Kamberg touts experience over Del Maestro in lone contested East Williston Board of Education race

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East Williston School Board President Mark Kamberg (left) is running to retain his seat on the board against challenger Raymond Del Maestro (right). (Photos courtesy of both candidates)

East Williston Board of Education President Mark Kamberg said he has high expectations for the school district, but first, he must fend off challenger Raymond Del Maestro in the board elections on June 9.

“As the board president, I have set high expectations and hold people accountable,” Kamberg said. “I know that this approach works because I treat people with respect and as a result the staff continues to work towards accomplishing our shared goals.”

Kamberg is running for his fifth term, having served on the board since 2008. He has lived in Albertson for 19 years and is the president of S. Kamberg & Co., a food ingredients company based in Great Neck that his father founded.

Del Maestro, an adjunct professor in the St. John’s University education department, touted his  35 years of experience in educational and administrative positions at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

“I feel like I can make a positive contribution with the knowledge and experience I have gained throughout the years,” Del Maestro said. “I have a feeling I can offer my services to the district in a very progressive way.”

Kamberg said he hopes that his track record with the East Williston school district will speak for itself when voters send in their absentee ballots before the June 9 election date.

“Twelve years has meant 36 moving up and graduation ceremonies, over 160 concerts, and plays, multiple academic award ceremonies, 600-plus board, committee, and PTO meetings and countless other, community, state, and even national events on behalf of our district,” Kamberg said. “It has allowed me to celebrate the successes of our children as well as continue to learn more about what I can do for our district.”

Del Maestro emphasized that his campaign for a trustee position is not a result of any personal vendetta against any current member.

“I wouldn’t tell people to vote for me rather than someone else, but I would tell them that I offer the expertise that comes with me,” Del Maestro said. “Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to put some new, fresh blood into the system.”

Kamberg said some of the decisions that have been made throughout his tenure on the board helped improve the core curriculum.

“Academically we have implemented a cohesive K-12 balanced literacy approach, added technology, innovation and STEM into all aspects of learning while increasing our AP offerings,” Kamberg said. “We have increased our focus on the whole child, adding initiatives that support the social and emotional development of our students.”

Del Maestro said one of the main points he would address if elected to the board is building closer cooperation with all of the stakeholders throughout the district.

“Through my style of hands-on leadership, with an emphasis on accountability, I will maintain the sensitivity to the needs of students and be accessible to ideas and concerns,” Del Maestro said.

Kamberg said that despite his efforts to prioritize safety, education and transparency for the students and district residents, he understands some will not agree with the decisions that have been or will be made.

“The laws can at times delay and even hinder what needs to be done but what I bring is experience, consistency, transparency, availability and trust,” Kamberg said. “Not everyone always agrees with decisions that are made, but nobody can take away from the time, passion and commitment that I have given back to our community.”

Del Maestro spoke of how the coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted the district stakeholders and what can possibly be done going forward, in a time of uncertainty.

“The social, emotional and economic impact of this pandemic is unprecedented,” Del Maestro said. “Now, more than ever before, we will need to develop creative solutions to handle the financial implications of this uncertain time and make the best efforts for our children’s future.”

Ballots for the Board of Education election and the school district’s budget must be received by the district on June 9 by 5 p.m.

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