CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Three people are running uncontested for three seats on the Lakeland Central School District Board of Education. The budget and trustee vote will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, 3100 East Main St., Mohegan Lake.

BECKY BURFEIND

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background, education and experience.

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I am a 17-year resident of Cortlandt, and have had two children go through Lakeland Central School District schools. My oldest is just completing his freshman year of college and my youngest will graduate Walter Panas High School next year.

Most of my working career was spent in the travel industry. I held positions in management, including staffing and budgeting, training and security within the airline industry; and later handled corporate travel with a worldwide travel management company. I took a 16-year sabbatical from professional life to be a full-time mom. I was a part-time fitness instructor for five years during that time. I returned to corporate life in 2016 and am currently the office manager for a local financial/retirement planning firm.

I am involved with the Children’s Heart Foundation – NY Chapter, and strive to raise awareness and support for children and families living with Congenital Heart Disease.

Why do you want to be a member of the Lakeland Central School District Board of Education?

I have volunteered within the Lakeland Central School District for 14 years. From class parent to president of the parent’s organization, and many clubs and committees in between, I have been involved from the time my children started kindergarten through graduation. For the past two-and-a-half years, in addition to being the president of the Walter Panas High School parent’s organization, I have also been a member of the district Parent’s Council and the Walter Panas Building Emergency Response Team.

I have a passion to see our children succeed through quality education and programs and to become the citizens who will shape the world of tomorrow. I have supported our students, our teachers, our schools and our district for many years and welcome the opportunity to be part of the governance to ensure they are offered the tools and instruction needed to succeed.

What is a top priority for the Lakeland School District going forward?

I believe the top priority for the Lakeland Central School District is to uphold and advance the mission of educating and preparing our students through academics and extracurricular programs so that every child has the tools to succeed in life. We support the arts, competitive sports and make available to each student a variety of extracurricular and academic pathways to enable them to reach their fullest potential.

We must continue to provide a safe and secure environment for all students by building on the initiatives already implemented along with those proposed for the future. We also must continue capital improvements and facility updates to promote safety and increase efficiency for our facilities while remaining responsible with the district’s budget. And just as importantly, we must ensure that teachers and staff have the resources to do their jobs effectively and to promote community among all students while teaching respect, kindness and ethical behavior.

ADAM KAUFMAN

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background, education and experience.

I was born and raised in Yonkers, where I graduated from Roosevelt High School. I am the son of a retired high school teacher (mom) and a sales rep (dad). I moved to Yorktown Heights 12 years ago, and I have two children, ages 14 and 12, who both attend Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School.

I have a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University at Albany, a master’s degree in mathematics education from Lehman College, and a master’s degree in school building leadership from Mercy College. For the past 22 years, I have worked as an educator for the Yonkers Public Schools as both a math teacher and, for the past 12 years, an assistant principal. I currently work at Lincoln High School. I have been a volunteer coach for the Shrub Oak Athletic Club for the past six years, and for the past two, I have served on its Board of Directors as the director of football. 

Why do you want to be a member of the Lakeland Central School District Board of Education?

The Lakeland Central School District has become a part of my life since the day my family moved to this community. Education is the foundation for achievement, and I believe that it is a school district’s responsibility to provide the greatest possible opportunities for children to achieve their maximum potential. Because of my background and experience in the field of education, I feel as though I would bring a new and unique perspective to the Board of Education. 

Each day of my life, I live the day-to-day operation of a public high school. This keeps me acutely attuned to current trends in education, understanding the social/emotional mindset of children, and a finger on the pulse of the needs of those responsible for educating our youth. I believe that our school district has done great things, and I would like to be a part of the team that continues to move the district forward. There is always much to be done and, if elected, I look forward to working with the current Board of Education to continue to provide a high-quality education for our students, and to help create those opportunities for them to realize that potential.

What is a top priority for the Lakeland School District going forward?

The top priority for any school district must begin and end with the students. Our district must continue to embrace its philosophy of preparing students for a rapidly changing world. We need to continue to challenge students’ thinking in order to achieve a high academic standard. We need to continue to enrich our children’s experiences beyond the classroom so that they understand what it means to be part of an interconnected world. Safety and security must stay at the top of the district’s list of priorities, as our world becomes more unpredictable each day. We need to continue to build up the district’s infrastructure while we modernize facilities to meet the demands of educating our children. Lastly, we need to continue to be fiscally responsible to the community, ensuring that our teachers and schools have the tools they need to provide the best education possible to our students.

ROBERT MAYES

Who are you? Provide a brief overview of your background, education and experience.

I am a fifth-generation resident of the town of Cortlandt, the son of a retired Lakeland teacher, and the father of a third grader and kindergartener at Lincoln-Titus Elementary School. I attended Lincoln-Titus Elementary School, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, and Walter Panas High School. I hold a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University at Albany and a law degree from the University of Florida.

I have dedicated my career to public service, working for both state and local government, and served for more than a decade as a Westchester County assistant district attorney. I have been a member of the board of directors of several non-profits, volunteer with Cortlandt American Little League and am a past vice-president of the Lincoln-Titus PTA.

I was elected to the Lakeland Central School District Board of Education last year, to an unexpired term, and am now seeking a full term on the Board of Education.

Why do you want to be a member of the Lakeland Central School District Board of Education?

As a proud graduate of Lakeland schools, whose children now attend Lakeland schools, my commitment to our district runs deep. The Lakeland Central School District has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and my education in Lakeland schools formed the bedrock of my educational and professional achievements. Watching my children flourish in this district, and being a Lakeland school board trustee, has renewed my appreciation for our schools.  With my children just beginning their education, Lakeland will continue to be part of my life for many years to come. 

I want to continue serving on the Lakeland Central School District Board of Education because I’ve now seen first-hand that being a trustee is demanding, but immensely rewarding. I believe you only get out what you put in, and over the past year I’ve been all in. I have not missed a single board meeting or a single committee meeting. I am a member of the Safety and Security, District Parents Council, Legislative Advocacy and Capital Projects committees. I believe our district is doing great things, but I also believe there is plenty of more work to do.

If re-elected, I plan to continue collaborating with all who contribute to Lakeland’s success and will strive to balance competing interests and work toward common goals. I believe that a high-quality education leads to a brighter future, and I want to see Lakeland continue to maximize the potential of each and every student, much as it did for me.

What is a top priority for the Lakeland School District going forward?

Above all, our district must prioritize an educational philosophy that seeks to achieve academic growth for all students. We need to provide a curriculum that uplifts students who need help, challenges those in the middle, and enriches our more advanced performers. I support arts-rich schools, with competitive athletics, that offer varied extracurricular activities. Second, we need to continue modernizing our existing infrastructure. We must make long-term plans to maximize the value of our dollars and provide top-notch facilities for use by students and the community. We have already made great strides in this area with the placement of air conditioning in all classroom, the ongoing Lakeland High School fields project and planned projects at many of the other schools.

Next, in today’s world, the safety and security of our schools is also a concern. I plan to continue using my more than a decade of experience in working with Westchester County law enforcement agencies to make sure our schools take every measure necessary to protect our children, but at the same time remain a welcoming, nurturing environment for students to learn.

Last, but certainly not least, finances are always a top priority for our district. That is why I work to provide Lakeland’s teachers and students with the tools they need to achieve excellence, but remain mindful of our obligation to be careful stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.