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Palisades School District School Director Region 2

4 YR TERM. A school board is a legislative body of citizens called school directors, who are elected locally by their fellow citizens and who serve as the governing body of each public school district. Each board consists of nine members who serve four-year terms of office. Unlike most other elected officials, school directors receive no compensation for their work. Principal duties include appointing and/or dismissing superintendents, principals and teachers; levying school taxes; purchasing land; locating new buildings; adopting textbooks and courses of study; fixing salaries of teachers and other appointees of the Board.

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  • Candidate picture

    James D. Ott
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Cynthia Shain
    (Dem)

Información Biográfica

What concerns or issues prompted you to run for School Board, and how do you propose to address them?

Beyond your education and experience listed above, what makes you particularly qualified to perform the duties of a School Board Director?

What priority will you place on DEI training for district teachers and staff?

What, if anything, would you change about the current health and safety plan that has been implemented in your school district and what sources would inform your decision?

Experience 3.5 years currently on the Palisades school board ( in 1st term). Currently on the Riegelsville Cemetery board. I was a past leader in a local boy scout troop. (Eagle Scout).
Education B.S, Magna Cum Laude, M.S., & PhD, University of Maryland, Aerospace Engineering.
Email address drcaffeine99@gmail.com
Campaign Phone (610) 751-0347
There was no specific concern or issue that prompted me to re-run for school board, of which I have served one term to date. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be able to serve the community as a school board director, and I wish to continue to serve. Giving back to the community I feel is an integral part of being a good citizen. The goal of the school board has been and will always be to provide the best education to all the students in the district, while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. All students should receive a fair and unbiased education.

One major issue, exasperated by the current pandemic situation, is the amount to money being charged for students attending outside charter (cyber) schools. The district is required to reimburse the charter schools for their price per students, which ranges between $20K to 50K each, depending on the educational needs of the students. Palisades is potentially seeing an increase of around $1 Million for this expense.
Having already served four years on the school board, I have learned a great deal about how the board and school district operates. I have a child currently attending school, face-to-face in the district, and I own a home here. I understand the balance between education and taxpayer responsibilities.
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Experience I have worked in education for 25+ years. I have had the experience of being a teacher, an administrator, and a parent. I have been a small business bookkeeper for almost 20 years.
Education B.A. English, Minors History & Psychology. Quinnipiac University M.A. Education Lehigh University
Campaign Phone (267) 994-5589
The issues I’m hearing about are bullying, equity, and communication. Bullying is a complex issue best addressed proactively. Introducing a district wide Social/Emotional Learning curriculum is a great 1st step in establishing an anti-bullying climate in our schools. Our children have been through a lot in the past year, and such a curriculum would help meet post-pandemic needs as well. Palisades needs to provide a quality education for every child, regardless of the format (cyber/in person) or their individual needs. This is both an equity & a fiscal issue. Charter school enrollment was increasing before Covid hit. We need to look at our cyber and special ed. programs to bring families back to the district. The board can improve communication by moving to a video format, which allows face to face communication and document access to all participants. Minutes & recordings should be more easily accessible. All board members should commit to responding promptly to constituent concerns.
As an elected official, I think listening is one of the most important skills I can bring to the table. I am conscientious & measured in my approach to complicated issues. I am able to clearly articulate my viewpoints and work with diverse opinions to create satisfactory solutions. If I am elected, I will do my best to represent all members of our community. I will hold the interests of children, families, and taxpayers in the forefront of any decision I support. Thank you for your consideration.

There was a time when DEI wasn’t present in our public schools. Children were segregated by skin color, left handed children were routinely cracked across the knuckles, & children with learning disabilities were educated far away from typically developing children, if they were educated at all. We’ve come a long way since then, and continue to grow our school communities to include and value all children. Keeping teachers up to date on the latest research & best practices is an important part of the board's responsibility. I passionately support educating our teachers.
Making decisions that impact the health and safety of other people’s children is an enormous responsibility. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our district has made decisions based on guidance from the state and local health departments. I am not a medical professional. I support making healthcare decisions based on the guidance of people who are trained in public health.