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Edgemont SBNC Endorses Candidates for School Board

Here is a letter from members of the Edgemont School Board Nominating Committee: Dear Edgemont Resident: This year, there are four open seats on the Board of Education, for which five candidates were nominated by members of the community. The School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC) interviewed all five candidates. As members of the SBNC, we appreciate that all five candidates participated in this rigorous process, and we are pleased to have endorsed the following four candidates: incumbents Tom McCormack and Gerry Stoughton, and David Chao and David Stern. We are writing now to ask you to support the four SBNC Endorsed Candidates at the election on May 18.

All four endorsed candidates are active members of our community, and all care deeply about it. Many of you already know them from their involvement in our schools and school related organizations, including Edgemont Rec, the Edgemont School Foundation, PTA programs, and the School District’s Citizens Budget and Long Range Planning Committees. In addition, they have a history of civic involvement within our community as well as beyond it, and they all bring valuable experience gained from their participation on other boards.

Incumbent Tom McCormack is a litigator and managing partner at a major international law firm; he is a graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law School. Incumbent Gerry Stoughton heads a Financial Analysis division at a major public authority; he is a graduate of Columbia University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Both McCormack and Stoughton are in their third year on the Board of Education, and are seeking re-election for a second term. Both have amply demonstrated their capabilities during their time on the School Board, as has David Chao in his prior service on the School Board. David Chao works on special projects in the financial services industry; he is a graduate of Dartmouth College. David Stern runs a management consulting firm that provides strategic and financial direction to various non-profit and for-profit organizations; he is a graduate of Yale University and Yale’s School of Management. We are thrilled to have endorsed four candidates who bring such a wealth of talent and skills to the table. Their expertise will be instrumental in managing both the short-term and long-term needs of our School District.

The Board of Education is a crucial link in the chain of teachers, programs, administrators, staff and dedicated parents that support our School District, and the mission of the SBNC is to select from among qualified candidates those individuals who, in the Committee’s judgment, can best serve the School District’s needs. Edgemont’s SBNC is made up of volunteers nominated and elected by members from each of the civic associations as well as a high school representative. The SBNC is charged with interviewing and endorsing candidates for the School Board. As SBNC members we are required to attend School Board meetings and to be informed about school matters so that we can conduct a thorough interview and make an informed recommendation about a candidate. It is a time consuming process, but one that has served our community well by providing an intensive vetting process for selecting School Board candidates.

We believe the four SBNC endorsed candidates, incumbents Tom McCormack and Gerry Stoughton, and David Chao and David Stern, will best serve the needs of our School District as a whole and will maintain a diverse and balanced School Board which includes Michaeline Curtis, Wasim Salimi and Lisa Wexler. We hope you will support the endorsed candidates by voting for them on May 18.

Please feel free to contact us or SBNC Chair, Michelle McNally, if you have any questions, and please feel free to share this letter with other Edgemont residents.

Edgemont School Board Nominating Committee Members

Kim Aslanian Adam Bench Marshall Donner Liz Kaufman Linda Lorch
Mark Romney Domingos Romualdo Robert Rosenberg Deborah Schenfeld
Nancy Shifren Gary Stern Catherine Woods

Tzelios Running for Edgemont School Board

Dear Friends and Neighbors: My name is Caroline Tzelios. Currently, I am the Co-President of the Edgemont High School PTSA and I am honored that I have been nominated to run for the Edgemont Board of Education. I think my extensive volunteering over the past 11 years at both the Greenville Elementary School and at the Junior-Senior High School has allowed me to develop a unique understanding of the outstanding Edgemont school system -- what its strengths are and where opportunities lie -- a perspective that would make me invaluable as a BOE member. I have been called a "PTA mom," and I view this as an asset for the BOE as I will bring a different point of view and different skill set to the table, enabling the Board to be a truer representation of the community and its opinions.

Being a stay-at-home PTA mom of three children has enabled me to learn about and experience our school district firsthand -- both its academics and extra-curricular activities -- and it is because of the passion I have for maintaining this school district's excellence that I am pursuing a position on the BOE. As PTSA Co-President and Chair of a variety of school committees, I have developed relationships with the school administrators, teachers, and staff. It has allowed me to become intimately familiar and have a true understanding of the academic curriculum, the extra-curricular programs at the schools, and the concerns and needs of the teachers, the administrators, the parents and most importantly, the students themselves. I have also served as a member of the district-wide Wellness Committee for the past four years and previously served as the President of the Longview Civic Association.

If I am elected to the BOE, the school board will be my top priority. Serving on the school board is not a part-time job. I believe that it requires a high level of day-to-day involvement to really be effective and to provide a constructive leadership role. I am available to speak with residents, parents, teachers, administrators, and even students throughout the day and attend all the various school events. In order to make the best decisions for the schools and the students, I believe you truly have to immerse yourself in the school system and that is what I have done for the past 11 years and what I intend to continue to do next year.

In these tough times, the Edgemont Board of Education faces exceptionally difficult financial decisions as they strive to keep the school tax increases as low as possible. I have demonstrated my financial astuteness by optimizing an increasingly limited PTSA budget. In tough times, we have had less to work with so I understand the challenge of doing more with less. However it is vital for the Board to evaluate each decision from the perspective of what is best for our students. Financial hard times will come and go (they always have) but what is imperative is that the school district does the best it can with the resources it has for each child every single year. I will bring that balance of financial astuteness and direct knowledge of our academic and extra-curricular programs to the Board of Education when making tough decisions over the next few years.

Additionally I am proud to be a Greenville Elementary School parent, and the current 6 members of the Edgemont Board of Education are all parents of current or former Seely Place Elementary School students. I strongly believe Edgemont should have a balanced Board with representation from all three schools, as diversity is essential to any effective board. In this era, diversity of representation on boards is viewed as an asset; studies have shown diverse boards to be more effective and corporations and non-profit organizations set policies to achieve such diversity.

Prior to staying home to raise my three children, I worked in marketing at Oxford University Press and as an Assistant Treasurer in the Mutual Funds Department at The Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A. I have an undergraduate degree in Business from the College of Mt. St. Vincent and a master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University. I have lived in Edgemont with my family since 1995 and look forward to many more years of volunteering for the Edgemont schools and community.

I give 110% to everything I do and I pledge that, if I am elected on May 18th to the Edgemont Board of Education, I will work hard, listen to all your concerns and issues, and be fair when making the tough decisions that will be necessary in the years to come while always keeping in mind what is best for all our children. I hope you will vote for me on May 18th. I would love to hear your thoughts about the schools, about the Board of Education, and my candidacy ... I am always available. Please feel free to email me at

Thank you,
Caroline Tzelios

Weinberg Nature Center Director Dismissed

Something dismaying was announced last week in Scarsdale. After twenty four years, Walter Terrell, Executive Director for the Weinberg is being let go. Why Walter? Why that position? The Weinberg Nature Center is a Scarsdale gem, an oasis of green space, a place of education and imagination. It is Walter's vision and dedication that have allowed the Weinberg Nature Center to thrive on a shoestring. Though there are other wonderful staff members, they all look to Walter for guidance and inspiration.

Now is the time to be investing in the environment and sustainability. The young people of today will renew our planet, and live and work in a world where theory and practice about conservation have to align. Walter teaches our community of children all about the natural world and sparks their curiosity.

My 6th grade son volunteers at the Nature Center. He was welcomed and treated with the greatest respect from the interview through his weekly experiences there. Walter sees children as people, and takes the time to share his vast knowledge about the natural world, and all that goes on in the Nature Center. He is patient and detailed, and has encouraged an interest of my son’s that might get squelched in an area that values other things so much. Walter validates my son’s love of nature every day and is teaching him to teach, too. Bottom line, is this really the right decision for our community? I don’t think so, and I hope many others agree.

Lauri Carey
Paddington Road

Bronx River Path Marred By Sewage

There is a terrible problem on the beautiful pathway alongside the Bronx river parkway in Scarsdale. I think it is important to let as many people know about this health hazard. There is raw sewage sitting in the field and running into the Bronx River. The white you see in the photos is used toilet paper.

Thank you for your assistance in spreading the word.

Audrey Castiglione

Seniors Deserve a Break

Spring Break trips have been a tradition for seniors here in Scarsdale. Some view it as a rite of passage and others see it as a time to let loose free from the pressure of homework or college admissions. Either way, all the seniors know that their time at Scarsdale High School is running out and many want to mark this milestone with a celebration.

Seniors often go to beach destinations – the Bahamas in particular. Part of the appeal of the Bahamas is that the legal drinking age there is 18, so seniors who are of age can drink. The seniors who are underage usually find a way around it because rules are more relaxed in the Bahamas. The Bahamas embrace the influx of seniors and has clubs to attract them, increasing the appeal of the Bahamas as a Spring Break destination. However, the relaxed nature of the Bahamas isn’t really safe. Some seniors get caught up in the excitement and get out of control, make mistakes, and get in trouble. School Administrators highlight these few cases in an attempt to dissuade parents from permitting their kids go on Spring Break.

While a few get out of control, the majority of seniors manage to make good decisions and still have fun. The quintessential senior Spring Break doesn’t necessarily have to include going to the Bahamas, tanning by day, and getting so drunk you make bad decisions at night. In fact, only a very small percentage of the nearly half the senior class who went on a Spring Break vacation got into trouble.

This April, when seniors grudgingly returned to school after vacation, people reacted to this year’s set of unfortunate events from Spring Break. The call for “alternative Spring Break” has emerged, where seniors would do a service project instead of hitting the clubs and the beach. Critics of Spring Break argue that the time and money spent on trips where bad behavior occurs would be better directed to a positive, fun, and rewarding community service experience. While I think that’s a great idea, I don’t think advocates of alternative Spring Break can expect that seniors will drop the idea of relaxing on the beach and enjoying piña coladas in favor of a community service alternative. It’s not likely that beach trips will be abandoned because underclassmen look forward to the day when it will be their turn to board the plane to the beach.

That being said, critics of the out-of-control Spring Break trips should start with a more subtle approach – encouraging those who decide on beach destinations to pick a safer area, perhaps Florida, and encourage kids to keep the focus on relaxing and enjoying the company of friends rather than drinking. There are so many seniors who went to the Bahamas or Florida and stayed in control that it is not fair for critics of Spring Break to say that all Spring Break trips end in trouble or mistakes.

Spring Break trips can really go two ways. Students can drink too much and get in trouble or, the break can be a time to relax, free of the pressure of college admission and the competition at Scarsdale High School. Most trips are the latter and only a few abuse the privilege and get out of control.

I believe that seniors deserve a break after four years of hard work, demanding teachers and schedules. Letting loose on Spring Break doesn’t have to mean abusing alcohol. Seniors can still go to the beach, get tan, enjoy the occasional strawberry daiquiri and enjoy some innocent fun.

Melissa Tucker is a sophomore at Scarsdale High School