The vote for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District 2023-2024 budget as well as the vote for the Board of Education candidates will be held Tuesday, May 16, 2023. Voting is open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. in the Oyster Bay High School Chorus Room. The candidates are Laurie Kowalsky, William Henry, Caitlin Amatrudo and Nicole Verdone.
The following is background information about the candidates, as well as a summary of what their main goals will be throughout their term.
Incumbent Laurie Kowalsky is the current school board president. She is proud to have led the search that ended with Dr. Francesco Ianni serving as superintendent. She is also proud to have helped pass a bond that would bring the facilities up to 21st-century learning and navigate the district through the pandemic. She eventually helped bring the students back to in-person learning. In addition, she helped champion the introduction of an orchestra, a golf and sailing program, robotics at the high school and musical theater at the elementary school level. She’s been advocating for foreign language instruction in the elementary school starting with Mandarin. And soon there will be a rotation of languages. Kowalsky, with the board, also brought universal busing to the school district, among other improvements to the district.
Kowalsky started her career working as an electrical engineer at Gruman before attending law school. She now works as a patent attorney. Her skills in technology and law have been extremely useful for the board. If re-elected, Kowalsky plans to focus on academics.
William Henry was inspired to run for school board based on his desire to give back to the community that he grew up in and where he is currently raising his children. He graduated from Oyster Bay High School in 1991. He is a state certified real estate appraiser and second vice president at one of the largest regional banks in the country. Previously, he was the president and CEO of a real estate appraisal firm and managed a team of staff and independent fee appraisers. His professional knowledge and experience would be an asset to the board and, he speaks highly of the current sitting trustees. If elected to the board, he plans to focus on program offerings, practical solutions and increased transparency, accountability and communication.
A second generation Oyster Bay resident and the mother of two Theodore Roosevelt Elementary students, Caitlin Amatrudo, if elected, plans to focus on academic excellence, the diverse student body and their needs, maintaining and improving the facilities and continuing the success of the schools in areas like foreign language, sports, graduation rates and improved test scores. Amatrudo says she’d always make herself available to parents, teachers and students and their feedback and concerns. Amatrudo has served as a member of the on-site team based at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary in order to meet with principals and teachers to discuss concerns. She is a PTA member, a local animal rescuer and she has a strong background in pediatric nursing and intensive care.
Nicole Verdone has first-hand experience as a parent with children in the district when it comes to the educational needs of the district’s students. Her dual Masters degree in elementary and special education, as well as two decades in the education field, compounds that experience by providing a comprehensive understanding of the policies and procedures that support effective teaching and learning. She also understands the importance to all stakeholders, and believes fostering a strong partnership between the district and the community is essential for shared success. Her primary goal as a trustee would be to promote excellence and continuous growth in early childhood education; inclusive education and support for children with special needs; English Language Learner support; parent involvement and curriculum training; professional development; community engagement and collaboration; responsible and balanced technology use; elite opportunities for student-athletes; and advanced opportunities for academic excellence.