Ahead of Tuesday’s school district votes, the Tribune asked each candidate to provide a brief profile. Those participating include:
The Niagara Wheatfield School Board announced two incumbent candidates are running unopposed to reclaim their seats: Current School Board President Steven Sabo and Richard Sirianni. Each seat carries a three-year term.
•Richard Sirianni: “I am currently finishing my ninth year as a member of the Niagara Wheatfield School Board. With all the issues surrounding COVID-19, this has been the most difficult time our educational system has ever experienced, not only for our school district but across the nation.
“The Niagara Wheatfield School Board, along with our administrative leadership, teachers and staff, have done a remarkable job creating a clean and safe environment for our students and staff, while educating students with as much normalcy as possible. With the ever-changing New York state guidelines, I commend all staff for the wonderful job they have done.
“The district's first priority is educating students – the next generation of our leaders. At the same time, we have to make decisions on policy and budgets. It is so important to understand the needs and concerns of all the stakeholders that are affected by the board's decisions, especially residents, taxpayers and staff, with all the rising costs the school district faces.
“We have about 3,400 students and 600 staff members. Over the last six years, we have kept the tax levy amount to an average of 1.34% a year – the most modest amount we can without negatively affecting future educational needs and school budgets. We also initiated programs to keep our school lunch and breakfast services open all summer and open up 141 slots for pre-K for young kids in our district. Thank you for your continued support.
North Tonawanda School Board
The North Tonawanda School District announced there are three candidates running unopposed for three seat vacancies. Candidates include Cheryl McMahon and Stephanie Emiliani, as well as Krista Vince Garland as the lone incumbent. Board members Erik Herbert and Erica Robinson are not seeking reelection.
Each seat carries a three-year term of office.
•Stephanie Emiliani: Stephanie Emiliani, a North Tonawanda resident, believes in lifelong learning and is proud to support education. She has earned a Bachelor's degree in meteorology from SUNY Oswego as well as completing her Masters of Education in adolescent science education from the University at Buffalo.
Emiliani is happy to see the district seeking to build sustainable budgets and educational programs. She is committed to continue to find ways to close any future budgetary gaps and implement best practices in an effort to continue to grow programming available to students. She plans to seek an understanding of what offerings students, parents and teachers wish to see in the district.
She also knows there is a great call to return to normalcy and supports this in a safe and timely manner by taking all guidance and advice into account. She believes it is important to get the children of the district back into the buildings as much as possible to further their education and prevent further disruptions to their learning structures.
The candidate notes it is important to remember the district’s hands are often tied by state and federal guidance, and recognizes the leaders of the district have been doing a good job at keeping the district up to date and are making changes in a deliberate fashion.
Emiliani is happy to call North Tonawanda home. She lives there with her husband, Tony, and puppy, Juniper. She currently works for GEICO as an analyst for the claims division.
•Cheryl McMahon: “In the past five years, I have been North Tonawanda School Board president twice as well as vice president twice. I have a bachelor's degree in human services and master’s degree in community and school health from Canisius College.
“My husband and I have six children through the district and have lived in NT for 25 years.
“I am a senior investigator for Niagara County child protection.
“I am thrilled to be able to be a part of such a stellar school board again and look forward to serving our children, teachers and community through this pandemic and beyond.”