Dryden School

There will be some new faces representing the Dryden Central School District community on the Board of Education moving forward. Bridget Flanigan, Justin St. Juliana and Nancy Crawford were all elected to their first terms on the board on May 18. (Flanigan and St. Juliana will have three-year terms while Crawford will have a two-year term.)

All three ran against incumbents Ron Szymanski, Joan Stock and Lawrence Lyon for the four open spots on the board. Szymanski was the lone incumbent to retain his seat. Flanigan received the most votes (606), followed by St. Juliana (599), Szymanski (595), Crawford (591), Stock (572) and Lyon (564).

Crawford

Crawford

Incoming board members Flanigan and St. Juliana sat down with the Dryden Courier to discuss their victories and what they hope to achieve during their terms. (Szymanski and Crawford were unable to answer the Courier’s questions prior to the paper’s deadline.)

Bridget Flanigan

Flanigan

Flanigan

 

Dryden Courier: What are you most excited about as a new member of the Board of Education?

Bridget Flanigan: I’m most excited about supporting students, staff and the superintendent in our mission to educate and empower each learner to achieve excellence and build a better world. I’m excited to learn more about our district and community. I look forward to working with the other eight board members as I know my success on the board is tied to our ability to work cohesively together.

DC: What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the board?

BF: I hope to develop strong, trusting relationships with the board, students, staff and the community and be a role model. In order to do this I need to listen and learn. I hope to support students, staff, and families as we grapple with the effects of the pandemic. I hope to promote an inclusive, equitable and welcoming environment for all.

DC: What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge heading into your term? How do you plan to address them?

BF: Tackling the effects of the pandemic. We have learned a lot from the pandemic and I’m hopeful that we can emerge stronger. To understand the full effects we should assess learning loss and identify students who need additional support. We should be prepared for increased mental health needs of students.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in a way that supports all students and families. Everyone has a different opinion on how to achieve this so listening and learning will be invaluable. We need to be data informed and driven about DEI in our community. We need to have respectful conversations with each other without judgement or assumptions.

DC: What vision of the school district do you hope to create during your term?

BF: The vision of the school district is “we aspire to be the school district others strive to become”. In order to do this we need to focus on supporting all students in their individualized education, have robust extracurricular activities, foster strong relationships with the community and be leaders in promoting an inclusive, equitable environment for all.

St. Juliana

Justin St. Juliana

Dryden Courier: What are you most excited about as a new/returning member of the Board of Education?

Justin St. Juliana: I am excited about the opportunity to give back to the community in a meaningful way. I look forward to being part of a school board that is supportive of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

DC: What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the board?

JSJ: Over the past year the pandemic had an unprecedented impact on students and education.  Our teachers did an amazing job adapting and educating students.  However, there are many aspects of student situations that are beyond the control of the school.  Even as we return to a new normal some of the negative effects of the pandemic on students and education will linger.  I hope to help the school board make data driven and informed decisions that allow students to achieve success. 

 DC: What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenges heading into your term? How do you plan to address them? 

JSJ: As noted in my previous answer we will need to make informed decisions in response to the effects of COVID 19 on students and education.

DC: What vision of the school district do you hope to create during your term?  

JSJ: I hope to work with the school board to realize the existing mission of the school district, which is to educate and empower each learner to achieve excellence and build a better world.

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