Board of Education candidates — In their own words

Three names are on the ballot in Tuesday’s election for  Board of Education seats: Jason Lones, who was tapped last summer to replace Elizabeth Melichar; John Klupka Sr., a former Garden City Board of Education member; and Katharine Rossi-Snook, who comes from a family of educators.

Barring an unanticipated write-in vote, all three will be elected. The candidate with the least votes would finish Ms. Melichar’s term that ends in June 2020, while the other two would win full three-year seats.

The election is tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21, with polls open from noon to 9 p.m. at the school gymnasium.

John Klupka
Shelter Island has been a life-long love.

My grandfather built a house here in 1948. His sister, Daisy Sherman, was married to Milton Sherman and lived on Sunshine Road. Their children were Edith Daniels and Roger Sherman.

I graduated from New Hyde Park Memorial High School and am an inductee in the NHP Athletic Hall of Fame. I graduated from Brown University with a BA in economics and a BA in organizational behavior. I spent 20 years on Wall Street, the last 11 as a director and senior trader at Merrill Lynch.

I left to found Anaconda Technologies, Inc. and AEI Electronics, Inc., serving as president and CEO of both. I was a warden and vestry member of my church in Garden City. I also served on the Cathedral Chapter of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

I was a school board trustee for Garden City UFSD for six years. I am a former warden and a current vestry member at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church here on Shelter Island.

I built a house in Silver Beach 15 years ago and I have been a year-round resident for the last six.
My wife Lillian and I have four children. My daughter, Kim Curko, and son-in-law Erik, live on the Island with our grandchildren Peyton and Myles.

I want to give back to this community that has given me so much joy through the years. There is no more important service than helping our kids succeed in school and in life. I bring a lot of good experience to the school board and I think I can help. Please vote for me and give me this chance.

Katharine Rossi-Snook
I come from a family of public school educators; my aunt was a librarian, my uncle taught science and my mother was an English teacher for over 35 years, head of her department and the union leader. It is through their experiences and with those values that I was raised.

The primary purpose of a public school is to ensure equal access to education and resources for all students, giving every child the opportunity to excel. But I know that part of achieving those goals for the students is to fully support the teachers by ensuring their needs are being met.

I also respect the need to be fiscally responsible; my work experience has been almost entirely in environmental nonprofits and a municipality, both requiring creatively accomplishing goals with limited funds.

As a year-round resident and a working parent, I understand the need to keep taxes to a minimum to help ensure we can all afford to live here and young families will continue to raise their children here.

I consider myself a pragmatic person, one who enjoys finding optimal solutions to complex problems. I serve on multiple professional committees and decision-making groups, and I can bring that experience to the school board.

I want to be an active participant in the Shelter Island community, and a parent who contributes to the school in the most productive way possible. I believe that a Board of Education member is a position in which I can excel.

Jason Lones
During my year as appointee to the board, I have observed a continued need for open communication between the school board and the extended Shelter Island community. The role our school plays in the community extends well beyond its primary role of teaching our children.

The school has been and continues to be a resource, focal point and source of pride for the whole community. The relationship between the community and the school is symbiotic and I would like to use my skills as a liaison to continue to further develop this relationship and make it viable for generations to come.

In my working and volunteer life I have been frequently involved in both leadership and liaison-type activities.

During my career as a paramedic, the job required gathering information from patients to paint the best picture for physicians into whose care I was releasing the patient. As a missions leader for our church, it was my role to research and implement logistics of a trip to ensure efficient and safe execution of the mission.

The liaison role suits me as it uses my skills as an active listener and logistical troubleshooter. I believe capable liaison leaders are an important part of any community, especially a school board. Having the ability to listen and evaluate the different elements that go into school board decisions is vital.

I am truly enjoying my time on the Board and would appreciate your vote so I can continue to serve the students and our community.