Saturday, May 18, 2013

Candidate Statement and Brief Biography for NCN

I was asked to submit a biography and candidate statement for publication in NewCastleNOW.  Here is what I submitted.

Jeffrey S. Mester:  Candidate Statement and Biography

Candidate Statement

This is my third time running for the School Board and I can safely say that the oddity of running for a volunteer position never seems to go away.  We are asking you, the community, to select us as the best, most appropriate volunteer.  So, first, I would like to recognize my fellow candidates, Warren and Rick, for their willingness to volunteer.  I admire their decision to offer to commit their time to the community.
One of the reasons I originally ran for the Board six years ago was because of my strong belief in my responsibility as a community member to serve our community in a way that best suits my qualifications with the community's needs.  That remains true today.

New York State says the qualifications for school board membership are an ability to read and write, be  a qualified voter, and be a resident of the district for at least one year prior to the election.   Not a very high bar indeed. 

Any candidate that receives enough votes can be a member of the Board of Education, but to be an effective member of the Board requires much much more.   It is not simply about being smart and having the time.   It is not about representing one segment of the community.

As  one of my fellow candidates will learn, there is a lot more to the job than the hot button issues.  It is easy to identify problems; it is much harder to offer solutions and make decisions.  I am the only candidate who can stand on a proven, successful track record of doing just that.

Being a school board member is about, first and foremost,  having a passion for education.  It is also about understanding education law and regulations, about understanding the budget, and about listening.  Listening to the community, listening to the students, listening to the administrators, listening to the staff,  and listening to your own gut.

Going forward, I will continue to work for ALL members of the community to reach responsible budgets.  I will further seek to reduce the burden on taxpayers by strengthening the public-private partnerships such as with the Chappaqua School Foundation and the Sports Boosters.  I will continue to support openness and transparency.  I will continue to support and seek public involvement and input. 

The Board cannot and should not face the challenges ahead alone.  We need community involvement and support. I will seek to bring the various interest groups including residents with children in the schools as well as residents without, and district personnel together to collectively and creatively find sustainable solutions for our district.

For the past six years, I have worked tirelessly on behalf of the members of this community to be an effective member of the school board.  It requires a person with an extensive and detailed knowledge of the district, a complete understanding of the budget and the structural budget issues the district faces, a person who can make practical and reasoned decisions, a person who is flexible and can build consensus, a person who can balance competing community interests, and a person who has vision and conviction.  There is no experience like direct experience and a proven track record.  I stand on mine.

Simply put, common sense with an uncommon commitment.

Brief Biography

I am 51 years old.  I have three terrific children one of whom graduated from HGHS last year and two currently in high school.  All three started in the district in Kindergarten at Roaring Brook Elementary School, attended Seven Bridges Middle School, and then went on to Horace Greeley High School.  My professional background is in the trading of equities and equity derivatives.  Most recently, I have been in the compliance side of the business.  I have an undergraduate BA in Economics from the University of Virginia and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the Kelllogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. 

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