Three Manorville residents are vying for two opens seats on the Eastport South Manor School District’s Board of Education on Tuesday, May 20.
Incumbents Donna Moeller and Patricia Harran are both seeking three-year terms while Stevenson Petit, who has already lost two prior bids for the board, is hoping that the third time is the charm for his campaign. He is looking to replace either Ms. Moeller or Ms. Harran on the seven-member board.
Polls will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday and district taxpayers can cast their ballots at the Eastport South Manor Junior-Senior High School, located off Moriches-Middle Island Road in Manorville, until 9 p.m.
Donna Moeller, 51, is running for her second three-year term on the Board of Education. She has three children, two of whom graduated from the high school while her youngest is set to graduate this June.
Employed as a nurse at the William Floyd Middle School in Moriches, Ms. Moeller said she has “thoroughly enjoyed” her first term on the board and hopes that residents give her more time to work with parents and students.
“I’m genuinely interested in people,” she said. “I believe my strength is that I have an open mind and a big personality.”
If reelected, Ms. Moeller said her top priorities over the next three years include staying on top of the budget and tracking the students who have taken accelerated and Advanced Placement courses. She explained that she is looking forward to reviewing their test results.
“I think we are surpassing other districts,” she said. “We have a great foundation academically and athletically, and I’d like to concentrate on continuing that momentum forward.”
Patricia Harran, 57, is running for her first full term on the board after her appointment last year following the sudden resignation of Janet Stevens.
Ms. Harran has two children—one is now attending college while the other is graduating next month from the high school. A full-time homemaker, Ms. Harran was previously employed as a nurse and earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Adelphi University.
A longtime member of the district’s Parent Teacher Student Organization, Ms. Harran said she wants to continue programs that focus on service projects, such as the “Stuff-A-Bus” clothing drive that is held during the holidays and the gardens that are overseen by younger students and benefit local food banks. “I want to continue helping the students contribute to society on a daily basis,” she said.
She said she thinks the district provides students with a well-rounded education and would like to see those programs continue.
As co-president of the PTSO, she helped coordinate the annual fashion show that raises money for scholarships for graduating seniors.
Stevenson Petit, 53, is making his third attempt to join the board after waging unsuccessful campaigns in 2012 and again in 2013. He said he is still seeking a seat because he believes that more can be done to open the lines of communication between board members, administrators and the community.
Boasting 19 years’ experience as a guidance counselor for the New York City Department of Education, Mr. Petit said his background in the field of education would be beneficial to the board.
“I understand how to educate kids and give them valuable tools to become valuable members of society,” he said.
Mr. Petit explained that he would like to see more of an open forum before the board votes on an issue, noting that parents and taxpayers should be able to weigh-in on those topics ahead of time. He is also concerned with school spending, and suggested that instead of giving staff members raises each year, the district should invest more in teacher workshops and building maintenance.