NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - In a year that has seen the norms of education upended everywhere, residents of North Salem will cast votes in a different way this year to decide the future of their schools.

Mail-in ballots must be in the hands of the district clerk by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 9.

Today, the three candidates—incumbents Andrew Brown and Kurt Guldan and newcomer Eric Buzzetto —who are seeking two three-year terms on the board respond to questions from The North Salem News, describing themselves and sharing why they are seeking the volunteer position. 

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Andrew Brown

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background and experience.  
My wife and I moved to North Salem in January 1989, and have raised two children who are successful graduates of our North Salem schools. I retired from the NYPD in 2004 after being a Precinct Training Sergeant for 11 years. I have been a member of the North Salem Police Department since then. I have a degree in finance and except for a semester of student teaching, I have completed the coursework for a master’s in education. Over the years I have either coached and/or helped run youth soccer, baseball, softball, basketball and hockey. I have been on the town’s Recreation Committee over 25 years and through all of this I have been motivated to help the people of our community.

Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
I am a 12-year incumbent on the Board of Education but have been involved with the school for much longer. I have just started my third session of the board’s Labor Negotiations Committee. In addition, I have served on the Facilities Committee for 20 years and on the Safety Committee for 14 years. Through all of this I have strived to seek solutions that bring the greatest benefit to our children while getting the most value for our taxpayers.

What is a top priority for the school board as the North Salem School District adjusts to academic life during and/or after the coronavirus emergency?  
I am hoping that the voters return me to the BOE because our present situation screams out for someone with experience in troubling times. I have been part of boards that navigated through some very emotional and tragic events. I have demonstrated clear thinking, which considers all stakeholders, that will be required in order for us to move out of the mire we currently face. I want to be part of the effort to get ourselves back to normal. We must then find a way to continue providing the quality education that makes North Salem one of the best school districts in the state. To accomplish this goal, I look forward to finding ways to work with our administrators, not against them. 
Our top post-coronavirus priority must be creating an educational environment that allows our children to flourish while keeping them safe. Just as important, however, is never forgetting that many of our community members, who will have to pay the bill, have suffered unprecedented financial hardship. This seeming paradox requires a board member with experience to successfully arrive at a workable solution.

Eric Buzzetto
 

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background and experience.
My entire career has been dedicated to serving our community and educating students. I’ve been an educator in the Brewster Central School District for 17 years now and have spent the last decade as your varsity girls basketball coach at North Salem High School. I was born here in North Salem and was lucky enough to live and raise my own family here in our community. Throughout the years in North Salem I have been a parent, community member and a community volunteer. This community is where I want our three children to be educated and grow up proud to say they are graduates of North Salem High School just like I am.

Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
I’ve decided to run for a seat on the BOE because I think my experience and perspective will serve us well with short- and long-range decisions that must be made by the board. I will always stand for integrity and open governance. I will always advocate for the children of North Salem. Together we can be a bridge from the community to the school district.  Transparency is the most important thing for a board to have and I believe that is something I will bring to the board.

What is a top priority for the school board as the North Salem School District adjusts to academic life during and/or after the coronavirus emergency?  
As a teacher myself who is teaching students remotely, and also teaching two of our children at home, it can be stressful. I would love to push more professional development for the teachers to gain access and knowledge to teach remotely. This is such a new venue to all of us and the more we learn about it will only benefit the students of North Salem.

Kurt Guldan

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background and experience.
I am a local business owner. I have been a member of the Croton Falls Fire Department and North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps since I was in high school. I have served as a firefighter, EMT, and president of the ambulance corps. I also serve the community as the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator. I have been on the Board of Education for three years.

Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
I have served on the Communication, Safety and Audit committees. I have helped with many of the school safety drills and coordinated with the local agencies to test the emergency response plans of the district. I would like to continue working with the board to get the sewer system connected, continue working on the safety protocols of the district and different education programs for the students.

What is a top priority for the school board as the North Salem School District adjusts to academic life during and/or after the coronavirus emergency?  
The North Salem School District Board of Education is working on ensuring the safety and wellness of all of the students, faculty and visitors so we can hopefully resume as soon as the guidelines allow. 

 

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