School district officials announced the resignation of longtime Oysterponds Board of Education member and former president Linda Goldsmith at last Tuesday’s meeting.
Ms. Goldsmith, of East Marion, did not attend the meeting but fellow board members acknowledged her 29 years working in the district.
Re-elected board president Jeffrey Demarest said Ms. Goldsmith had served since July 1988 and was president for nine years. During her tenure, he said, she attended over 360 board meetings, contributed volunteer hours on behalf of the school and “demonstrated both a personal and professional passion for the children and educational issues in her community.”
“Whether crafting policies, hiring top-notch administrators, listening to staff and student concerns, improving the physical plant, using her well-known candor and heartfelt honesty, Linda has been an invaluable player in the smooth running of this district,” Mr. Demarest said.
Ms. Goldsmith also represented the district on the board of the East End Health Plan from July 2000 to June 2009.
School board members in Oysterponds serve for three years. Ms. Goldsmith, 67, said her term was due to expire in July 2021.
Ms. Goldsmith said she hopes the board will put a proposition before voters to reduce board membership from seven people to six, something she said she’s advocated for. If that proposition were to pass next May, she said, it would take effect in 2021, when her term ends.
At this time, according to Superintendent Richard Malone, the board has two options: appoint someone to complete Ms. Goldsmith’s term or operate with the vacancy for its duration.
“She believes the district is in good hands,” Mr. Malone said. “Her decision to leave was a personal decision. It’s nothing that she’s finding fault with. It’s nothing that caused her [to step down], other than, I think, her personal life. She and I have talked about this, and I expected it.”
Ms. Goldsmith said her family has lived in the district for four generations. She said she was not planning to run again in 2021 and feels the upcoming district renovations — including parking lot updates – should be started and completed with the same board.
“Why not let them start the projects the way they want to and do it the way they think they should without my input?” she said. “They’re excellent people and they know what they’re doing … I think they can do just fine. It’s just my time.”
Mr. Malone mentioned that Ms. Goldsmith is preoccupied by serving on the Eastern Suffolk BOCES board of directors, where she was just elected to a second term last April by representatives of school boards across the North and South forks.
“I think she’s trying to downsize some of her commitments rather than spreading herself so thin,” he said. “She’s going out feeling very good about the work she’s doing.”
The district plans a formal recognition event to honor Ms. Goldsmith in late August or early September, but details have not been finalized, Mr. Malone said.
Caption: Linda Goldsmith at the 2015 nominating convention for the Southold Town Democratic Committee. (Credit: Grant Parpan)