This year, the Herald encourages taxpayers to support the three incumbents running for re-election in Merrick, and the two newcomers in North Merrick.
In our view, re-electing Dr. Nancy Kaplan, who also serves as president of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education, is a no-brainer for Merrick Elementary School District voters.
Kaplan holds a number of degrees, including a doctorate in educational administration, does good work with the Anti-Defamation League, has served on the board for 14 years and has earned the respect of her community. We see no reason to unseat her.
Fellow incumbents Dr. Pamela Banks, who is president of the Merrick board, and Linda Wilk are similarly accomplished, and we have confidence in their leadership, although we also liked the credentials of the race’s two newcomers, Richard Soleymanzadeh and Gabrielle Curcio.
In the North Merrick Elementary School District, a combination of the newcomers’ enthusiasm and credentials, coupled with one incumbent’s recent behavior, leads us to recommend a change. Vincent Lentini and Michelle Gordon are each highly qualified in their own ways, and we believe they would bring fresh perspectives to the board.
Lentini — an educator in the Lynbrook School District who has children in the North Merrick district — would bring a highly experienced educator’s perspective to the board. He has a master’s in secondary education from Hofstra, and a building leadership certificate from the College of Saint Rose in Albany. We believe he would be an asset to an already strong board, if elected.
Gordon, meanwhile, sent the Herald an extensive — and enthusiastic — biography, highlighting the varied places that her career has taken her, and her current passion for improving the already outstanding education that the North Merrick district offers.
Incumbent Todd Ransom is an involved trustee and an accomplished professional. However, his decision to sit out the recent Meet the Candidates night in protest of what he sees as increasing union influence on the board struck us as petulant. Ransom instead wrote a four-page letter railing against “rumors,” “lies” and “vendettas” in the district. That’s no way for a board member to conduct himself.