Write-in race for school board heating up in Greenport

05/19/2014 1:53 PM |


One write-in candidate for the Greenport Board of Education has turned to Facebook, every few hours updating a status asking her friends to vote for her. Another is promising through social media to bring refreshing change to the board, just like her name suggests. A third is asking for support from the community so he can be voted back on to the board after stepping down last year.

With one day to go before a write-in vote will determine the next member of the Greenport school board, at least four candidates have emerged. 

The write-in vote became necessary when no candidates submitted petitions to run for one open seat at the deadline last month. That seat was held up until last year by Michael Mazzaferro, 40, who is one of the five district candidates now asking for support when the polls open at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Mazzaferro, a corrections officer and the father of three kids in the district, said he resigned last year “mostly for work reasons,” but has missed it ever since. He said he picked up a petition this year, but never turned it in. With no candidates on the ballot in a year where a new superintendent will be at the helm of the district, he has since decided to launch a write-in campaign.

“We could definitely use someone with experience on the board,” said Mr. Mazzaferro, who resigned after five years of service and was replaced by Lisa Murray, who opted not to run this year

He said working with the new superintendent and expanding technology initiatives in the district would be his top priorities.

Rosalie Rung, 41, the mother of a sixth grader in the district, was the first to declare her candidacy, launching a website last month. She’s one of three first-time candidates seeking write-in votes tomorrow.

“I’ve been looking for different ways to get involved with the school,” said Ms. Rung, who has been living in the district full-time for a little more than a year. “I figured someone with past school board experience would file petitions. I was surprised that no one did, and decided that maybe this is a sign.”

Ms. Rung said she likes the school board’s current direction with education, especially in how it has committed to providing Chromebooks, iPads and laptops to students. To continue that momentum, she’d like to help the district secure programming available to schools, like free resources through Khan Academy, which provides students with academic help online.

Kirsten Droskoski, 49, is a lifelong Greenport resident — and the mother of two current Greenport students and one graduate — who said she’s thought about running in the past and finally made up her mind to do so this weekend after hearing from fellow residents who said they’d support her write-in candidacy.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do and a lot of my friends are kind of pushing me to do it,” said Ms. Droskoski, a board member for the Greenport Basketball Booster Club who has been involved with the PTA. “I’m always up at the school and doing for the school. I know the ins and outs.

A self-proclaimed “real local,” she said she doesn’t “think there are any issues” facing the district. “Except money, but that’s [an issue at districts] all around,” she added.

Angela Drinkwater, 47, is taking a different approach. She was the second candidate to launch a write-in campaign this year and she’s getting out the vote  by posting to social media a meme of a glass being filled with water. It reads: “If you’re looking for a truly refreshing change in the Greenport School District write in a vote this Tuesday for the person whose very name is refreshing. Drink Water!!! Thanks!!!”

“In a nutshell, I’m running to realign priorities and better communicate with parents and students to make sure their needs are better met and that we graduate more students each year,” she said.

The mother of two high school juniors pointed to anti-bullying programs as one area where the district has focused a lot of its efforts when there are other areas of need.

“I know it sounds horrible, but we need to spend less time on anti-bullying in a school with no real bullying problem and focus instead on making sure the 40 or so kids in the graduating class actually graduate,” she said.

Through her public relations business and volunteer efforts, she says she’s worked on the issues of missing and exploited children and food allergy rights. She says that experience would help her better serve the community.

Voting for the three-year term on the five-member school board will be held from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the school gymnasium.

Editor’s Note: A fifth rumored candidate did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Should he confirm his candidacy, this story will be updated later today.