Monday, August 27, 2012

Go Quakers! Greeley Football 2012!!

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the Editor of NewCastleNOW:

To the Editor:

I want to thank you for printing the story, Monday Night Lights - An Invitation to see the Quakers Practice on Rec Field”.  I write wearing many hats.  Most prominently, I am a School Board Member and I am the father of both a Varsity (and a JV) football player.

I am writing to encourage the entire community to come out tonight from 6:00 to 8:00pm to watch the football team prepare for its season.  As both a father and Board Member I cannot express well enough how proud I am of this team and these players.  Regardless of their won-loss record this year, these boys have already proven themselves winners.  They have overcome adversity, uncertainty and forced change.

While the football program has been under scrutiny recently, most members of the community and district are not aware when the football program is spoken about what being part of the program really means.  Coach Tribou taught so much to these boys.  Many of those lessons were about football, about being in shape and being prepared.  However, he taught these boys so much more than the X’s and O’s of football. 

Above all else, he taught these boys about teamwork, about supporting each other, about honor, integrity, duty and love.  Imagine my surprise listening to my first Tribou speech at the strongman a few years ago when all he talked about was family, honoring your parents, loving your teammate and respecting your teachers.  20 minutes of Billy ranting and raving and not one thing was said about football.  Bill Tribou had a knack for taking students disengaged with school, screwing up in life or simply directionless and giving them focus and motivation to make the most of themselves, to respect themselves and appreciate themselves.  While many may quibble with his methods, none can question his intent.

Football, unlike many sports here at Greeley is a year round commitment.  As it turns out, it is a parental commitment too.  Twice a week, all winter and spring long, the boys work on strength and conditioning in the Greeley weight room.  At 6:30am.  The attendance rate is over 95% every Wednesday and Friday.  And, since offseason workouts consist of Juniors, Sophomores and Freshman, none of them have permission to drive to school; a parent is dropping these boys off at 6:20am twice a week.  During the season, there are walkthrough meals to contribute to, ice packs to be administered, post game meals and the unspoken worst part of being a football parent, the rides from practice or games with some of the smelliest equipment and bodies you will ever encounter.  If you see a car with its windows down in 40 degree fall weather leaving Greeley, you know why.

Since April, they have dealt with the uncertainty of who would be coaching this year.  That was not resolved until this summer.  We welcome Tim Sullivan, Greeley grad, longtime assistant coach, Yorktown High guidance counselor and Chappaqua business owner (Quaker Hill).  While Tim is obviously his own man, he takes the same holistic approach to the team as Coach Tribou.  He and his staff have already built a rapport with the players.

It fell to the captains, Teddy Graves, Cory Ekstrom, Brent LoBien and Billy Marino to lead and motivate the players through the spring.  They stepped up big time.  They kept the team informed of the latest updates all spring.  They lead by example in the weight room.  They helped plan for the coming season.  They passed their football knowledge down to the underclassmen.  What most people, even other football parents don’t know is that being the parent of a captain is a HUGE commitment as well.

A special thanks to the Graves, the Ekstroms, the LoBiens and the Marinos who have stepped up and taken the lead.  I thank them for their polite yet determined advocacy with the administration on behalf of the boys, with their generosity in time and resources, and in their unwavering commitment to the team.  Incredibly enough, each captain’s parents are given a 5” thick binder of how to support the team throughout the year.  They organize the spring Strongman competition non-football activities, the preseason dinner, the post game meals, the walkthru dinners, the game day merchandise sales, the preseason dinner, the merchandise orders, they coordinate with the coaches, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Thank you!

The boys are two weeks away from their first game at Brewster on September 7th.  So far they have dealt with losing a beloved coach, getting used to a new coach, being told that there was not going to be a trip to camp this year, and with repeated changes to what was years of routine. Almost weekly they were told something else is changing.

For the last week and a half they have come together, twice a day, once at 7:30 - 9:30 and again from 11:30 to 2:00, to put all the bs aside and play some football.  I had the pleasure of watching two practices so far and I am happy to report they are focused and determined to have a successful season. 

Come out tonight and watch them practice.  There will be hot dogs, drinks and other food items available.  The team is hoping this will become a yearly tradition.  Its intent is to give back to the youth football program (ably led by Pete Zimmerman, Greeley grad and owner of EZ Sports) so many of them started in, and to create a family event for the entire community.  Bring the entire family. 

Come see how 40 high school boys can overcome, ignore and put aside all the politics, limitations and changes imposed on them by us adults and work toward their common goal of being great teammates and a successful football team.



Monday, May 14, 2012

CCSD Budget Vote May 15th!

Please get out and vote on the school budget.  I personally am advocating for a "YES" vote.  This is a fiscally responsible budget that preserves academic programs.


  • Tax increase is less than allowed under the new tax cap legislation
  • Last budget under the existing CCT contract
  • No material program cuts
  • Uses $3 million in reserves
  • Endorsed by the New Castle Citizens for Responsible Education
  • Endorsed by the PTA.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

3/6/2012 Board of Ed Meeting

Budget presentation and legislative mandate discussion for first 1:35, concerned baseball parents starting at 1:36 followed by regular business.  The public comments continue after we conclude the business.  Some commenters from the first comment section return to the podium.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BOCES Follow-Up

On Tuesday January 19th, the Board of Ed voted unanimously to reject the BOCES proposition.  We believe that while the work needs to be done and we have an obligation to the consortium to participate, there are better, less costly and more efficient alternatives.  This is not a symbolic protest vote, it is a genuine vote against the current proposal.  But, we seek to offer alternatives to that proposal.

Our Director of Facilities has already met with his BOCES counterpart, and we are prepared to make several significant and specific suggestions on how to change the proposal to make it more effective and less costly.  We are also prepared to meet with other members to establish a facilities advisory board to help BOCES plan this project and their facilities projects going forward.

Below is an email exchange with BOCES following the vote.


I wanted to follow up with you as I know that our district clerk spoke with you about our vote last night. 

We are eager to work with you and the other component districts to develop long term solutions to the facilities problems.  We feel very strongly that by pooling our intellectual resources we will find the best way to ensure that our fiscal resources are used in the most beneficial and sustainable manner.

Our no vote in no way implies that we are attempting to eschew our obligations and we recognize that as part owner of these facilities we need to help support them.

Additionally, we sincerely appreciate and value the programs and services that PNW BOCES provides to our students and teachers.

We would very much like to meet with you, other district board members and their facilities directors in a collective brainstorming environment and see if we can move these projects forward in way that works for everyone. 

I look forward to working with you.


Alyson Gardner Kiesel
President, Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education

We received the following email in reply:


Thank you so much for going the extra mile to reach out to us. Your district clerk, Theresa Markley did a wonderful job relaying the message from the Board about the vote and your ideas for moving forward. I spoke with Dr. Langlois, our Superintendent, about the ideas from you and your fellow Board members this morning. We both agree that meeting to find a way to address our capital needs is a good idea.  I will speak with Jim tomorrow so we can start planning to get together.

I want to thank you and your fellow Board members for your willingness to be a part of the solution for our capital needs.


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