Apr 23, 2013 5:12 PMBy Virginia Garrison
The East Hampton School Board contests should be lively this year, with three seats opening and five new candidates throwing hats in the ring. As of the end of Monday, the deadline to file nominating petitions, six candidates had entered the fray: J.P. Foster, Wendy Geehreng, Nicholas Boland, Mary Ella Moeller, Rich Wilson and Alison Anderson.
Ms. Anderson, an incumbent who's finishing out her first three-year term, had been on the fence about whether to seek another term, but this week said she would. The board's president, Dr. George Aman, and board member Lauren Dempsey announced earlier this spring that they would not seek reelection.
Mr. Wilson, who is retired, was a science teacher and coordinator for 30 years in the Sag Harbor School District, served on a citizens advisory committee formed by the East Hampton School Board in 2011 and had educational toy stores in East Hampton and Amagansett.
Mary Ella Moeller is a regular at East Hampton School Board meetings, a retired teacher from the South Country School District in Bellport and a volunteer with the East Hampton Health Care Center and the Ladies Village Improvement Society.
Nicholas Boland has home improvement and fuel renewal businesses and formerly practiced law. His wife, Deborah Boland, is a first-grade teacher at the John Marshall Elementary School.
A pediatric nurse practitioner in Southampton, Wendy Geehreng is the mother of four children who will be spread among all three schools in East Hampton next year. She is finishing out a term as president of the East Hampton Middle School Parent Teacher Association as well.
J.P. Foster, senior supervising dispatcher for the East Hampton Village Emergency Communications Department, has a daughter and son in the East Hampton Middle School this year. He has been a member of the East Hampton Town Planning Board for about a year and a half, and he happens to be the brother-in-law of Ms. Geehreng.
Mr. Foster, Ms. Geehreng and Mr. Boland might campaign together, Ms. Geehreng and Mr. Foster said on Tuesday.
In Springs, a contest is brewing among three candidates running for two open seats on the School Board. Those seats are being vacated by Board President Kathee Burke Gonzalez and School Board member Teresa Schurr, who announced earlier this year they won't be seeking reelection.
Jeff Miller, Adam Wilson and Martin Drew Jr. filed petitions with the school to run for three-year terms on the board. Mr. Miller, a lifelong resident of Springs, has one child in the district, and another child who attended the school and is currently at East Hampton High School. He works for the East Hampton Village Department of Public Works and has been a member of the Springs Fire Department for more than 24 years. He's also a deputy fire coordinator for Suffolk County. He attended the Springs School and East Hampton School District.
"I feel that I have, well, from several different angles, I feel that being that I have a child in the school system at the time, I have a vested interested in what is going on," Mr. Miller said. "I feel with my background in the emergency services field that I have a lot to offer as far as planning for certain situations."
Mr. Wilson, a 13-year resident of Springs, is the husband of Mary McPartland, a parent who frequently attends School Board meetings. They have a son in the district. He works in telecommunications as a channel sales manager for CallCopy, according to a biography he submitted to the Springs School. He's the vice president of the East Hampton Little League and has been a board member for the last four years.
Martin Drew Jr., who attended the Springs School and graduated in the class of 1980, was a carpenter-journeyman up until 1987, according to a resume he submitted to the school. He lists his objective to "renew a sense of pride in the Springs School District."
Nancy McCaffery, a longtime Wainscott School Board member, will step down this year. Ms. McCaffery has served on the board since 2004. She was district clerk for about 40 years before that, according to District Clerk Mary McCaffery, her daughter-in-law.
William A. Babinski Jr., a farmer, was the only person to submit a petition to run for the seat, according to Ms. McCaffery. Terms on the Wainscott School Board span three years.
Terry Watson, a 29-year member of the Montauk School Board, won't be seeking reelection this year, according to District Clerk Grace Lightcap. Montauk residents Honora Herlihy and Lee White have both filed petitions to run for five-year terms.
Ms. Herlihy, a mother of two children enrolled in the school, used to own the Montauk Carriage House, a retail boutique store that she just sold. "I just have an interest in community and the school and the children and business, and I would like to be a part of the growing positive atmosphere that Montauk has to offer," she said.
Mr. White is a member of the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals.
In Amagansett, two incumbents are running unopposed, each for another three-year term. They are John Hossenlopp, the School Board president, and Victoria Smudzinski, according to Amagansett District Clerk Cheryl Bloecker.