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Three vie for two seats in North Merrick

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Three candidates will appear on voters’ ballots in the North Merrick School District. They are vying for two seats.

Incumbent Michelle Gordon, the board’s current vice president, is up for re-election, and Kathy Moran and Mary Keene are making their first runs for the board.

Below are the backgrounds of each candidate, provided by the candidates themselves.

 

Michelle Gordon (Incumbent)

My family and I have lived in North Merrick for the past 11 years and have two children in our schools. For past three years, I have been on the North Merrick Board of Education, the last two as vice president. 

My tenure has resulted in many great accomplishments for our residents and students.  The 2019-20 adopted budget was a 1.89 percent budget to budget increase — one of the lowest in the County. 

Our 2020-21 adopted budget was only a 1.42 percent budget to budget increase. This is the second lowest in 30 years.  Both budgets, while conservative, were able to maintain current class size, current programs, clubs and after school activities. I like to think of these as preserving the integrity of our North Merrick School District.

Our taxes and the children of North Merrick will always be my focal point. In the past three years, I have been instrumental in bringing additional programs to enhance our children’s learning experience, at no additional costs to the tax payers.

As the sitting VP, I worked collectively with my other board members, administration and the teachers’ union to ensure the full-time re-opening of our schools after being on quarantine for the remainder of the school year last year.

I believe my knowledge and dedication speak for itself and hope to return to the board to continue the great work we do here in North Merrick.

 

Kathy Moran

I have been a resident of North Merrick for 38 years where my husband and I have raised 3 children, Shawn, 35, Kelli, 33, and Shannon, 29, who attended the Old Mill Road School, Merrick Avenue Middle School, and Calhoun High School.  In addition, to a son in law Steve, and a future son in law, Ricky.  We are also the proud grandparents of 2 adorable grandsons ages 3 and 20 months (can’t forget them!).

In 1996, when my youngest entered kindergarten, I applied for a job with the North Merrick School District as a lunch monitor. In 2000, I became the first paraprofessional at H.D. Fayette, earning the PTA Honorary Life Award for my work with the children.  I continued in that capacity until 2003 when I briefly worked for the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District in the Personnel Department.  In 2004, I returned to where my heart was, the North Merrick School District, where I worked as a Clerk Typist at the Camp Avenue School until my retirement in June of 2020.

During my time at Camp Avenue I volunteered on the Safety Committee and spent numerous years on the Site Based Committee. In addition, I volunteered for the Camp Avenue Book Club during lunch hours.  I was once again honored with the PTA Honorary Life Award at Camp Avenue and in 2014 I received a Support Staff Service Award from SCOPE Education Services.

Now that I am retired, I would love to still have input in the district I have grown to love.  This school district has made our neighborhood a wonderful place to raise children.  I have seen the workings of the district as both a parent and a former employee, and I will promise to always have the children’s best interest at heart while practicing fiscal responsibility.  It would truly be an honor to serve the district as a member of the Board of Education.

 

Mary Keene

As a resident of North Merrick for fifteen years, a mother of four children who attend Old Mill Road School, Merrick Avenue Middle School, and Calhoun High School, I am the perfect person to be the next North Merrick school board trustee. I have been a community advocate the last ten years, on the PTA nominating committee, PTA audit committee, a catechist at Sacred Heart, a volleyball coach, and I have attended almost every live board of education meeting, special meeting, and budget meeting the last four years.  In addition, I have been speaking to neighbors about our always increasing school tax bill. With all my experiences, I have a strong pulse on the NM community and a very strong concern for North Merrick taxpayers. 

I began attending board meetings ten years ago to address the class sizes of our primary grades.  A few years later, there was a pest problem at Old Mill that was even more appalling. I led a committee that forced the school district to call an emergency meeting and eventually put together a committee of stakeholders to address the problem. A few years later, I was very vocal in speaking out against ideas brought forward by our current superintendent because they were not in the best interest of our children or teachers. 

In July of 2017, I was very discouraged by the lack of information we were receiving from our school district and rumors floating around the Board of Education. I knew I had to try and do something.  A friend and I started a grassroots movement called Concerned Residents of North Merrick (CRONM).  We constantly FOILed for documents to get answers to our questions.  Knowing how busy everyone was (between work and children) and how much we spend on taxes, CRONM decided to videotape board meetings and post them online so all residents would have access to the information. We even wrote summaries of the meetings to go along with the videos to maximize convenience for people. Most importantly, we wanted to increase voter turnout at board elections since these elections directly impact our wallets. 

As you just read, I am not someone who suddenly just arrived on the scene to run for a BOE seat.  I have been advocating and involved for years.  As a NM BOE trustee, I will always try my hardest to protect your tax dollars and advocate for our children and teachers so North Merrick continues to be a wonderful place to live and work.