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Three Candidates for Two BOE Seats

Three candidates are running for two open seats on the Glen Cove Board of Education. They provided the following statements about their background, qualifications and the goals driving them to campaign.

Grady Farnan

I am a lifelong resident of Glen Cove and graduate of GCHS 1980. I was Jr. Class VP; Student Senate president; Superintendent Cup 1979 Football; captain, Varsity Lacrosse; mentor, Freshman Class and GC Chamber of Commerce Award 1980. I graduated from Adelphi University in 1984 with a BS in Business Administration and Finance. My father, Ben Farnan, was a teacher at Glenwood Landing and retired as an assistant superintendent in New Rochelle. My mother, Joan, was a nurse at Connolly School. My brothers, Kelly and Logan, have children in the district. My wife, Camille, is a school volunteer. My daughters, Remi, Gillian and Shelbie are all enrolled in the district. 

I am a director of property and marine insurance with Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance. I was recruited to promote quality insurance products, customer service and compliance for all lines of insurance policies. The company is rated A++. I have 23 years of experience in insurance. I coached several city athletic sporting teams; founding father and current treasurer of GC Junior Lacrosse; Community Scholarship chairman for High School Seniors; head usher at St. Patrick’s Church; member at YMCA; former delegate chair Nassau County Girl Scouts; Cookie Dad Troop 1243 and once candidate for the Glen Cove City Council.

My family and strong community relationships in conjunction with career experiences would offer positive and productive qualifications for the school board. My experience in insurance will be effective in providing continued safe and strong school buildings; fields; health and well-being of our personnel. The quality of the education in Glen Cove is top-notch! I am especially impressed with the diversity of the educational programs our district has to offer from the honors, special education courses, home and careers, music and arts.

The single most important issue the district is facing is passing our budget. The financial support from the state is a major roadblock with a shortfall of 11.22 percent in aid. Our board will need to continue to explore all common sense solutions on saving this budget. They should petition our elected leaders in the state Senate and Assembly to assist in obtaining any available grants and our local City Hall to partner on sharing maintenance and services. 

The board continues to promote to the public the proven school’s reputation for providing a quality curriculum and after-school programs to its students. Many of our graduating students are accepted to the universities and trade fields based on this fact. The board also promotes the great success of the music, drama and arts departments. There has been a growing support and popularity of the strings program that was spearheaded by a board member. Our Booster Club recently presented their plans to build a new “All Sport” concession stand. This will enable treats to be served to several of our fields. Many of the 600 employees employed in our district have a good working relationship with the board. I will be available for any concerns, questions and productive comments from our supporting public to be discussed and answered in a positive way.  

Roni Jenkins

Many of you know me because I may have coached your child on Glen Cove’s Junior Softball or Cheerleading teams, through the PTA, working together on the Diabetes Research Institute Committee or chatting during coffee hour at church. In addition to being a Glen Cove school alum (class of ’86), a mom with three young kids in our schools (third generation in my family to attend our schools), and a homeowner, I have 15+ years experience managing annual advertising budgets in excess of $60 million for Fortune 500 clients at two of the largest ad agencies in the world; and I have negotiated multi-year/ multi-million dollar contracts with large Internet publishers such AOL, Google, Yahoo, and MSN on behalf of those clients.

Like every town and city across the U.S., Glen Cove is being faced with tough decisions about our public school budgets in these difficult economic times. The single biggest issue is property owners’ reluctance to tax increases. There is a perception among many in the community that the school budgets are not managed effectively and that the school board is not listening to their concerns. We must do a better job of communicating how we’re allocating the budgets and provide more transparency by publishing the budget details and making it readily available to the general public.

In addition to economic challenges, Glen Cove is faced with the incredibly important job of hiring several key administrators, including the school superintendent. The most important criteria to look for in choosing a superintendent is leadership. A great leader inspires and motivates others to excel. Our superintendent must inspire trust and be able to communicate a vision of quality education and have the effective communication skills to work cooperatively with all parties. He or she must advance the image of the district, work with businesses and other stakeholder groups, and integrate himself/herself into the community. I personally have built and managed teams of more than 25 people and have years of experience in hiring and interviewing job candidates. That experience will be very helpful to the board as it seeks to find the best candidate.

My extensive background in both finance and marketing would be a tremendous asset to the board in helping to communicate the budget recommendations and in hiring these key roles. I am the only board candidate with an extensive background in these fields and would be a tremendous complement to our current board’s list of expertise. My community volunteer work speaks for itself; as an active volunteer community member, including serving as Gribbin School’s PTA treasurer and current president, I have had the opportunity to listen and work with parents, teachers, and the administration on issues impacting our children. I have spoken to local community leaders and teachers about the challenges they face in this tough economic environment. I try to stay current with national educational issues, and think it is important to look outside our district and learn from others who have successfully faced similar challenges. We cannot afford to sit back and accept the status quo.

I have the leadership, financial skills, dedication, and passion to be an effective board member. And I promise that your concerns will not fall on deaf ears!

On May 18, I urge you to vote YES for me, Roni Jenkins, for the Board of Education. For more information, please visit www.voteronijenkins.com.

Ida McQuair

I received my BBA in Accounting from Hofstra and an MS in Education (Mathematics grades 7-12) from C.W. Post. For 8 years I was an auditor for the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche, interacting with management and auditing the books and records for both the public and private sector.

I have utilized my master’s in mathematics education by doing several leave replacements in this district and at Friend’s Academy. I have been a private Regents and non-Regents math tutor for the past 6 years.

I was elected to the BOE in 2007, subsequently serving as vice president and now as president. My accounting and educational background coupled with my board service have provided me with the tools to promote sound fiscal policy without sacrificing our children’s educational needs.

One of the most important issues this district faces is the amount of state aid from Albany. Previously, this district could count on this money when formulating a budget. The current uncertainty in the amount of state aid makes it very difficult to formulate a budget that does not sacrifice the educational needs of our children.

This and the unique burden placed on the district to refund school tax certioraris must be resolved. We are the only district in the state that is required to budget and refund its own certioraris. In all other districts, the refund to the taxpayer is paid by the county.

Residents are strapped paying for the refunds of this district while also paying for the refunds of other districts through their county taxes. Money allocated in our budget for school tax refunds should be used toward furthering the education of our children. Our district and residents need to lobby the city, county and state to change this inequitable law for the better of residents and students.

Regarding policy, over the past three years I have been involved in many opportunities to create and amend policy concerning employee accountability, student safety and educational issues. All trustees must familiarize themselves with education law in order to create effective policy.

In the budget arena, I used to make a living auditing balance sheets and income statements for multi-billion dollar organizations. I am currently on the audit committee and interact with all of the districts’ accountants. We speak the same language and I actually love this part of my job.

On education, I have worked toward improving the honors program and making it available to more students. There are many other programs that I hope to initiate.

The quality of education the district provides is very good but there is always room for improvement. Administrators and teachers have done an excellent job of implementing Readers and Writers workshop in the elementary schools. The improvements in ELA and Math exams prove it. However, there is more to improve, like overall performance on AP exams and the SATs, and sports programs in conjunction with academic programs that result in more college scholarships.

I am a positive person, seeking the good even in the most upsetting situations. If more of us did that we would see a better public perception of our schools. No district is perfect. We could spend all the money in the world to promote ourselves, but we need the community on board, being the leaders in spreading the good word. We really have a great deal of good news to spread and be proud about.