Later this month, five candidates will vie for two seats on the North Bellmore School Board.
Incumbent Board of Education President Rosemarie Corless and Vice President Jo-Ann Erhard will face opposition from challengers Christopher Nardo, Thomas McDonough and Rocco Famiglietti.
Corless has served the longest of the incumbents up for re-election, first serving on the board from 2006 to 2013, and again from 2018 to the present. Erhard was elected in 2019.
Stand-alone challenger Nardo is a new-business developer with the Depository Trust and Clear Corporation. McDonough, who is running with Famiglietti, has served in the Nassau County Police Department for 17 years, and is currently a sergeant. Famiglietti works for the New York City Department of Sanitation and as a coach for the Batting 1000 Seminoles baseball team.
Ahead of the election, which will take place on May 17, the Herald asked the candidates about their goals and the issues facing the district.
Herald: Why did you decide to run (or run again) for the Board of Education?
Corless: School are traditionally considered the heart of any community, which is why I consider the role of a school board trustee to be very important. I have decided to run for re-election because I have always served as an advocate for children and with every decision I make, I put the needs of children at the forefront. My education and life experience serving children makes me aware of their developmental, educational, and social needs. This was even more important in the recent challenging times we have had over the last two years. My years serving on the board has helped me to expand my leadership skills to address the needs of our students, parents, community, and our team of professional faculty and staff.
Erhard: I am running again because I wholeheartedly believe in the district’s mission to inspire all students to be confident, passionate learners with the courage and skills to lead their lives with integrity, while contributing to our global community with creativity and compassion. I’d like to continue being part of such a fantastic collaborative team that strategically plans for the future, is always evolving, and making enhancements to programs. I’m proud to share in the hard work of a district that puts children first and differentiates learning to reach all students. I am a small but important member of a school community that truly strives for ever upward.
Nardo: I have two daughters in the elementary school here, so I feel personally invested in not only their own success, but the success of the school and the community at large. Given that I've lived in the community for 14 years and have volunteered on the North Bellmore Reopening Team (NBRT) during the Covid-19 pandemic, I felt this was a great opportunity to become even more involved in the community and to shape the district for greater success in the future. I firmly believe we have a great school district and should be proud of the hard work of the teachers and administrators. It is the job of the school board to raise standards, build a deeper level of trust, and provide greater transparency to the community and I feel I can make a meaningful contribution to help accomplish this.
McDonough: I decided to run for the Board of Education because it is time we start recognizing that our children should be our number one priority. Parental and taxpayer involvement and communication will be the hallmark of my time on the board. I have two children living in the district and I will fight relentlessly for them and all N. Bellmore children to make sure all of our resources are geared toward their success.
Famiglietti: I am a lifelong North Bellmore community member and I attended the school district growing up. I am now raising a family of my own here because I know how amazing this community is. My daughter is graduating the Universal Pre-K program and will begin Kindergarten this coming fall. I want to make sure she, along with the other children, have a great education and experience growing up like I was able to have. I have noticed a disconnection and division that has taken place over the past couple of years. I feel there is no better time to further my commitment to this community than at the start of my daughters educational career and be the ears and voice this community has been looking for.
Herald: What are the main goals and issues that you wish to address if elected?
Corless: It is my goal to continue the work the board of education has been doing on long term planning for our students’ education, growth of programs to meet the needs of all learners, maintain and improve our building and grounds, and expand our safety and security measures. I will continue to work with parents by listening their needs, voices, and suggestions. As a board member I will continue to advocate with local officials to obtain grants for our students learning and social emotional programs. We will continue to expand on our educational activities for parents and staff so that we can better serve our students keeping our mission statement in mind to guide all decisions.
Erhard: To support the district in meeting its fiduciary responsibilities to the community while forging forward in all areas of instruction. Being mindful of taxpayers when making financial decisions while also acting in the best interest of the students. This is especially important when a district must work within the constraint of a tax cap while trying to maintain facilities, enhance educational programs, and fund Special Education programs where costs and needs are rising and state aid is decreasing.
Nardo: There are a number of areas of concern that parents have raised already. The areas that stand out the most are: Addressing the impact Covid-19 had on our children’s educational needs, along with their social and emotional well-being, advocating for capital improvements both inside and outside the school and building a stronger and more enriching curriculum that benefits all students. I will make these areas a priority if given the opportunity to serve on the board.
McDonough: Children first, parental and taxpayer involvement and fiscal responsibility.
Famiglietti: My main goal is to make sure the children are the number one priority and always come first. Keep focus on making sure everyone gets what they need in order to become successful. I want the parents to feel and know they are being heard, their questions are acknowledged and getting answered. I would like to rebuild the parental involvement and partnership while securing their rights and choices. I want to provide the trust and transparency, along with the open lines of communication, fiscal responsibility and have a sensible budgeting approach.
Herald: Why do you feel like you are qualified for the position you are running for?
Corless: As a parent who has raised three children in our school districts and as a board member, I have a great deal of involvement and opportunity to see how our schools function and serve the needs of our children. With over 20 years of community service, I have served in leadership positions in the PTA in both the elementary and high school district for more than 18 years, girl scouts, the North Bellmore Educational Foundation, and the NY State Games for the Physically Challenged. I have served as a trustee for over 9 years. I have gone to multiple trainings offered though the New York State School Boards Association to increase my knowledge in many different areas related to schools. As a nurse I am skilled at listening to the needs of the people I serve, and it is always my goal to continue to improve and grow our district.
Erhard: I have over 17 years of volunteer service in various community and school groups including countless PTA committees, board positions, and leadership roles. My career in finance operations helps me analyze and view things with both a detailed and overall approach. I have diligently served on the board for the past 3 years, helping NBUFSD fully re-open for in-person learning while navigating through an ever-evolving pandemic and keeping our students happy, healthy, and safe.
Nardo: With nearly two decades of industry experience in Finance and Business Development, I feel I can bring a fresh and unique perspective to the board. It is a privilege to work alongside some of the brightest and smartest people in business and finance, and I feel that I have a unique opportunity to share what I've learned. Additionally, I gained valuable experience working within our district when I served as a volunteer on two sub-committees within the NBRT, during which time I was proactive with helping to safely reopen schools during the 2020-2021 school year.
McDonough: Having two children in the district put me on the front line of fighting for their success. On the financial side I have earned Bachelor’s degrees in both Business Administration and Business Management.
Famiglietti: I am a father, a lifelong community member and alum of the school district. I am a fresh perspective with a strong voice and I'm a part of a new generation who have young children in the school district. I am very hardworking and dedicated to everything I do. I have been a youth baseball coach for many years and have learned the importance of putting the needs, development and success of children first while building and maintaining parental partnerships. I have financial experience in managing payroll for hundreds of employees, balancing log books and reports, allocating receipts and paperwork, and being very well organized in both my professional and personal settings. I am a great listener, respectful of others, and I pride myself to always speak openly and honestly.