Meet MWCSD’s Board of Education candidates

Central Valley. The election will take place Tuesday, May 21.

| 13 May 2024 | 03:49

This year, five candidates will be vying for the three seats currently up for election on the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District’s Board of Education: Kaytlin Simmons, incumbent Dawn Tauber, Candice DeLeo Novack, incumbent Jamell Evans, and incumbent Anthony Anderson. The winners will serve a three-year term on the board starting July 1, 2024, and ending June 30, 2025.

The candidates provided the following information to the school district explaining who they are and why they are running:

Kaytlin Simmons

Kaytlin Simmons has lived in Monroe with her husband for nearly 14 years. They have two twin 10-year-old daughters who attend fifth grade at North Main Elementary, Paityn and Paige. Simmons works as the deputy commissioner of operations and chief diversity officer at the Department of Investigation. She graduated cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and received a J.D. from New York Law School. Simmons is a member of the North Main PTA and a member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA. She also volunteers with the All-American Blazers Track and Field Club, a non-profit youth track and field organization in the county.

She is running to be a “voice for students, parents, and community members alike.” Simmons said she would, “help establish a vision that focuses on providing policies that will improve educational achievement for each child across the district,” while also maintaining fiscal responsibility and planning for upgrades. Additional areas of concern include school safety, bullying, and academics.

Dawn Tauber

Dawn Tauber is a parent of two college students who previously attended district schools. She is running for reelection because of her commitment to “ensuring that every student in our district receives a high-quality education in a safe and supportive environment.”

“Over my past two terms, I have worked to advocate for students, families, and educators, and I believe there is still much more to be done. I am dedicated to continuing to serve our community, listening to diverse perspectives, and making decisions that prioritize the well-being and success of all students.”

She noted that mental health issues were on the rise due to academic pressure, social media usage, bullying, and societal stressors. She suggested addressing the issue using a “multifaceted approach that includes providing access to counseling and support services, implementing social-emotional learning programs, promoting mental health awareness and destigmatization, and fostering a culture of well-being throughout the school community.” This would include a collaboration between schools, families, mental health professionals, and community organizations.

Candice DeLeo Novack

Candice DeLeo Novack has lived in Monroe for 12 years with her husband and two sons who attend schools in the district. She has participated in community outreach with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson and Pittsburgh public schools, volunteered as a guest lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Manhattan College, and currently works in research and development.

She has focused her campaign on budget pressures and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership when the new superintendent takes the helm. She said she wants to prioritize student education and safety to help foster a strong connection with the community. She also said she would leverage her 15+ years of experience in multidisciplinary research and development “toward the betterment of our great district, offering a unique perspective to the Board of Education in support of the students, teachers, staff and community,” adding, “I am comfortable asking tough questions, synthesizing data, and collaborating to find optimal solutions to the challenges ahead.”

Jamell Evans

Jamell Evans is seeking a second term on the board. He is currently the Board vice president. Evans first moved to the district in 1991 and graduated from MWHS in 1999. He returned in 2015 “with a goal of providing my family with the same exceptional educational opportunities I enjoyed.” He currently has two children enrolled at Pine Tree Elementary.

Evans holds a bachelor’s degree in computer art from SUNY College at Oneonta and a master’s degree in communication arts from the New York Institute of Technology. He has worked at EPAM Systems for nearly 12 years, holding the positions of experience director and head of UX.

In his second term, his focus will be on selecting the next superintendent and ensuring MW students become “responsible global citizens,” by “ensuring accountability for our actions and decisions while fostering a culture where learning from one another is encouraged without fear of judgment.” He said he will seek a superintendent who understands the importance of those attributes.

Anthony Anderson

Anthony Anderson is seeking a third term on the board. He has over 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry and serves as a senior vice president at a large national insurance company. Anderson graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Iona College, and holds a certification in dispute resolution from DePaul University. He has lived in the district for 25 years with his wife and two children, both of whom attend district schools.

He noted that his business experience has been an excellent resource for the district.

Anderson is seeking reelection to make sure the “best possible education resources are available to our children in order to achieve the highest outcomes in science, technology, English reading, and mathematics.” He said the district needed to focus on results and “get away from pushing political statements in our curriculum.” He said being on the Board “allows a seat at the table to help ensure this goal is being accomplished.”

The election will take place May 21 at Central Valley Elementary School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. along with a vote on the school budget. Additional information on each candidate can be found on the school website.