I am a candidate for the New Rochelle Board of Education, and I am asking for your vote on Line #4 on election day, Tuesday, May 18.
WHY I AM RUNNING
I am deeply concerned with the steady dissipation of institutional memory in our district leadership and the instability at the top. By the end of the current school year, there will be no one on the school board with more than 4 years of board service, there is no one in the cabinet with more than 3 years experience in the district and if a new Superintendent is hired, that person will become the 7th Superintendent in 7 years.
The lack of stability and institutional memory is deeply disconcerting to me. I firmly believe you cannot know where you are headed if you do not know where you have been and how you got to where you are.
I have more than 30 years experience in the school community: more than two decades of my children enrolled in the school district; more than 13 years of actively attending school board meetings and covering the district as a reporter; and the last 5 years serving on several important district committees, I have actively participated in hundreds of school board meetings since my first in 2008, years before any current board member.
I believe my institutional memory can be a useful resource for board colleagues, district administrators, parents, teachers and the broader school community.
I believe my extensive business management experience combined with my knowledge of the school community is needed on the Board now more than ever.
I do not intend to engage in fundraising so will not put up lawn signs or otherwise spend money campaigning. Given that you can help me by sharing this article and my campaign image (above) on social media and email, and talking me up to your friends and family. The election impacts two-thirds of property taxes, 10,000+ children, 1,700+ teachers and staff and the future of our community; be sure to remind everyone you know to mark their calendar: Tuesday, May 18 is the school budget and school board election.
I want to thank those who signed my petition including former New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Linda Kelly, former Board of Education Members Deidre Polow and Nadine Wallace, former New Rochelle Athletic Director Mario Scarano, New Rochelle Council Member Joe Fosina of Youth Tackle of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Veterans Advisory Committee President Brett Morash, New Rochelle City Council Member Albert Tarantino as well as the many moms and dads of New Rochelle students and teachers, voters from the North, South, East and West End, folks of various races, ethnicities and creeds, political persuasions, sexual orientations, disabled and non-disabled, young and less young, for supporting my candidacy and helping put me on the ballot.
A BIT ABOUT ME
While I figure many voters know about me from Talk of the Sound many may not know I have been active in the school community for the better part of two decades serving in various youth sports programs, school district committees, attending hundreds of school events and more.
My wife, who I ought to mention is Hispanic and grew up in New Rochelle, has been a special educator in New Rochelle for more than 20 years, much of that time as a bi-lingual evaluator for Spanish-speaking youngsters. We raised our four children in New Rochelle. They all went through the public school system, graduated from New Rochelle High School and went on to top colleges.
As a parent, I know how good the New Rochelle schools can be, including some terrific administrators, teachers, support professionals, and service-related professionals.
MY COMMITTEE WORK FOR THE DISTRICT
Over the past five years I have served and led various school committees, including serving on the only two state-mandated committees with statutory authority in New York State: the SAVE Law Team (security) and the RESCUE Law Committee (facilities). I brought about my idea for a Citizen’s Advisory Committee on the Budget — and developed many of the recommendations contained in the CAC’s final reports (2011-2012, 2012-2013)
District-Wide Health and Safety (RESCUE)
Green Ribbon Schools
RESCUE Sub-Committee on Campus School
District-Wide School Security (SAVE)
I was appointed to and retained on these committees by a succession of Superintendents. I was asked to co-chair three of these committees by my colleagues on these committees.
In my leadership role on various committees, I have had shared oversight responsibility on school construction under the $106.5mm bond passed by voters in 2016 which has resulted in upgrading our schools from 100% “unsatisfactory” ratings in 2016 to a projected 100% “satisfactory” rating in 2022; developing exciting new technologies that will empower all members of the school community to report and track issues with our school buildings on their smartphone; developing criteria to select a “forever home” for the alternative high school; and writing a complex application for a New York State — U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Award for an elementary school.
In leading committee discussions, I make it a point to ensure every voice that wishes to be heard is heard: committee members, guest speakers, parents, teachers, and members of the public. I am skilled at bringing those discussions to a decision point and guiding the committee to reach a conclusion.
I have served with A/S Presidents Melissa Passarelli, and Joseph Starvaggi before her. I have served with FUSE Presidents Mary Breslin, and Marty Daly before her as well as FUSE SRP Vice President Billy Coleman and FUSE Vice President Aisha Cook. I have served with PTA Council members Roland Rogers and Mary Monzon. I have served with Board members Rachel Relkin, Mattali Attalah, Amy Moselhi and William Ianuzzi. I have served with City Manager Charles B. Strome, Deputy Police Commissioner Robert Gazzola and Fire Department Captain Barry Nechis.
As an effective leader on these committees, I know how much hard work is put in by building leaders, union leaders, PTA Council members, Board members and City officials.
MY COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
As an involved New Rochelle resident and parent, I have devoted significant time to the community.
I ran a youth soccer program, coached girl’s softball and boy’s baseball. I worked with organizations like SEPTA and Young Israel to greatly expand expanded accommodative youth sports programming for children with specific needs such as developmentally disabled, special needs, religiously observant, and ELL.
I have given my time and resources to develop and manage numerous community websites and social media platforms including for the NAACP New Rochelle Branch, the Chamber of Commerce of New Rochelle, and Habitat for Humanity for Westchester. I have been an instructor at the New Rochelle Public Library teaching a course on social media and web-based publishing.
I was born in Washington, DC and raised in Northern Virginia and Westchester County. I lived for several years in Chicago.
I attended public schools in Irvington until 8th grade. I graduated from Iona Prep. I received my B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and my M.B.A. in Business Strategy and Economics from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Before moving full-time into journalism, I worked as a corporate banker, foreign exchange trader and bond trader for large financial institutions and as a capital markets strategy consultant in North America, Europe, and Asia. I consulted to venture capital firms and ran several technology start-ups in the United States and the North American office for an Israeli software company. I first went into the media when I consulted to the CEO of one of the oldest and largest multinational media companies in the world.
I had a regular column in a major DC newspaper and edited a political blog for a national magazine. I wrote for a number of major media outlets. I have made countless public appearances over the years on radio and television programs, been featured for my work in stories in major media outlets, been a guest speaker at media and technology industry conferences and was a guest lecturer at colleges and universities across the country. I managed media credentialing for two Presidential Candidate Forums on issues of concern for people of color: Howard University and Morgan State University.
I launched Talk of the Sound in 2008 to provide the residents of New Rochelle with the sort of media attention the 7th largest city in New York State deserved. The site has become the “go to” source for news and information about New Rochelle and a source for every major media outlet in the New York area.
A few highlights of my reporting on the school district:
If you would like to reach my campaign manager, Zeke the English Bull Terrier, or me, call us or text 914-325-4616 or same via Signal, DM @robertcox or email at email@example.com.
FUSE CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
WHATEVER YOU DO, GO VOTE
You may request an absentee ballot.
The absentee ballot application must be received by the district clerk not later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11 otherwise it may be personally delivered to the district clerk not later than 5 p.m. on Monday, May 17. The completed ballot itself must be received by the school district clerk by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18 to be canvassed.
You may vote in person
Tuesday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There are 13 polling places for school elections; note they are not the same as for a Presidential election.
MLK Community Center
New Rochelle High School
Albert Leonard Middle School
Isaac E. Young Middle School
New Rochelle Fire Station #1
570 Fifth Avenue
If you are not sure where you vote you can look up your street address in the Election Street Directory Guide or call the School Clerk.
For that information or any questions about voting, contact Ms. Millie Bonilla, Clerk & Secretary to the Board of Education at City Hall by telephone (914) 576-4219 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org