Eight to run for four seats on Rome BOE

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ROME — Rome Chapter NAACP will host its third annual Meet the Candidates Night for the Rome City School District Board of Education election at 7 p.m. Monday, May 9, at Strough Middle School, 801 Laurel St.

The event will give the public an opportunity to meet all the candidates for the Board of Education — those interested in serving children, teachers and the school district. All eight candidates have been invited to the event. It will not be a debate.

For more information about Meet the Candidates Night call 315-271-7703. The question-and-answer session will start promptly at 7:15 p.m.

District residents will vote for board candidates during the Rome City Schools 2022-23 budget vote on Tuesday, May 17. There are four positions up for election to run three-year terms from July 1 of this year through June 30, 2025. One remaining position will run for a two-year term from July 1 through June 30, 2024.

The candidates will fill seats for the expiring terms of current board members Tanya Davis and Lisa Herbowy, who are both seeking re-election, and Paul Hagerty, a longtime board member who is not seeking re-election; the fourth vacancy is to fill the remainder of the term of previous board member Craig Ferretti.

The following eight candidates are running for Rome City Schools Board of Education:

• Danielle Lubecki is an interim board member running for a three-year seat. She is a lifelong Roman who is married to husband Matthew and has three children — her oldest son being a 2020 graduate of Rome Free Academy. Lubecki holds a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in secondary and special education.

She teaches at Madison-Oneida BOCES and “has a depth of educational knowledge and experience, which is an asset as our board navigates the state education system, all while providing what they (students) need to be successful,” she said. While Lubecki said she feels the healthy connection between parents and school board leaders, as well as teachers, teacher assistants, therapists, social workers, etc., is crucial to ensuring students’ success, “I feel this relationship is broken, and we must work together for the sake of the children in this district.”

• Tanya Davis is also a lifelong Roman, graduating from RFA and SUNY Morrisville. She is the mother of three, with her youngest child graduating from RFA this year. She has been involved in the district since 2004, from parent group leader to board member, and has been a participant on numerous shared decision making committees over the years.

Davis has chaired the Policy Committee for two years, chairs the ad-hoc Redistricting Committee and is a member of the Educational Programs Committee.

“Board service is a commitment like no other. Learning the abundance of information related to school policy, budgeting and instructional programming is an intensive process, and the time dedicated to research and communication must be factored in, along with meetings and professional development,” said Davis. “Given this understanding, I now know exactly why experience counts...I serve because I am passionate about education and doing what is best for all of the students of Rome.”

• Kelly Carinci, a lifelong Roman, said she is running for the Board of Education because, “In a time with so many changes happening and critical decisions to be made, I believe school board members need to be effective leaders and communicators.”

Carinci and husband Chris have two children, one in kindergarten and the other in eighth grade in the district. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human services and master’s degree in non-profit management from Springfield College. She is the chief development and communications officer at the Kelberman Center.

“Working for non-profits and my volunteer experience in the past, I have extensive knowledge of board operations and how volunteers can effectively work together as a cohesive team by using the skills that each member possesses...I believe that we are at a crossroads, and now is the time to act so that we can all come together to make the best decisions for our children in the community that we all love.”

• Jon Maggiolino and his family have lived in Rome for 12 years. He has coached the Rome modified girls basketball team, volunteered on the Rome Zoning Board of Appeals since 2016 and has created the Christmas Light House display on North James Street to brighten the city and raise funds for Toys for Tots.

Maggiolino received his business degree from Nazareth College in 2004 and a master’s of business administration degree from Duquesne University in 2008. He now works at the Air Force Research Laboratory as a program manager.

“I want to help the school district make educated, long-term decisions that are in the best interest of our children’s education and what the teachers, administrators and community can support,” said Maggiolino. “I think our board members should act in a way that brings dignity and respect to Rome. With two young children making their way into the school system, I want them to be proud of their school, community and board.”

• Cassie Knutti said she’s running for the board because “We need to rebuild the trust of our educators, students, parents and community.” Knutti is a 2004 graduate of RFA. She is married and has a daughter entering kindergarten in the fall. She received her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Buffalo in 2008. For more than a decade, her career has centered around consulting and project management, with a focus on leading large-scale transformations.

Rebuilding the trust of students, educators and the community — “This can only be done with humility and servant leadership where diversity of opinion is encouraged through a culture of trust,” Knutti said. “It also means educator retention, student and parent involvement, and enabling students to have the resources available to succeed. Our educators not only provide quality education to the classroom, but so many experiences and memories that help mold and shape a positive experience for students within the district.”

• Renee Pasqualetti is the mother of six children in the Rome City School District. Her husband was born and raised in Rome, and Pasqualetti said she and her husband value the education their children receive in the district. While currently a homemaker, Pasqualetti has a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She served as substitute teacher for the 2019-20 school year.

“There are some challenges facing the district. Many people are very concerned,” Pasqualetti said. “I realize the complexity of the issues at hand, but overall, I believe it is most important to keep families together as much as possible...I hope to be a voice of the parents in the district.”

• JoAnn Cook was born and raised in Rome, graduating from Rome Catholic High School in 1984. She received her associate’s degree in registered nursing from Mohawk Valley Community College in 1986 and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1989 from SUNY Polytechnic Institute. She went on to earn a Masters of Science degree in Nurse Anesthesia from Albany Medical College in 1994. She has been in practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for 30 years. Cook has four daughters, with twins graduating from RFA next year.

“Our community has had to navigate significant changes over the years. Some for the better, and some in the direction we could never have imagined. I want to be a catalyst for change,” said Cook. “I want to be a voice, an advocate for parents, educators and most importantly, our children. It is my belief that equity for all is one of our most important issues to address, not just in words, but in actions as well. As a board member, I will work tirelessly to empower the superintendent to make the very best decisions for our children and community.”

• Lisa Herbowy has served on the Board of Education for the last three years. She is a lifelong Rome resident who graduated from RFA in 1985. She also had two children educated in the district who graduated in 2016 and 2019. Herbowy is employed through the Oneida County Probation Department as a juvenile probation officer, a position she has held since 2009.

“While working with many ‘at risk’ youth, I have seen the positive impacts a good educational experience can have on a child, and I would like to see the Rome district strive to be that positive impact to every student,” Herbowy said. “Throughout my involvement with the Board of Education, the board has worked on many positive initiatives for the district, while at the same time, having to manage several unfortunate events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of Staley Elementary School. During both these crisis situations, I witnessed the dedication, support and caring nature of the staff in this district.”

Herbowy said the board’s current task of redistricting, grade reconfiguration and the replacement of Staley, has proven to be a difficult one.

“As a board we have facilitated suggestions from the community and the district staff because we understand that hey are the individuals, along with our students, who will be mostly effected by these changes,” said Herbowy. “...As a current board member, I realize that some of the decisions that are made will not make everyone happy, however I must make these decisions based on what is best for the district and the community. I am seeking re-election to the board because I would like the opportunity to continue working in conjunction with all board members and district staff to improve the quality of education and to increase the positive life experiences we provide to the students of our district.”

Note: This article was edited from its original version, to add information on May 5, 2022 at 3:10 p.m.

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