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Four Vie for Katonah-Lewisboro School Board Seats

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – When Katonah-Lewisboro School District voters go to the polls on Tuesday, May 15, they will have a choice among four candidates to fill two seats on the school board. The top two vote-getters will be named to the board.

Here are profiles for each board candidate:

Stephanie Tobin

Tobin and her husband have lived in Waccabuc for the past 14 years. They have four children, a son and daughter in John Jay High School, a daughter in John Jay Middle School and a daughter at Increase Miller Elementary.

Tobin, a stay-at-home mom, was previously an equity derivatives trader. She has a degree from Boston College’s School of Management with a concentration in accounting and computer science.

“I was recruited to run for the school board by an existing board member,” she said. “Family, friends and a teacher all highly encouraged me when they heard I was considering it. When this particular teacher told me that parents who care about academic excellence must make their voices heard, I felt compelled to at least try and be that representative.”

Tobin said having four children in the school district spread over all three levels of education makes her an ideal board candidate.

“It provides me with daily knowledge of what is actually being taught in their classrooms,” she said. “This first-hand experience is my greatest asset.”

Tobin said her campaign platform is summed up in four words: curriculum, teachers, accountability and fiscal responsibility. She believes the biggest challenge facing the district is the structural deficit.

“I support the 2012-13 KLSD budget,” she adds. “I am satisfied that it is a fiscally responsible budget with minimal impact on educational programs.”

Marjorie Schiff

Schiff and her husband have lived in Pound Ridge for seven years. They have a son in Meadow Pond Elementary and a daughter in nursery school.

The Long Island native has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. from the University of Michigan. Schiff said that when she attended the superintendent’s presentation of the proposed budget in February, she recognized the extent to which new financial and demographic challenges and state mandates would “require collaborative and careful strategic planning.”

“I can help the district balance competing priorities, facilitate productive discussion across constituencies and implement thoughtful plans,” she said. “I will bring relevant professional experience to the board.”

Schiff said that as an undergraduate dean of admissions for Duke and the University of Virginia, she evaluated applications from Westchester County high school students. As a strategic planner for the University of Virginia, she worked with diverse and conflicting constituencies to complete a significant university project that came in on time and $11 million under budget.

“The primary challenge facing the district is to maintain educational excellence within the constraints of growing mandatory budgetary commitments and to mitigate those budgetary commitments where possible,” she said.

Schiff said she characterizes the proposed budget as responsible and will vote for it.

Richard Delin

Delin and his wife have lived in South Salem for 14 years. They have three children – a son who graduated from JJHS two years ago and now attends SUNY Binghamton, a son who is graduating JJHS this year and is going to SUNY Binghamton, and a daughter who is entering JJHS next year.

A graduate of Stony Brook University, Delin is in the medical equipment and consulting business.

“I’ve been considering running for school board for many years, and the pivotal moment for me was the change in superintendent,” he said. “I believe that with the coming union contract negotiations there is an opportunity for positive change and that Dr. Kreutzer was an excellent choice for superintendent.”

Delin said he is experienced working within a group to come to consensus and would bring the perspective of both a taxpayer and parent to the board.

“My twin goals are to try to stabilize, if not lower, taxes, and also to continue the high level of education that we offer in this district and which we have come to appreciate,” he said.

Delin said the biggest challenge the district faces is how to maintain a top-quality school district during a time of financial constraint.

“I support the budget and the capital improvement resolution,” he said. “The board did an excellent job of keeping all the educational programs while staying within the new tax cap.”

Mindy Yanish

Note: Yanish did not respond to repeated requests by The Daily Lewisboro to fill out a candidate profile questionnaire or provide an interview. The following information came from a recent school board candidate forum.

Yanish lives in Katonah and has two daughters in the school district – one in middle school and one in high school. She said her love for the community is the primary reason she’s running.

“I want to contribute in any way possible,” she said. “I would not be successful without the gifted educators I’ve had in my life.”

Yanish said she believes the educational experience should be more than just academics.

“Our graduation rates are high but our kids’ sense of belonging is not,” she said.

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