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Brighton-Pittsford Post
  • Three vie for two Brighton School Board seats

  • Board Vice President Rome Celli is not seeking re-election after six years on the board. The board has three candidates running for two open seats. Incumbent Morton Stein is seeking re-election, while Andrea Costanza and Linda Eckel Mendelson are seeking their first terms.

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  • The Brighton Board of Education is assured of having at least one new face at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.
    Board Vice President Rome Celli is not seeking re-election after six years on the board. Celli said he has too many responsibilities and wants to focus on his family and career.
    “I needed to find a place I could pare back,” Celli said. “I committed six years and I loved every minute of it.”
    The board has three candidates running for two open seats. Incumbent Morton Stein is seeking re-election, while Andrea Costanza and Linda Eckel Mendelson are seeking their first terms.
    Brighton Central School District residents will vote on two candidates as well as the $62.3 million budget proposal from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 18 at Brighton High School, 1150 S. Winton Road.
    Morton Stein
    Incumbent
    Age: 67
    Career: Former teacher in Brighton schools, currently adjunct teacher at University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education
    Education: Doctorate in science education from the University of Rochester; certificate of advanced studies in educational administration from SUNY Brockport; master’s in education from Nazareth College; bachelor’s in educational psychology from SUNY Brockport
    Family: Wife, Diane; and children, Dr. Scott Stein and Robin Stein, who both graduated from Brighton; four grandchildren, two of whom are in the district
    Years on the board: 3.5 years
    What can you do for the Brighton School District?
    “I know the needs of the students being a curriculum specialist myself, so looking at and knowing the best programs available to students today; and hopefully being able to implement and process those that are important educationally to students; and knowing how hard and how difficult the teaching position is and the multiplicity of responsibilities teachers have. Being able to support them when they need to look at program and program development. And being a senior citizen, looking at the current budgetary situation knowing the importance of maintaining a budget that is amenable to the school and the children, but also the senior citizens.”
    What’s the biggest issue facing Brighton students and taxpayers in the upcoming years, and how can the school board address this issue?
    “For students it’s the constant and ongoing changes in technology. We need to make sure our children have accessibility to new and innovative techniques within technology. As far as seniors go, trying to maintain a budgetary process that would be important to them. Considering the budgetary constraints we’re under, we’ve done an excellent job. We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had a group of administrators and teachers that have worked diligently. The cuts made were as far from students as possible.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Why did you originally run for the school board, and why have you continued to do so?
    “I taught in Brighton for 32 years. It was probably the best 32 years of my life (outside of 46 years of being married to my wife). I just felt it was important for me to give back to Brighton. That’s the main reason I decided to run for the school board. What I would be able to give to the school board is my knowledge of students, my knowledge of the community — and, being a senior citizen myself, that we need to watch our spending and budgetary process very carefully.”
     
    Linda Eckel Mendelson
    Challenger
    Age: 45
    Career: Homemaker; previously adjunct faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology and scientist at Bausch and Lomb
    Education: Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology; Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Rochester
    Family: Husband, Dr. Daniel Mendelson; and daughters Lianna and Megan, who attend Brighton High School and Twelve Corners Middle School, respectively.
    Years on the board: None (but she’s a Brighton PTSA member)
    What can you do for the Brighton school district?
    “My goal as a new member of the Board of Education will be to bring a fresh perspective to the Board of Education. As a former educator and as a parent of two Brighton students, I can see the strengths and weaknesses of the school district. I plan to use my knowledge and experience with students to guide my decisions.”
    What’s the biggest issue facing Brighton students and taxpayers in the upcoming years?
    “The biggest issue is maintaining high academic standards and extra-curricular programs while dealing with current budgetary concerns.”
    How can the school board address this issue?
    “It is the responsibility of the Board of Education to create a climate that promotes quality education. We must continue to grow and develop our resources to serve our entire and diverse student population in the best and most responsible ways. As a new member of the school board, I hope that my new viewpoint can aid in finding creative ideas to help keep Brighton as one of the best school districts in the area.”
    Why are you running for school board?
    “I believe that as community members, it is vital that we volunteer in areas that allow us to make a difference. I have previously volunteered many hours as a room parent and helped with numerous school activities. I would now like to use those experiences and insight to make a broader impact at a district level. I know that being a school board member is an important responsibility that requires a commitment of time and energy, and I am prepared to give both. It would be my honor and privilege to serve as the newest member of the BCSD Board of Education.”
    Page 3 of 3 - Andrea Costanza
    Challenger
    Age: 47
    Career: Homemaker and community volunteer
    Education: Bachelor’s degree in business management and French from Nazareth College
    Family: Husband, Jim; children, Ben and Kate, who attend Twelve Corners Middle School.
    Years on the board: None (current Brighton PTSA president)
    What can you do for the Brighton school district?
    “As a parent of children currently attending school in the district, I hope to provide a ‘voice’ for this population and look at innovative ways to provide a rich educational and extra-curricular experience while being mindful of the diverse population of the district.”
    What’s the biggest issue facing Brighton students and taxpayers in the upcoming years?
    “Providing quality education while facing cuts in state funding.”
    How can the school board address this issue?
    “By continually looking at ways to make the appropriate cuts that will not affect the educational experience for our children while being fiscally responsible to all the taxpayers of Brighton.”
    Why are you running for school board?
    “I believe I have a well-balanced approach to handling the current financial demands as well as the educational expectations of the Brighton Central School District. Our children are the future of this country, and school districts play a role in giving them the necessary tools to become successful and productive citizens. Being a member of the Board of Education is one way I can be part of that. I have served in numerous volunteer positions in Brighton and within the PTSA, currently as president, and I feel this is a natural progression for me to continue to give back to the BCSD community that has thus far provided my children with an exceptional educational experience."
     
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