Each year in May, the Mount Vernon city school district elects three school board trustees for a three-year term. The board of trustees consists of 9 members. This year’s election will take place on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017. This year’s candidates Arlene Torres, Israel Williams and Stanley Russo, will challenge incumbents Omar McDowell, Darcy Miller and affordable housing developer, Edward Poteat.
School Board President Lesly Zamor announced in his personal capacity he endorses Torres, Williams, and Russo are endorsed by him and the majority of the board of trustees. President Zamor says” Having supported Trustees Miller and McDowell 3 years ago, and helping to run their campaigns, I know their capacity and competency as board members. They are both good people who have organized a wellness day, backpack giveaways, along with book fairs for the district. However, we need trustees that can add more substance, make meetings, and get the hard work done. Trustee McDowell missed as many meetings as he attended this year. I understand that he has personal commitments and cannot serve at full capacity. However, our district is undergoing a big turn around, and therefore we need professionals with competency to fill key roles on the board of trustees. “
Arlene Torres is currently the General Counsel at Concordia College where she provides guidance on legal issues and ensures regulatory compliance.
“As a graduate of a public school system, I believe all children should have access to resources which will prepare them for academic, social and professional success. I am motivated by the recent improvements initiated by the Mount Vernon Board of Education and welcome the opportunity to contribute my skills towards the ongoing school reform efforts. It is essential that we encourage our young children to strive for excellence and introduce the prospects of a college education at an early age. I will promote community engagement at all levels and develop relationships with colleges and the Mount Vernon schools in order to provide the necessary college exposure to our students.”
Israel Williams is a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon and a product of the Mount Vernon city school district. He attended Adelphi University before returning back to this community where he has owned and operated a small business for the past 12 years. Mr. Williams currently serves as the Mount Vernon Girls Junior Varsity basketball coach where he inspires his young scholars and challenges them to meet their full potential.
“I want to join the board of trustees to support the district’s strategic plan for academic success and to ensure that we educate all of our students to their fullest potential by closing the achievement gap and developing an effective plan to improve student performance. As a board member, I will provide and support new and innovative ideas, bring fresh energy, professional accountability, equity, courage, and action! I will partner with the community to help build stronger, more trusting relationships with parents, teachers, students, and staff in our district. I will find ways to improve reading skills, test scores, and graduation rates. I will always be fully engaged and accessible to members of the community to make a positive difference to help unleash our student’s true ability to perform on a higher level.”
Stanley Russo currently manages the Tax Certiorari division at a prominent New York City law firm where he also manages accounts payable, accounts receivable, and performs financial analysis, audits and budgeting for cooperatives, corporations and condominium boards.
“I would like to join the board of trustees to ensure that the district is in better financial health to enable them to provide and maintain a quality educational program and environment in which to educate our children. I am a detailed and meticulous professional who has a knack for organization and finances. My experience will make me an invaluable board member with specific respects to financial matters and budgeting. Also, my young daughter will attend Mount Vernon public schools. I want to make sure that she, and all students, have the resources to allow them to achieve greatness, and contribute back to our community. I believe that education is the primary driving force that can lead to success and advancement. We owe it to our children to ensure that they have the best opportunity to achieve the success that they deserve.”
Mr. Zamor says “We were the architects of this renaissance and have led with great care and insight. Three of our members, Adriane Saunders, Rosemarie Jarosz and Serigne Gningue were part of the group back then that voted in Superintendent Hamilton. Trustee Miller’s record shows that she did not vote for Dr. Hamilton, and Trustee McDowell was not on the board at that time. It is only fair to educate the public as to the record of the Trustees, so they can make decisions based on facts.”
Mount Vernon children will soon enjoy all of the benefits that a strong and healthy school district has to offer, while taxpayers will see great stewardship of their tax dollars and enjoy rising property values- and we can all celebrate that!