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Meet the Candidates

April 21, 2016

On Tuesday, May 17, residents will elect three Board of Education members for the seats currently held by Jennifer Kelly, Ellen Nesin and Stacey Sharoff during the district's annual budget vote. All terms are for three years.

All Monticello Central School District teachers, staff and community members are invited to attend the Monticello Teachers’ Association's annual Meet the Board of Education Candidates Night on Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m. in the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School cafeteria.

The candidates, in ballot order, are:

John Kiefer - Running for Jennifer Kelly’s vacated seat

"I am a graduate of the MCSD. I graduated from SUNY Sullivan. I then earned a BBA and MBA in finance. I have experience as a member of two bank boards, two finance company boards, including the chairmanship and several charities. My business career expanded over forty years in the financial world. I believe that my formal training and work experience can be very beneficial to our local school system to which I am grateful for preparing me for my life’s success. I also have a step-daughter and numerous relatives and friends who attend the district."

Matthew Sheiner - Running for Jennifer Kelly’s vacated seat

"As a parent, I’ve seen the drop in community standards and values in our nation. Sadly, I’ve seen that creep in and change the culture of schooling. It seems children aren’t taught anymore and are pushed through. I wish to see my children and their classmates excel in all aspects of life. MCSD should approach teaching with a goal of excellence in education for ALL. I have strong roots in our community. I was born/raised in Sullivan County. I live in Monticello and work as a chef. As a dedicated parent, professional, and local resident, I wish to be part of positive change and help change my community."

Lori Orestano-James - Running for Ellen Nesin’s vacated seat

"Schools are the strength of a community. I chose to return home after completing my education to commit and give back to the community that supported me after my parents, Ruth and Arthur Budoff, passed away while I was a student at MHS. With a casino and other economic projects on our horizon, the board must focus on student achievement and success by providing a quality well-rounded education with fiscal responsibility. My 31 years as a successful teacher and administrator gives me an in-depth understanding to lead our school district in making a positive difference for ALL students and OUR community."

Steve Kurlander - Running for Ellen Nesin’s vacated seat

"I am an attorney living with my wife, Jodi Kesten Kurlander, and my family in Harris Woods outside of Monticello. I believe that the Monticello Central School District is at an important crossroads in many ways. With the building of a new casino destination resort within the school district, new economic and educational opportunities are on the horizon for district residents and their children. In order to rebuild our communities and to attract new business, job, and educational opportunities, the MCSD should have the mission to provide excellent educational instruction and opportunities to all of its students. We need new leadership on the school board to obtain this important goal."

Kamal Elsayed - Running for Ms. Sharoff’s seat

"Dear district residents: I am running for the seat coming up for election on the board of education of the Monticello Central School District. My children attend the public school system. I am a business owner in the village, as well a government performance auditor for 16 years. I audited school systems and improved their performance. The board needs new leadership to meet the education challenges our communities face. I have the professional and business experience the board needs to take the district to the next level. I welcome this responsibility and count on your vote."

Stacey Sharoff - Incumbent

"Three generations of my family have experienced success having graduated from Monticello Central School District. This is my community. I believe that education equals opportunity and I am committed to seeing the district meet the needs of all our children and their families by supporting school leadership to provide child-centered education that will prepare our children for 21st century jobs. For the past six years I have worked to ensure that we are focused on improving educational outcomes for our students via a wide range of programs, increased rigor and curriculum mastery."

James M. Contrys - Running for Ms. Sharoff’s seat

"I have been a resident of Sullivan County and MCSD since 1962. I attended MCSD from Head Start to high school. I briefly left the area and returned to raise four children here, two of which have graduated from MHS. The youngest is due to graduate next year. I own and operate a towing/automotive repairs and used car sales business in Monticello since 1994. I wish to apply my knowledge and experience to the betterment of the community and school district."

Vote Day Details

The annual school district budget vote and Board of Education elections will be held from 8 a.m - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 at the following locations:

• District #1: Thompson - Robert J. Kaiser Middle School
• District #2: Bethel - Duggan Community Center
• District #3: Mamakating - Chase Elementary School
• District #4: Rock Hill - Rock Hill Fire Department
• District #5: Forestburgh  - Forestburgh Town Hall

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