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Four candidates seeking two seats on Board of Education

| May 7, 2018

On May 15, North Colonie residents will elect two candidates to five-year terms, without compensation, to the Board of Education. Seats are not at large and candidates had to declare what seat they were running for at the time they picked up petitions. The open seat of current Board of Education member Sandy Pangburn is uncontested. The open seat of Patrick Masson has three candidates.

BOE candidate Sandy PangburnSandy Pangburn has served on the North Colonie Board of Education for the past 10 years. She and her husband have two children, both of whom graduated from Shaker High School in 2012 and 2015. Pangburn has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a Master of Business Administration in management, both from University at Albany. In addition to her time on the board, Pangburn has volunteered for more than 10 years with the elementary PTA and PTA Council; chaired numerous committees within the Board of Education; served on the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council and served on the North Colonie Community/School Foundation. Pangburn has 36 years of actuarial and management experience in the public and private sector with the Milliman USA, Fidelity Investments, and is currently working for the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS). She is also an Enrolled Actuary (EA), Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA) and Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).

“I believe strongly in the value of a public education. Well educated children grow into contributing adults building a skilled workforce which is the backbone of our society and economy. Simply put, education is transformative. These are challenging times with complex problems that impact not just students but also faculty, administrators and the community as a whole. But at the same time, these are also exciting times to be involved with education! The strategies to address the diverse needs of the school community are far from simple, but North Colonie’s high caliber personnel and highly effective BOE are well positioned to turn challenges into opportunities. I firmly believe in the district’s ability to continue to expand on its proud record of academic success. One of the many things that the North Colonie BOE has going for it, is its effective cross section of skills and knowledge; I am very proud to have been one small part of that for the last 10 years. Many members of the BOE serve multiple terms, and this stability is an important aspect of the school’s high rankings. I am running for reelection because I wish to continue to contribute to the community as we turn challenges into opportunities and build an even brighter future for our next generation of students.”

Michelle Dischiavo attended Shaker High School and graduated in 1989. She attended Syracuse University and received a bachelor’s in history, then went on to obtain a master’s in special education K-12 from the University at Albany. From 1996 to 2005, Dischiavo taught K-12 Special Education in California, Albany City Schools and Shaker High School. For the past 14 years, she has owned and operated Intuition Events and Floral Design, coordinating, designing, and creating floral arrangements for weddings and events in the upstate area. Dischiavo is the parent of two children in the district and has been active in the PTA since they started school at Forts Ferry, through the positions of member, vice-president and president. She has also been involved in many community activities, including Wicklund Warriors, the Make-A-Wish Gala, the Susan O’Dell Taylor School Gala, and has sat on the Pruyn House executive board.

“Through the PTA, I have been able to develop relationships with teachers, administrators and parents and have listened to their concerns and issues. I feel that I bring a unique perspective to the board as a result of my experiences in education, my viewpoint as a parent, and my activities as a volunteer. It has been an aspiration of mine to serve the school system and community that I grew up in and that prepared me for my future. I continue to believe that the school/community relationship is integral to building successful schools and students. As a member of the school board I hope to help foster and strengthen that relationship. I believe in the importance of looking at each child as an individual and that each child has his or her own abilities that need to be fostered and nurtured. As a board member, I will also continue to foster our high standards and work to keep up with the demands of education in the 21st century. We must ensure that our children have the tools and resources they need in order to succeed in today’s competitive world. I will encourage teachers to challenge themselves to bring the most relevant and complete educational experience to the students of the district. It would be an absolute pleasure to serve the North Colonie School District and help it meet the challenges of the future.”

BOE candidate Alexandra KaneAlexandra Kane attended The Academy of the Holy Names High School and graduated in 1990. She began her nursing career in 1994, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. and her Master of Science degree in nursing in 2002 from the University of Phoenix, Arizona. She previously worked in the fields of geriatrics, neurosurgery, medical cardiology, and specialized in cardiothoracic surgery and heart transplant nursing. Kane is currently the Nursing Director at GuildCare, an adult day healthcare facility located in Albany. She joined the team in 2013 as the director and has been an active member of the Adult Day Health Care CouncilLeading Age NY through participation in Region 5 membership. The program provides services to the underserved and Medicaid eligible in the area with a wide range of disabilities from all socioeconomic arenas. Kane also serves as an active member on the Medicaid redesign team / Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP) via Better Health for Northeast New York as a member of the Consumer and Community Affairs committee. Through this participation she networks with many community based organizations providing greater access to necessary services to Medicaid beneficiaries. Kane currently lives in Latham with her boyfriend Steve and her two children, Julia and Zach.

“I am interested in this role on the school board, because I feel it is vital to providing a supportive and solid foundation for children and young adults. Assisting the students to learn how to learn and how to navigate the wide variety of programs and services available to them as they enter adulthood is vital to ensuring the continued growth of our community. Supporting the board’s efforts and ongoing achievements is crucial to the individual success of each of its students.”

BOE Candidate Tim OConnorTimothy J. O’Connor is an attorney in private practice in Colonie/Menands and an adjunct lecturer at the University at Albany, teaching Law and Technology in Financial Market Regulation. A graduate of Shaker High School’s Class of 1976, O’Connor received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver’s School of Law. He has attended numerous budget committee meetings and Board of Education meetings/hearings, and has mentored several first generation American Shaker High School students. O’Connor is also a member of the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners, a pro bono member of the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) of the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, and an Albany Diocesan Cemeteries board member. He is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), United University Professions (UUP) and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT).

“As a Shaker graduate and lifelong North Colonie resident, I look forward to further advancing the district’s reputation for academic excellence. I would also like to assure that the North Colonie Central School District affords all of its students and teachers a nurturing and supportive educational experience. As a member of the School Board I will not be a rubber stamp for the decisions of administrators. I take seriously my obligation to make unbiased and independent decisions to assure that we do not lose sight of our most important asset – our students. One of the many changes I hope to help effectuate is to restore the voting venue on all annual school budget and Board of Education related matters to the neighborhood elementary schools as had been the tradition for decades. Parents and residents alike have expressed their preference to vote more locally as a way of preserving community, enhancing camaraderie, and supporting individual schools through election-day bake sales and friendly neighborhood gatherings.”

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