School Board Election
On May 18, voters of the Washingtonville Central School District will also elect three candidates to the board of education: two to serve three-year terms, and one candidate to serve an unexpired term from May 18, 2021, to June 30, 2022. The two three-year term positions will begin July 1, 2021, and expire June 30, 2024.
Meet the candidates
I was born and raised in the Italian part of Switzerland and moved to the United States in 1999. I am a mother of two (a college freshman and a high school freshman) and have been in the district for the past 20 years.
In order to understand the school system, I became involved with the Round Hill PTA in 2007, and have been a member of the RH PTA, the WMSPTO and the HSPTSO, holding different positions throughout the years. I became one of the Round Hill Yearbook Club advisors when my son was in fifth-grade and have been for the past 8 years–even with no children in the elementary school.
Being raised in Switzerland means you learn to speak three different languages, and for this reason I decided to share my knowledge of Italian, French and German by offering a Foreign Language Club at Round Hill–with a year’s stint at Little Britain. I am a Girl Scout leader and was a Religious Education teaching assistant at St. Mary’s Church for two years. Volunteering with the PTA at Round Hill and the PTO at the middle school has always been very rewarding, and when I was asked to become a Girl Scout Leader I didn’t hesitate.
Three years ago, I became an American citizen, and I have never been prouder of this decision as this is my home. I was asked to run for a spot on the school board. After discussing with my husband, I decided that after the experiences of being involved in the schools this was the best next step to work for the betterment of our children’s education. I have been going to Board of Education meetings, especially during the introduction of Common Core into our curriculum, and I understand that you can make a difference being on the school board, but you cannot make a difference by yourself.
What I have learned by volunteering with the PTA and PTO is that you really need to work together and always remember that what you are doing is for the students of this amazing community. I am volunteering to assist in the implementation of the Youth Elementary School Feeder Program with the varsity boys and girls tennis in the district, which will help introduce any interested student to the game of tennis and provide a pathway to fall in love with this sport and play at school and/or college level.
I want to work with the rest of the school board to have universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) back in our buildings, and I would like to introduce a way to honor those students that are getting into jobs or apprenticeships right after graduation. ALL jobs are important and make the world progress. I am ready to work hard for our community and for our students.
I am originally from Long Island and attended Nassau Community College where I received my associate degree in early childhood. I worked at C.W. Post College in the daycare center before moving up to our community 16 years ago. My four school-aged children have been involved in soccer, lacrosse, basketball, flag football, track, dance and gymnastics, so chances are you have seen me around town. I also have been very involved in our CYO and Blooming Grove recreation basketball programs as a league director and coach for the last 5 years. I can always be found volunteering at our town’s events. This community means a lot to me, and I am honored to call it home.
I have been a huge advocate for our children and teachers for well over a decade now. As soon as my oldest child started in the district, I joined the PTO and helped out at every event I could. Being so supportive to our schools I was approached by our superintendent at the time to join the district-wide advocacy committee. Our first mission was to help eliminate the GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment). This was money deducted from state aid that was originally promised to schools. We worked hard writing letters to the state, sending informative postcards and meeting with local officials. This inspired me to start attending lectures and workshops regarding funding for public schools and how to be an advocate for your district. I started to stand up for better conditions for our students and teachers. Class sizes in our schools were getting larger, and students and teachers were getting overwhelmed. I started attending all of our district's board of education meetings to get my concerns of reducing class sizes to help our students and teachers be more successful. I learned so much about how the school board worked during those years.
I continued to do all I could to help in our schools and was asked by Little Britain’s principal at the time to join the school’s advocacy committee. While serving on the committee a couple other members and myself decide to start a Dignity Club to encourage student self-worth. My next role was as the vice-president of the Little Britain playground committee. We raised money to add a beautiful new playground that is enjoyed by the students and community members. I had also been attending county-wide lectures on drug and alcohol abuse among children and was asked by the principal of our middle school to join the district’s ADAC (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council) committee.
When I was approached to run for the board of education it really felt like the right next step. I have now served on our school board for the past six years (two as board vice president and three as board president). I take great pride in having been elected by my fellow community members to represent you. It would be an honor to be reelected and continue to advocate for our children, teachers and community.
Marie Nadine Leonty
I am your next school board candidate. I am by trade a licensed clinical social worker. I have a private practice for the last 12 years, and I have been employed with the State of New York for the last 21 years. I presently work as a forensic social worker with dangerously, mentally ill patients for the last 12 years. I have been a volunteer at Grace Community Church for the last 20 years working in the children’s ministry, and as a greeter and usher since COVID. I have volunteered for the Washingtonville football league for several years.
I have worked with children and families for the last 30 years. I am a mother of two. I have put in a lot in the development of my two children and the families that I have treated over the last 30 years. Now that my children are on their way to becoming responsible adults, I can redistribute my time and talent to help build and shape my community by running for the school board.
I was born in Haiti and grew up in a diverse family. I speak four languages fluently (French, Spanish, English and Creole), I studied Latin for 17 years, and I understand Italian a little. I can mingle with various cultures and feel this is a quality that helps to bridge gaps in our community.
As your candidate, I will bring a different pair of lenses to achieving the school board vision in working with families and with the community. I am convinced I will be that person to advocate for the new challenges ahead, as we move to a new way of learning and of teaching.
I am a 13-year resident of Washingtonville: wife to my husband Michael, mother of three (ages 10, 8, and 8), and a nurse practitioner by profession.
A Tuxedo High School graduate, I went on to do my undergraduate work at Dominican College. While working towards my degree I volunteered for the Blooming Grove Ambulance Corps. I got my bachelor’s in science of nursing and worked at the bedside for eight years before obtaining a Master of Science in nursing at Mount Saint Mary College and becoming a nurse practitioner. I work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have always been a huge advocate for education, and this is my reason to run for our school board. My advocacy is threefold. First and foremost, our children. I want to invest not only in our children academically, but also in their social-emotional development, which is a direct investment in our future. Secondly, I want to invest in our teachers to ensure that they have the tools and resources they need to successfully do their job. Lastly, I want to invest in our community to represent and protect what makes the Washingtonville school district great, our dedication to academics, sports, and the arts. I believe that there are academic challenges ahead, and that the only way to meet those challenges is through a strong board of education providing our administration, teachers and students with the necessary support.
This pandemic has changed lives. It has impacted our homes, our schools, and our community, and as someone who continues to work the front line of the pandemic, I offer the board a unique perspective.
There is more to me than just my dedication to education, my family and my patients. In my free time, I enjoy running spartan races and other obstacle course races. I enjoy traveling with my family, especially to coastal areas in New England and on Disney cruises. I am a donut-loving enthusiast, and I am always up for a challenge.
I encourage the entire Washingtonville school district to get out and vote on May 18. Your vote is your voice, so vote for me, Kira Saltz. I look forward to serving our community.
I am sure many of you know me or have seen me riding through town. See, I am a Boy Scout/Girl Scout/PTA/PTO/sports mom. But being a mom and community volunteer only scratches the surface of who I am.
I was born and raised in New York City--Queens in fact, with stops in every borough (except Staten Island). I hold a B.S. in education from Pace University, a master’s in non-profit management from the New School University, and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. As one can see, education has always been a priority for me.
After teaching briefly in the New York City Department of Education, I began working in the field of youth development and non-profit management. This is where I thrived: developing, facilitating and managing programming to assist young people become productive adults. Whether it was life skills, career exploration, workforce development or critical decision-making, I developed a true passion for assisting young people find their voice and explore their paths to adulthood.
I moved to Orange County fifteen years ago and settled in the Village of South Blooming Grove. Currently, I live in the Town of Blooming Grove with my husband and two children who attend Washingtonville schools, and we are all involved in the “goings on” where we live. Professionally, I am the Hudson Valley regional director for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York, providing therapeutic assistance and resources to ensure families and children are empowered and build resiliency to meet the challenges in their lives.
For the past three years I have been a trustee on the Washingtonville Central School District board of education. During these years, I have worked with my colleagues to support the superintendent and staff in improving student achievement, creating a safe and supportive learning environment, implementing fiscally sound practices to maintain school operations, and working to maintain our facilities for the health and safety of all who enter them.
So yes, I am a Girl Scout/Boy Scout/sports mom and active neighbor. But I am also an advocate for youth and families, committed to community development, and a facilitator of business/operational systems. These skills have guided my life and work, and they are what I bring as my strengths and expertise to my candidacy for re-election to the Washingtonville school board.