Written by Joe Rizza Tuesday, 23 June 2009 11:38
The Mineola School District has undergone a lot of changes over the past nine years, but the one thing that has remained constant was the service of Steve Siwinski. Since 2001, Siwinski has served on the board, but decided not to run for re-election and to retire from the volunteer position.
A school board trustee is perhaps the most thankless elected office there is. You leave yourself open for criticism, you spend hours at meetings and poring over written material and have to face angry community members who clamor for lower taxes and this is all for no pay. However, the job does have a great reward in that your decisions have an effect on the youth of the community not only now but in the future.
“There’s a lot of times where you have to go to a meeting where personally you don’t want to, but you have to because that’s your duty to the voting public,” Siwinski said. “But overall it’s been very rewarding. We never realized the lives we’ve changed. Everything we’ve done improved the school system for anybody going through it.”
Siwinski leaves after nine years of service. There were some difficult times on the board, but through it all, he remained a person who would communicate with the public and with his fellow board members while doing his best to make sure the students of the district had the best education possible.
“We had a plan involving the improvement of the school district and I think we’re there,” he said. “We could have gotten a little bit further but with all that’s happened in the last year or two years, it’s been kind of a distraction. But I feel [good] that at least we got to where we are and the school district and the whole culture there is totally different than it was nine years ago.”
Siwinski’s retirement from the board means he will have more time to spend with his wife Maryann. The couple has a daughter, Casey, who is a student at Mineola High School, and a son Matthew, who graduated. Siwinski will also have more time to root on the New York Mets since he will no longer have to miss Thursday night games because of board of education meetings.