When Margaret Colligan heard that only one candidate had filed a petition for election to the Board of Education and a second seat could be filled by anyone who got the most write-in votes on the May 15 ballot, she threw her hat in the ring.
Ms. Colligan spent 30 years teaching English and reading before she and her husband, Jim Colligan, moved full time to the Island from Carle Place. She was in charge of the Teacher Center in Huntington and is now a board member of the Peconic Teacher Center.
The plan was to retire here, but neither she nor Mr. Colligan have been the retiring types. Mr. Colligan is a member of the Town Board while Ms. Colligan, who works in real estate for Daniel Gale/Sotheby’s, is a mentor with Mary Dwyer’s 2Rs4Fun writing program for young students at the library.
She is also on the grants committee of the Shelter Island Educational Foundation and has worked with juniors to prepare to take Scholastic Aptitude Tests for college admission. On the committee for East End Hospice, Ms. Colligan is active with Fighting Chance, a cancer counseling program and works with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at Our Lady of the Isle Church. She also volunteers at Mashomack Preserve.
When she thought about mounting her write-in campaign, she contacted Board of Education member Kathleen Lynch, who is seeking a second three-year term. Ms. Lynch assured Ms. Colligan would be putting her energies to good use as a Board of Education member.
“It’s a good place to be now,” Ms. Colligan quoted Ms. Lynch as telling her about serving on the board.
“I miss it,” Ms. Colligan said about being involved with education on a more intense basis.
To date, no one else has indicated an interest in mounting a serious write-in campaign.
As for her own decision to seek a second term, Ms. Lynch said she wants to continue to work with Superintendent Christine Finn. Ms. Lynch was a member of the board that hired Ms. Finn and said it has been a pleasure working with her this year.
“I look forward to seeing what else she brings to the table,” Ms. Lynch said.
She said the first couple of years as a new board member are spent learning the ropes and gaining experience. Now, with experience, with experience, she wants to continue to play a role with a board she believes is working effectively on behalf of the district, Ms. Lynch said.
The opportunity to be connected to students and to make decisions to enhance their educational experiences is what attracted her to the Board of Education. “I love this school and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for any child,” she said.
Looking ahead, the candidate said she wants to improve the aesthetics of the cafeteria and outdoor spaces, efforts that were started this year, and to work with someone Ms. Finn is bringing in to foster the meditation program.
“Our board and administration are really supportive of each other and it makes for a really cohesive environment,” Ms. Lynch said.
Voting takes place at the school gymnasium between noon and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15.