Meet Franklin Square candidates for education board


The Franklin Square elementary school district is gearing up for its upcoming school budget vote and education board elections on May 21.

The district is comprised of three elementary schools: John Street School, Polk Street School and Washington Street School.

The school district is divided into three school election districts. Registered voters can cast their ballot at the school building within their election district, as determined by their street address, from 8 a.m. through 9 p.m.

Board trustee incumbents Diane Hansen and Helen Hoffman are up for reelection this year. Newcomers Domenico Ciaccio, Daniel Donoghue and Anna McCombs are also running for education board.

Once elected, board trustees will serve a three-year term set to begin on July 1.

Here is a brief synopsis of each of the candidates:

Diane Hansen

Hansen has served on the education board since May 2020. She has lived in Franklin Square for 32 years and her four children graduated from John Street School.

She has been involved in the parent teacher associations at John Street and H. Frank Carey High School, holding several leadership positions throughout her time with the organizations. She was a Girl Scouts leader for 13 years in town. At Saint Catherine of Sienna, Hansen was a religious educator for 10 years. She served as a member of the Citizen’s Budget Advisory Board, also known as the CBAC, for 12 years where she advocated for the addition of iPad and pre-K programs in the district.

Professionally, Hansen is the chief administrative officer at a financial technology company. She previously worked as an assistant vice president and analyst at Smith Barney, holding various positions including building branch budgets and overseeing the annual budget process for more than 30 branches.

She is running for education board because she wants to continue supporting a good education in the district.

“Our kids are where it’s at,” she said. “We want to provide a foundation for them to grow into a confident, smart set of adults that are our next set of leaders.”

If reelected, Hansen said she is focused on seeing the district’s energy performance contract through and working on the transition to electric buses in upcoming budgets.

Helen Hoffman

Hoffman has served on the education board since 2006. She has lived in Franklin Square for 42 years and her two children graduated from Washington Street School.

Throughout her kids’ education, Hoffman served as president of the Washington Street PTA, interschool PTA and Sewanhaka Central Council PTA. She has also served on Nassau Region PTA.

Hoffman currently serves as the state’s PTA president where she oversees all PTAs in the state. She works with educational partners throughout New York, including the School Superintendents Association, educational boards, elected officials and Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa. She attends many workshops and events about educational issues.

She is a member of the Franklin Square Historical Society and the Franklin Square Civic Association. She has served as a religious educator at Saint Catherine of Sienna and sat on the CBAC for nine years until 2006.

Professionally, Hoffman has worked in Sewanhaka Central High School District as a clerical for the last 20 years.

She is running for education board because she believes in the school district and wants to continue serving as an advocate for all children.

“I advocate for all children to get an equitable and fair education,” Hoffman said. She also believes that it is important for senior citizens to be represented on the education board.

If reelected, Hoffman said she would like to find different paths to communicate with the public to address parents’ concerns about communication with the board.

Domenico Ciaccio

Ciaccio has lived in Franklin Square since 2013, a community he believes has a lot of “neighborly love.” One of his children recently graduated Polk Street School, and his other child is currently enrolled there.

In the community, Ciaccio serves as the Franklin Square Chamber of Commerce secretary and is copresident of the Morton Civic Association. He works with the Franklin Square Civic Association and Communtiy League of Garden City South through these positions. He has also coached little league soccer with the Franklin Square Raiders.

Professionally, Ciaccio works as a vice president, Community Reinvestment Act officer and business banking manager at Ridgewood Savings Bank. He is a board member and treasurer of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. He is also a board member for Mercy Haven, a nonprofit organization based in Islip Terrace that focuses on temporary and permanent housing for people in need. Additionally, he is a New York Mortgage Coalition board member.

He is running for education board because he would like to bring a “parent’s voice” to the board as a father in the community. He wants to increase accountability and transparency on the board and serve as a “voice for tax payers.”

If elected, Ciaccio wants to bring new ideas to the board. He would like to focus on increasing the reading scores within the district and getting senior citizens more involved with the district through events.

He is running for Hoffman’s seat.

Daniel Donoghue

Donoghue has lived in Franklin Square for 11 years. He has three children enrolled in John Street School.

He has been active in youth development in the community, serving as an assistant den leader for Cub Scout Pack 372 and as an assistant little league coach with Franklin Square Little League. He volunteers as a religious educator at Saint Anne’s Church.

Professionally, Donoghue works as a chief operating officer at Transitional Services for New York, a mental health organization based in New York City. He has held this position for the past 12 years where he has a grasp of the complicated nature of budgeting an organization that receives funding from both state and federal municipalities. He frequently communicates with the community, and believes operating with the community as a partner is a strength to harness.

He is running for education board because he has been an advocate for his children’s education for the past five years and believes it is time to bring that advocacy to the board.

“I believe there are great areas for improvement with the schools and we have the building blocks to achieve them,” he said. He believes that a change in leadership on the board could help redirect the district towards further success.

If elected, Donoghue wants to repair trust with the community by creating open forums for communication and advance the district’s reading curriculum by supporting teachers with the tools for professional development.

He is running for Hansen’s seat.

Anna McCombs

McCombs has lived in Franklin Square for 18 years. Her son currently attends Polk Street School and her daughter will be starting pre-K in September.

She is an active member of Polk Street’s PTA and volunteers at school events. She is also a member of the Community League of Garden City South.

“Participation in this neighborhood is very important to me,” she said.

Professionally, McCombs is an attorney who focuses on real estate and litigation. Her profession is something that led her to run for a seat on the education board.

She is running for education board because she feels the board should serve as a proxy between residents and the school district administration.

“I wanted to be that voice for them,” McCombs said.

She wants to serve as a voice for the community at large and increase transparency and accountability on the board by communicating with residents.

If elected, McCombs wants to focus on what she considers the “A, B, Cs,” accountability, better choices and common-sense solutions. She also wants to increase fiscal responsibility of the board.

There are two major issues for McCombs would like to focus on. The first is restoring the district’s Integrated Co-Teaching program, also known as ICT, to full-day education to provide students the tools for success. The second is increasing reading proficiency across the district.

She is running for Hansen’s seat.