The Committee For The Selection of School Board Nominees announced on Monday, April 19 that it has endorsed two candidates to run for the two seats up for election on May 18. The nominees are Nancy Pierson, an incumbent seeking a second three-year term, and Matthew Schoengood, a newcomer.
Janet Buchbinder is ending her second term and has chosen not to run again – which is the norm for the Mamaroneck School Board.
Last week, the Gazette reported that Ms. Pierson and Mr. Schoengood were the only candidates for whom nominating petitions had been requested from the clerk’s office in the Mamaroneck School District. The deadline for filing petitions was April 19, so it is too late for an independent candidate to come forward at this point.
The Selection Committee, an organization founded in 1945 to recruit qualified candidates for the school board, has the option of endorsing more than one person per open position. But, as it has in the past, the committee chose only one nominee per slot.
Sunny Park Suh, co-chair of the committee, declined to reveal the exact number of applicants who came forward this year. ““At the start of the year, finding applicants felt like an especially daunting task, with the superintendent leaving and the challenging budget issues ahead,” she said.
Candidates were slow to apply, “but we were very aggressive – among the twenty-four of us, we used our contacts,” said Ms. Suh. “That’s the beauty of the Selection Committee – we are so diverse. “
In the end, she said, “We had a number of truly great applicants.”
Along with its announcement, the selection committee released biographical information on the two candidates.
Nancy Pierson has lived in Larchmont for 17 years. Her three daughters have all graduated from Mamaroneck High School after having attended Murray Avenue Elementary and Hommocks Middle School. Ms. Pierson received her BA from Colgate University, NY and her Masters in Communications Disorders from Emerson College in Boston. Prior to having children and moving out of the country for 6 years (Barbados and Bermuda), Ms. Pierson worked in the Massachusetts Public Schools system as a speech and language pathologist.
Ms. Pierson was an active member of the local PTAs, co-president of SEPTA, the MHS PTSA and PT Council. She was also a parent member of the Committee on Special Education (CSE) for 10 years. She is a member of St John’s Episcopal Church in Larchmont.
Ms. Pierson has been a school board member since 2007. In addition to being liaison to Central School, Hommocks and SEPTA, she has been on the Communications Committee, and the Law and Policy Committee. She is the board liaison to Safe Routes to Schools and the Wellness Committee. She leads a sub-committee looking at community use of school facilities.
Although this is a difficult time for all public schools, Ms. Pierson considers it an exciting time to be involved. She believes that under the guidance of Superintendent Dr. Fried, Mamaroneck is in a solid place and ready to move forward. She is looking forward to working with a new superintendent next year while taking advantage of the experience she has gained over the past three years.
Matthew Schoengood is a life-long New Yorker and a resident of Larchmont for 8 years. Born and raised in the Bronx, he received his BA degree from Ohio Wesleyan University where he majored in Speech and Theatre and Secondary Education. He received an MPA degree in Labor Relations and Personnel Management from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
He has spent the last 30 years in public higher education administration at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York, where he has been the Vice President for Student Affairs since 2001. Serving as the chief student affairs officer for the City University’s doctoral degree granting institution, he has overall responsibility for the provision of student support services, most procedural student academic matters, and the general quality of student life. He has had extensive experience in the areas of budget, psychological counseling services, housing, and admissions and financial aid.
He and his wife Elise Silvestri reside in the Village of Larchmont and are the parents of an MHS freshman and a 2004 MHS graduate. He has also coached baseball in the LMLL and basketball in both the LMBA and Westchester Temple League.
Asked why he was running for the board at this time, Mr. Schoengood told the Gazette, “After 30 years of higher education experience, I thought that I could bring a different perspective to the board.” Another reason for running was the challenge of having a new superintendent and a new principal at the high school. “These are good challenges,” he said.