Meet the BOE candidates: Mineola, East Williston

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David Keefe (left) and Alan Littman (right) are both running unopposed for spots on the East Williston Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of John Cardillo and Alan Littman)

Alan Littman, who is running unopposed for re-election to the East Williston Board of Education, said that he will continue to work on changes in security and safety measures.

He said that the board is currently working on these issues as well as adding new school programs and making educational changes.

“We are continuously improving education offerings to our students and making sure that they’re coming to a very safe and secure environment,” Littman said.

Trustee David Keefe, who is also running unopposed for his current spot on the board, said he feels that the board is “in pretty good shape.” He said he is aiming to keep the board headed in the direction that it has taken for the past several years.

“We think that we have personnel that are doing the job well,” Keefe said. “We are constantly striving to improve.”

Littman is ending his first term on the board and has been on charitable boards for over 30 years, including serving on the boards for the Boomer Esiason Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

“I think that we have a really good working board with excellent subcommittees,” he said.  “We’ve accomplished quite a bit and I think that we have a lot more to do. It’s a lot of time and effort, but it’s rewarding and I deal with good people for one of the most important causes – to help kids.”

Keefe has served on the board since 2010. This marks the end of his ninth year, and he said that he has run unopposed every time.

Keefe has served on multiple boards for decades, including state and local committees. He said that he taught in Hempstead for about 40 years, and was the union president in Hempstead for 30 years. He said that he has been in education in “one way or another” since at least the 1960s, and began teaching around that time.

“I’m running because I’ve been on a lot of boards and I know the way boards function,” said Keefe. “I understand the public side versus the private side. I think it’s good for the community to have someone like me, someone that brings my unique outlook to the board.”

Littman said that since his arrival on the board, he is most proud of the outreach efforts to the Southeast Asian community. Littman said that the board has added Diwali, Eid al-Fitr and the Lunar New Year onto the calendar as holidays. Littman says that this is in response to the changing and growing demographics in the community.

“That made me feel really good,” said Littman. “I think that changing demographic is wonderful. I’m meeting a lot of people that are really aligned with my views on family and education. I feel like I’m in a community that is very in touch with how I live my life.”

He also said that he is proud that the board recently appointed Christine Dragone to be the new principal of Willets Road School. He said that it was important for her to be appointed because she is “qualified and smart and forward thinking.” Littman also mentioned that he believes that she is the second woman principal in the school district, and that he likes that the district is appointing another woman as a principal.

“I feel like we continue to head in a good direction in terms of recognizing quality people,” said Littman.

Keefe said that since his arrival on the board, it has made a “massive effort” to equalize the opportunities for students to take AP classes, particularly at Wheatley School. He also said that the board worked to expand opportunities to study languages, especially at Willets Road School.

“We’ve encouraged everyone to give it a shot,” said Keefe.

Keefe said that he is also proud of the “complete U-turn” that the board has made with regard to bonding. He said that the board worked toward developing a capital reserve instead of using bonds and that this saves money.

Littman is currently president of Rising Stars, a non-for-profit youth foundation that aims to help develop and enrich children’s lives. According to Littman, Rising Stars currently provides scholarships to 38 boys and girls to attend private schools, and also offers tutoring, ACT and SAT prep.

Littman said that the group is negotiating with Nassau County to build an athletic educational facility through Rising Stars. He said that this would really effect change and give more children advantages for high education.

“I want to be able to get them the same advantages in preparation for higher education that my kids have,” said Littman. “I want to make the playing field as fair as I can. That’s why I’m working with Rising Stars and the school board.”

Mineola

Cheryl Lampasona is running unopposed for re-election to the Mineola Board of Education.

Lampasona joined the board in 2016. She ran unopposed for Vice President Patricia Navarra’s seat after Navarra stepped down to pursue a position with a national collective bargaining group for college professors.

This will be Lampasona’s second term on the board. Previously, she was co-president of the Hampton Street School PTA. She has worked as a full-time and part-time school teacher.

Lampasona joined the board shortly after the movement of Mineola parents opting their children out of controversial state tests aligned with Common Core educational standards.

Lampasona has said that she thinks that it is good that parents have a choice in the matter.

Efforts to reach Lampasona were unavailing.

 

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