With the School District election next Tuesday, May 21 to fill three sets on the Board of Education, here is the final campaign statement of one of four candidates—Leah Tahbaz:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am very excited to be a candidate for the Pelham Board of Education in next week’s election. I hope that you will vote for me on May 21.
My husband and I moved to Pelham with our four children about sixteen years ago. All of our children have attended, or still do attend, the Pelham schools. We have been very happy with the education they have received. Our kids are different learners, with different needs and personalities. The schools have served us well.
Before moving to Pelham, I worked as an Estates Administrator at Christie’s. I then attended law school and worked for several years as a lawyer, first as a litigator in private practice, and then at the New York State Supreme Court. Since moving to Pelham, I have been fortunate to be able to devote much of my time to volunteering for local and school based organizations serving Pelham’s youth. I have served on the board of: the Junior League, the Pelham Children’s Center, the Pelham Education Foundation (two terms), the Community Care Center, and PACT, and I am currently on the board of Pelham Together. I have acted as Secretary for the Siwanoy PTA and PTA Council, am a member of the PMHS Site Based Council, and am serving my second year as President of PTA Council. I have also served on the District’s International Baccalaureate Oversight, Diversity, and Safety and Security Committees, and am serving my fifth year on the Wellness Committee.
If elected to the BOE, I intend to contribute my hands-on knowledge of the schools, my experience of listening across Pelham’s constituencies, and my demonstrated ability to work collaboratively. I also intend to build on the many relationships that I have made with parents, students, teachers and staff. Pelham and the world have changed since my family moved here sixteen years ago, and the District has been responsive to the evolving needs of the community. I am especially proud of the work the schools have begun in conjunction with local organizations to inform and educate the community about anxiety among our students. I hope to help continue the positive work that the District has started, and to assist the BOE in moving forward with this and other important initiatives. I would like the opportunity to serve ALL of the students of Pelham. Joining the BOE would allow me to do so, and is the next logical step for me.
Top Three Priorities:
A constant refrain voiced by community organizations is that people perceive an information void. How to get the word out effectively is a challenge that all local organizations face. During my fifteen years volunteering in the District, I have been impressed by the willingness of the administration and the BOE to hear from the community, and great efforts have been made in this direction. As President of PTA Council, I invite all Pelham parents to attend Council meetings, and consistently emphasize an environment of openness and inclusivity. This year, I worked with the District to design a page for each school’s website called: “Whom Should I Ask?,” that lets parents know how to get answers to school-related questions. As a member of the BOE, I will work to continue the trend of community participation, and hope to institute new methods to further open communication.
Authentic Preparation for Life:
Today, parents look to schools to help prepare students for “the real world,” to provide practical life skills in addition to academics. The District has taken great strides in emphasizing the importance of 21st Century Learning at all levels of instruction, and differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners. As a member of the BOE, I would work to ensure that the concept of 21st Century Learning incorporates a well-rounded preparation for life after high school, while continuing to emphasize academic excellence, and striving to meet the needs of all of Pelham’s students.
Physical and Logistical Planning:
Pelham is a different community than it was when I moved here in 2003. I am proud of how the District has evolved in the face of changing demographics, technology and society. In the immediate future, Pelham will grapple with the construction of a new school, a new bridge, new fields and aging buildings. As a member of the BOE, I will work to ensure that thoughtful short term and long term plans are put in place to address these challenges.
I hope that you will vote for me on May 21, so that I can serve ALL of the students of Pelham.