Eight local school board incumbents are up for re-election this year. And so far, one is stepping down after her term, two have indicated they’re undecided on whether they’ll appear on the May 20 ballots, and another two are gearing up re-election runs. Three board members were unavailable for comment.
To gain a spot on the ballot, candidate petitions are due April 21, under state law.
GREENPORT (1 SEAT)
Lisa Murray, Greenport school board’s lone incumbent up for re-election, has decided not to seek another term citing personal reasons.
Ms. Murray was appointed to the board last summer to serve out the remaining year of Michael Mazzaferro’s term after he resigned, also due to personal reasons.
Prior to her appointment, the mother of two school-aged children was first elected to the board in 2009 and served until 2012. After she decided not to seek re-election, no one petitioned to run for the seat. Babette Cornine then won with 50 write-in votes.
In an interview last week, Ms. Murray said the reason why she served on the board was because she wanted to get involved with improvement plans to restore the district’s aging facilities. One of the completed projects she’s particularly proud of is the newly renovated auditorium.
“I’m thrilled with the capital improvement projects and happy I helped to guide and to see it through,” said Ms. Murray, who has a background in architecture. “It was a good time.”
MATTITUCK-CUTCHOGUE (2 SEATS)
Two of the seven seats on the Mattituck-Cutchogue board will be up for grabs in May.
Vice president Charles Anderson said last week he hasn’t decided if he’ll seek another three-year term. This summer will mark the 12th year he’s served on the school board. The facilities manager at Suffolk County National Bank in Riverhead worked as a junior high school soccer and basketball coach in the district before joining the board and has two grown sons who graduated from Mattituck High School.
President Jerry Diffley, also a Mattituck parent, has served on the board since 1999. He was not available for comment.
NEW SUFFOLK (1 SEAT)
One seat on New Suffolk’s three-member board is up for re-election.
Tony Dill, an architect and current school board president who was first elected in 2002. He was not available for comment.
SOUTHOLD (2 SEATS)
Two people who sit on the board are both up for re-election in May.
Scott DeSimone, a Southold attorney, confirmed this week that he’ll seek another three-year term. But Scott Latham, a Southold police sergeant, was not available for comment.
OYSTERPONDS (2 SEATS)
Orient residents Janice Caufield and Jeff Demarest are both up for re-election on the seven-member board.
Ms. Caufield, who was first elected in 2011 and currently serves as vice president, is one of the few North Fork incumbents who has already decided to run for re-election.
She said she’s looking forward to serving another three-year term in order to build upon the success of new structural changes at the school and help implement new enrichment and STEM programs.
“I really enjoy serving on the board,” Ms. Caufield said. “There’s a lot of positive energy. Kids are happy. Teachers and parents are happy. It’s been a pleasure.”
Mr. Demarest, who was also first elected to the board in 2011, said this week he hasn’t decided if he’ll run again.
He also said he’s pleased with the recent changes at the school and hopes the positivity continues.
“The staff has done a great job,” he said. “They bought into the program and have worked hard before and during the school year.”