New Elmont education board trustees aim to increase transparency


Newly elected Elmont school district education board trustees Lynette Battle and Dwayne Palmer took their seats after being sworn in during the board’s reorganization meeting July 1.

Battle and Palmer are two of three trustees elected on May 21 during the school district’s budget vote. Trecia Wong, the third newly elected board trustee, was sworn in on May 22 as she replaced trustee Tania Lawes who was appointed to replace Michael Cantara in December.

Battle replaced former board president Nancy Garlick, who led the board from July 2023 through July 2024. Battle has lived in the school district for 21 years and her son was a member of the Elmont Memorial High School Class of 2024. Battle was the Elmont Memorial Parent Teacher Student Association president for two years and just accepted a role in the Nassau Region PTA.

Palmer, a 30-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, has lived in Elmont for 28 years. He replaced trustee Sharon Earley Davis.

As an active member of the community, Palmer said he ran for the board to affect the change he felt “the community needed.”

Wong is a lifelong resident of Elmont and feels that her 26 years of experience as an educator will help guide her role as trustee.

“It’s important to have diversity on the board, and that divergent way of thinking because I will say things from the teacher lens and the administrator lens as well as the parent lens.” she said.

While being an active member on the board for more than a month, she remains steadfast in her belief that the board can improve its relationship with the community.

“We want the community to be more involved,” Wong said.

The three trustees describe themselves as concerned community members and are focused on increasing transparency on the board.

“I want to see trust brought back from the board to the community,” Palmer said.

All three board members believe that increasing transparency between the board and the community is of the utmost importance.

“We understand that and respect that as school board trustees there are certain conversations that can’t be had in public,” Battle said. She reiterated that the newly elected trustees firmly believe in their role delivering information transparently to their community.

She has been working to increase accessibility for some time now, as she has live-streamed board meetings on Facebook for the past two years. In that effort, she hoped to make meetings more accessible for community members who are not able to attend every session. As of April 9, the board has been live-streaming meetings and she hopes to continue this progress as trustee.

Wong and Battle hope to make the live streams more interactive. They would like to allow questions to come from the audience watching the streams in real time.

Introducing a gifted program is another item that Battle would like to focus on during her term, as she identifies as “a product and graduate of a gifted program” herself.

Battle believes the district should pursue alternative funding methods when organizing the school budget each year and is interested in bringing the issue to the board.

Ultimately, Battle hopes to empower and spread success stories from throughout the school district as a trustee. She sees this goal as “low-hanging fruit” that will help improve the board’s relationship with the community.

Palmer hopes to focus on community engagement and applying the transparency he campaigned on so the community can better understand the issues facing the board.

“We want to establish some clear metrics on how the board is doing,” Palmer said, “but more importantly, we want to support our new superintendent in his role and function of running the schools and develop policy that supports that effort.”

During his tenure in the NYPD, Palmer worked in the school safety division. He hopes to use that experience to bring insight into the physical and safety challenges that schools face today.

“I’d like to bring that experience to the board, especially in light of the terrible news that we see day-to-day regarding the safety around buildings,” Palmer said.

Palmer is a member of the Elmont Dad’s Club, Argo Civic Association, and is an active member of the elementary and high school PTAs. Palmer’s three children graduated from the Elmont district, and he currently has two grandchildren enrolled in the district’s schools.

“I’m excited to take this position,” Palmer said. “I’m excited to do the hard work, to roll my sleeves up and to dig in and continue the work of educating Elmont scholars and giving them the education that they deserve.”