Readers Write: Nanette Melkonian: Port Washington’s best first choice for Board of Education

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Nanette Melkonian is Port Washington’s best first choice on this year’s slate of Board of Education candidates.

I am a working parent, a mom to an elementary-schooler and rising middle-schooler, and an educator, and I’d like to share my reasons for wholeheartedly supporting Melkonian in this race.

Nanette’s expertise is wide-ranging and long-standing. She has been an engaged parent in the district since 2000 and will graduate her third child from our schools this June.

I see this as a boon: Nanette can advocate both for the current parent population as well as the non-parent population of Port Washington. She also knows what our graduates need once they leave our district, and the tools necessary to be competitive post-Port. As an elementary parent, I appreciate and value this long-view.

Drawing on her experience as an elementary educator in the public schools and a special educator at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary level, Nanette understands that every child in our district has needs, and no child should be considered peripheral.

I feel confident as a single parent to two kids with very different needs (ranging from a 504 to PEP core group) that Nanette will fight for children spanning every type of need and background, from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Many people know Nanette as one of the co-founders of Port Washington Advocates for Public Education, and, at various times in the past years, she has been involved in the Parent Resource Center, Parents Council, Guggenheim HSA, the Parent Education Committee, and the Compact Committees of both Guggenheim and Weber.

She is in her third year as co-President of AGATE (Advocacy for Gifted and Talented Education), and is currently on the District’s Vision and Mission Committee.

In short, Nanette has a long history of deep engagement and advocacy in our community, one that promises not to wane post-pandemic.

She supported diversity and inclusion work before it became a catchphrase. She understands that our district’s problem spots did not begin with COVID, but that the pandemic simply made visible the deep fissures of inequity and dysfunction that have been present for quite some time. She knows this because she has been working hard to combat them for many years already.

Nanette’s may not be the loudest voice in the room, but hers is the strongest and wisest. She listens and learns and thinks deeply about every situation before she holds forth with her opinion or solution.

She won’t say yes because it is popular and she won’t say no because that’s just the way it’s been done in the past. This is the kind of careful attention and commitment our school district desperately needs right now.

In our current race, alongside Nanette, we have three insiders and three outsiders running for the Board of Education.

Nanette does not fall neatly in either camp. She is the only candidate brave enough to stand alone, and I respect her immensely for this. Nanette understands the establishment, and how to navigate it, but is not beholden to it.

She is an agent of change, not just for the sake of change itself, but because she has curated a deep and abiding mission across the many years that she has worked as an advocate in our district. That mission: an excellent education for all.

Please join me in proudly voting Nanette Melkonian into membership of the Port Washington Board of Education on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

Kelly McMasters

Port Washington

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