand the process and our role as board members.

We have never had personal agendas.  We are asking for your vote because we want to continue to serve the entire community and ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of every student.”

Larry Greenstein

Nora Johnson

Beth Weisburd

Port Washington

 

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