There are two vacant seats on the East Quogue Board of Education. Incumbent Joseph Tsaveras is running for another term. He will face off against newcomers Dianna Gobler and Carrie Bender.
Ralph Naglieri, who was first elected to the board in 2009, will not seek reelection.
Polls will be open on Tuesday, May 21, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the East Quogue School gymnasium off Central Avenue.
Dianna Gobler, 40, a research scientist at Stony Brook University, has lived in East Quogue for seven years. She and her husband, Chris Gobler, have three children in the district, Sarah, 11, Abby, 10, and Luke, 4.
She said that running for the board is something she long considered. “I decided to run because I am whole-heartedly dedicated to the future of the East Quogue community,” she explained. “I feel in our town there are three cornerstones: main street, natural resources and our school, and I think if any one of those starts to decline, our whole community can suffer.”
Ms. Gobler said she hoped to help maintain academic excellence at the school, especially given the difficult financial constraints the school faces. She added that she is interested in getting involved with the district’s state legislators to address some of the mandates and laws that negatively affect the school.
“I don’t feel that the position just affects our school, it also affects our entire community,” she said. “I feel that East Quogue is really a gem on Long Island, and I would love to play a part in any of the decision-making that would help keep it that way for a long time.”
Ms. Gobler received her doctorate in molecular biology from Stony Brook in 2001. She also serves on the East Quogue Beautification Committee, and she is very active in fundraising for the East Quogue PTA. In addition, she helps run the East Quogue School Ocean Explorers program during the summer.
Carrie Bender, 38, is seeking a first term on the board. Ms. Bender, who teaches social studies at Westhampton Beach High School, has 12-year-old twins, Christopher and Emma. She is a lifelong East Quogue resident and a graduate of the school.
She said her first-hand knowledge of the issues the students and educators face make her a good candidate for the board. “I value the future of public education,” she said.
Ms. Bender added that if elected, she hopes to find “creative ways to work with the school community as a whole in order to continue the integration of technology so that students can acquire the 21st century skills that are necessary to be successful, while at the same time staying within the mandated tax cap.”
She is the director of the local PAL girls lacrosse program, which serves 108 children, as well as a coach for both girls and boys lacrosse. Ms. Bender also coaches Hampton Youth Athletic League boys basketball.
Joseph Tsaveras, 43, has served on the East Quogue Board of Education for six years. He is the principal of Greenport Elementary School, and lives in East Quogue with his wife and two children, who both attend the East Quogue School, though he declined to share their names and ages.
Over the past six years, he and the board have accomplished many goals, he said. They were able to secure a discounted tuition rate for the first time ever for East Quogue students who attend the Westhampton Beach School District, an initiative that he said would save taxpayer money.
He and the board were also able to work closely with the Southampton Town Police Department to increase school safety by enhancing the safety plan and making improvements to security, he said. In addition, the board was able to purchase a parcel of land adjacent to the school without increasing taxes, and it has upgraded the district’s math and reading programs to meet the new state standards.
He said he recognized that the biggest issue the school faces is the budget, and he said a few initiatives that could help are grants and partnering with businesses, as well as exploring the possibility of sharing services with other districts.
Mr. Tsaveras has also coached Little League and Hampton Youth Athletic League basketball for the past seven years.