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Letters from Carl Finger, Max Roilson and John Spiro

letterBelow find letters from Carl Finger, Max Rolison and John Spiro in support of Alison Singer for School Board:

To the Editor:

Alison Singer’s qualifications for the Board of Education remain unequalled and even unchallenged in recent memory and she is uniquely qualified to serve a second term. As most of your readers know, Alison served two terms as Chair of Scarsdale CHILD, served on the SBNC, is Founder and President of the Autism Science Foundation, was appointed by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, and serves on the New York State Immunization Advisory Council (highly relevant presently). She has business experience and an MBA from Harvard, and just last year received an honorary doctoral degree from Emory, but just as importantly graduated two children from Scarsdale.

While I imagine that much of the experience above is known to the community, it occurs to me that her extraordinary performance on the Board is something less visible and more difficult to gauge for those not paying close attention. In that regard Alison truly deserves recognition and, with that in mind, the support of the community for a second term for a variety of reasons. Alison is keenly aware of the impact of all policy and administrative decisions on all students but always demonstrates a particular concern for those students with special needs or disabilities. Her ability to view decisions from that perspective benefits the Board, Administration, and all students. Alison works extremely hard to try to enhance communications with the community including responding to emails and has advocated for increasing the social media presence of the School District and the Board, including taking steps to address questions and concerns directly on various platforms.

Alison reaches out to administrators, faculty, teachers, and other staff to build the relationships necessary to successfully implement Board policies. Alison not only recognizes the partnerships necessary to reach our goals, but takes action in a way that demonstrates her commitment to the team effort required for success. She understands that the success of the Scarsdale District is an enterprise constructed upon many years of faithful relations among the Board, parents, administration, teachers, community, and students. But more than appreciating that, she seeks at every turn to enhance and build upon the foundation laid by prior Boards.

Alison’s voice can be found in everything accomplished by the Board the past several years, including the strategic plan, multiculturalism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, STEM, technology and other accomplishments. Her fingerprints appear on every Board policy that has been modified or adopted to improve the educational experience in Scarsdale, on every union contract that has been negotiated, and on every budget that has been adopted. There is no effort that the Board has successfully undertaken that Alison has not positively influenced.

Alison has my vote of confidence and my vote on election day. I hope she will have yours as well.

Carl L. Finger

(The author is a member of the Scarsdale Board of Education but this letter is the author’s individual views and not the opinion of or on behalf of the Board of Education).

To Whom It May Concern / Dear Editor,

As graduate of Scarsdale High School, I am writing to strongly endorse Alison Singer for a second term on the Scarsdale Board of Education. I fervently believe that she will foster a school environment that will prioritize every individual students’ well-being and maximize opportunities for learning and achievement.

I first met Alison almost 16 years ago, when I began volunteering with children with special needs at the JCC of Mid-Westchester. What could have been a short-term volunteer gig became my lifelong passion. Alison advocated for me and mentored me throughout my high school career, helping me procure an internship at the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai and helping me secure a sponsorship to attend the annual Yale Child Study Center’s Annual Autism Conference. Additionally, Alison served as my Senior Options advisor and through this program I had the opportunity to work with her at the Autism Science Foundation. At SHS, I received the Science Achievement Award and numerous state awards for community service – none of which would have occurred without the excellent guidance and mentorship I received from Alison Singer.

It was Alison who first encouraged me to apply to Yale University in 2011 and wrote a recommendation letter on my behalf. During my years at Yale, I worked in an autism research lab at the Yale Child Study Center that Alison introduced me to. When I decided to apply to medical school it was Alison who again wrote on my behalf, and, in the spring of 2017, I was admitted to the Yale School of Medicine.

Alison is and always has been a strong advocate for students. I have had the tremendous fortune of benefitting from Alison’s mentorship and I am confident that I would not be where I am today without her consistent support and encouragement. My story is one of many, as Alison has touched the lives of many Scarsdale High School students, sponsoring several students’ senior options projects and serving as a mentor to dozens of students over the years. She is compassionate, intelligent, and a good listener who is attentive and caring; these qualities are unique and so valuable in a mentor. It would be a loss to future generations in Scarsdale to not have Alison serve on the Board of Education where she is able to create opportunities for all students to reach their potential.

Max J. Rolison
SHS Class of 2011

Re-elect Alison Singer to the School Board

I write to offer my unqualified support for Alison Singer, who is currently vice president of the School Board, and who is running for her second term as an independent because the school board nominating committee (SBNC) did not nominate her for a second term.

To be clear, I write this as someone who has deep respect for Scarsdale’s non-partisan system. Several years ago, I served on the SBNC for 3 years, and then for an additional year as chair. In my experience, SBNC members took their jobs extremely seriously- and worked hard to find highly qualified candidates who were open minded, had track records suggesting they would work well in a group setting, and who were willing to volunteer a lot of their time to work in the best interests of the schools. Gauging the likelihood that a candidate would serve two full terms was another key component, as it was widely recognized that it took time for new board members to get up to speed- and continuity was deemed critical.

Alison was chosen through that process for her first term, so it’s quite curious that the SBNC did not re-nominate her.

While only SBNC members who were in the room for the deliberations will ever know the real reason for failing to re-nominate Alison, I suspect it had something to do with wanting to send a signal to the board that the community was frustrated with some of the decisions made by the board during the recent school year.

I find this logic suspect and the decision seems quite reckless.

Suspect, because this year of COVID presented truly unprecedented challenges for all school systems. There were highly vocal and passionate proponents on all sides of the debate about how best to manage the schools during this public health emergency. Well-meaning experts disagreed, and decisions had to be made (and are still being made) against the background of deep uncertainty.

Reckless, because without having Alison on the board, there will be a critical lack of seniority at a time that is still highly fluid and complex. There is no real substitute for real world experience, and Alison clearly has that. Importantly, it also sends the wrong signal to future candidates thinking of running for this important position and will make it harder to recruit qualified volunteers.

Lastly, I have known Alison for a long time and can speak directly to her intelligence, work ethic, and her judgement. I am a neuroscientist at a foundation with a similar mission to the foundation that Alison founded. From interacting with her professionally for close to 15 years, I can say without hesitation that she is extremely smart, measured, and collegial. Our daughters are also the same age, so I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her as a fellow parent as well.

I encourage you to join me in voting for Alison on May 18th.

John Spiro
Former SBNC Chair
Tompkins Road

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