UPDATE: Election results available here.

Laurie Donato

Candidate for Mount Pleasant Trustee

18 Aspen Way, Thornwood

Incumbent: Yes

Age: 49

Employment: Senior Database Analyst

Education: BBA in Management Information Systems from Pace University.

Tenure: I have been a resident of Thornwood for 15 ˝ years.

ldonato@mtplcsd.org

Q&A

Election Central: Why are you running for office or seeking re-election?

Donato: I have a passion for education and have found my six years as a member of the school board to be very rewarding. The district has moved in a positive direction over the past few years, but there is more work to be done. Our district is currently reviewing the possibility of upgrading our facilities through a new bond proposal and I would like to be involved in the process. We have a very effective board and work well as a team. I have a deep connection with the school district and want to ensure that every student receives the best education possible.

Election Central: What in your personal, civic or professional experience recommends your election or return to office?

Donato: I am very dedicated to my position as a Board of Education member and take my role very seriously. The educational excellence of the school district is extremely important to me. My profession as a database analyst requires me to delve deep into problems and research solutions. I am an attentive listener and an effective team member. Two of my greatest strengths are my communication skills and my ability to work effectively in a team environment. I have formed relationships with parents, teachers, students and administrators and look forward to working with them to continually improve the educational quality of the school district. I am approachable and many parents contact me directly with comments and concerns. I listen attentively and convey concerns to the rest of the board at meetings.

Election Central: What would be your top three priorities if you are elected or re-elected?

Donato: (1) Adopt a bond proposal that will provide the district with the necessary building improvements needed in order to enhance the educational experience for all students. The science labs at the secondary level are well below the standard size and need to be upgraded to allow for a more collaborative learning environment. We need to continually balance the needs of the school district while still being fiscally responsible to the community. I will guarantee community input is solicited and there will be many forums to discuss every detail of the bond proposal. There will be tours of the school buildings to ensure that the community experiences the need for improvement first hand.

(2)The implementation of the Common Core Standards has been extremely challenging for the district. It is difficult for everyone involved: teachers, students, parents and administrators. Our district is not alone; every district across the country is facing the same obstacles. I would like to see more communication surrounding the Common Core and add helpful links to the website. As a Board, we need to continue to meet with local legislators to explain the challenges the district is encountering due to the common core standards as well as the high stakes testing that accompanies it. We have to continue to reach out to other districts and take part in “grass roots” efforts in order for our voices to be heard. This is not a battle to be fought by one district alone, we must partner with other districts to motivate change.

(3) Improve the lines of communication among the Board of Education, the administration, teachers, parents, students and the community. Information must flow among these groups constantly and in a timely manner. Everyone must work together to achieve the common goal of a high quality education for every student in the district. There must be mutual respect and open communication in order to achieve this goal. Over the past few years our website has been enhanced, but there is still room for improvement. Pertinent information should be posted on the website and sent to homes in the community in a timely manner. More community forums need to be planned in order to foster new ideas which will make the district the best that it can be.