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Somers School Board Interviews Candidates For Vacant Seat

Anthony Cirieco's seat on the Board of Education will be vacant when he joins the Somers Town Board in January.
Anthony Cirieco's seat on the Board of Education will be vacant when he joins the Somers Town Board in January. Photo Credit: Katherine Pacchiana

SOMERS, N.Y. – The Somers Board of Education is interviewing trustee candidates to serve out the term of Anthony Cirieco, who will leave in January to step into a new role on the Town Board.

“We’re thrilled to have eight candidates for the job,” school board President Sarena Meyer said at a recent meeting. “The laws governing an interim appointment are interesting. It’s actually left to the board’s discretion."

The eight candidates are Karen Frieri, Donna Rosenblum, Rodd Kauffman, Maureen Hurson, Bob Raffo, Joseph Marra, Ronald D’Souza and Frank Gray.

“We’ll do the best vetting job we can and conduct it as though it were a public election," she said. "We’ve already received everyone’s resume. We’ll be setting up a subcommittee, probably three people, to review the resumes, conduct interviews and make recommendations to the board.”

A Somers Board of Education member must be a resident of Somers, be able to read and write and be at least 18. Meyer asked her fellow board members what they wanted to know about a candidate.

“How often do they volunteer in the community,” Trustee Linda Graffiti said.

“They should be familiar with the school system and have kids in the system. They should be knowledgeable about budgets and understand how the schools work,” Trustee Harvey Kriedberg said.

“They should have a passion for education,” Trustee Joanne Iannacchino said. “This job is not about lowering taxes, it’s about children.”

Trustee Ifay Chang agreed. “The job is more than the budget. ... You have to put your heart and love into the school system here.”

Trustee Anthony Cirieco said he was looking for a team player. “You should have some life experience in handling challenging situations. ... You have to have the ability to give and take, because budgeting is always a compromise.”

Trustee Michael D’Anna said he would like to know why the candidates wanted to be on the board.

"I think the person should be interested in filling the remainder of this term and then running for the new term," Meyer said. “So it would really be a three-and-a-half-year commitment.

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” she added. “You go from being a mom or dad of two or three kids to being responsible for 3,500. It’s daunting.”

The board is planning to complete the interview process before its Jan. 8 meeting and make the appointment  by about Jan. 22.

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