Voters will decide which of two candidates will fill a vacant seat on the East Rockaway Board of Education in an election on May 15.
John Giannotti, whose term ends in June, recently announced that he would not be running for re-election to the board. Giannotti has served on the Board of Education since he unseated former Trustee Michaeleen Abott-Cooper in the May 2012 election.
Former longtime East Rockaway Athletic Director Dom Vulpis and former high school PTA President Theresa Devlin are vying to fill Giannotti’s seat.
Vulpis served as Athletic Director at East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School from 1995 until he retired last June to accept a job as assistant to the executive director of Section VIII athletics in Garden City. He has lived in East Rockaway since 2001, when he moved to the village from Brooklyn with his wife, Kathleen, his son, Dominic Jr., and his twin daughters, Mary Kate and Kerrianne.
“As a staff member of the East Rockaway public schools for 22 years, I have provided guidance, leadership and opportunities, while implementing initiatives and strategies, to achieve success,” Vulpis said. “Upon my retirement this past June, I felt a void in my connection to the community in public service. I believe that my commitment, dedication, and values of living in a small town surrounded by traditions will enable me to serve the community as a member of the Board of Education. Integrity and transparency are the tools that enable me to relate to this community and begin service as a school board member.”
Devlin has a business background and has been heavily involved in the school community. She has served on the Rhame Avenue and high school PTA boards, the Budget Advisory Committee and as one of the directors of the East Rockaway Education Foundation. She and her husband, Charlie, have lived in East Rockaway for 21 years. Devlin’s daughter, Kate, graduated from East Rockaway High in 2015, where her son, Joseph, now attends the Life Skills Program, and her other sons, Jevon and Mason, are enrolled at Rhame Avenue School.
“I am running for the Board of Education because I believe education is the path to opportunity,” Devlin said. “I am going to bring much needed parent representation to the board. There is one parent on the board with school age children. As a parent with children currently enrolled at Rhame Avenue and East Rockaway High School, I can bring a much needed perspective to the decision making process.”
Vulpis or Devlin will join President Patricia Nicoletti, Vice President Keith Gamache and Trustees Neil Schloth and Kristin Ochtera on the board.
Nicoletti and Ochtera’s terms end next June, while Schloth and Gamache, who ran uncontested last year, maintain their seats until June 2020.