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Meet the Candidates for the Board of Education
On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, residents will vote to elect three members to the Board of Education. Each seat is a three-year term that begins on July 1, 2019. The seats are currently held by Marc Mularz, Courtney Richichi, and John Kelleher, whose terms expire on June 30, 2019.
Board members are elected at large; the three people receiving the highest number of votes will be declared elected to the Board of Education for full 3-year terms.
Candidates in the order in which they will appear on the ballot per a random drawing of names:
- Courtney Richichi
- Maryanne MacKenzie
- Jason Willett
- Linda King
- Melissa Seale
Courtney Richichi is the Global SAP System Lead for SAP-Environmental Health and Safety/Quality Management (SAP-EHS/QM) at Infineum, a joint venture of ExxonMobil and Shell. She oversees and implements regulatory and quality monitoring/reporting functionality for all of the company's manufacturing and technology sites globally, helping to ensure regulatory compliance and the "license to operate." Courtney has held this position for 16 of the past 23 years she has worked for Infineum and/or its parent companies.
A graduate of South Glens Falls, Adirondack Comm College and Clarkson University, Courtney spent 16 years living and working in NJ. She became a taxpayer in the LGCSD in 2002 and has been a resident since 2012. She and her husband, Angelo, have two children who attend Lake George CSD. Their son, Anthony, is in 10th grade, and their daughter, Anna, is in 7th grade.
Mrs. Richichi is finishing up her first three-year term on the Lake George Board of Education, in which she has served as Vice President for the 2018-2019 school year. She serves as chair of the Policy Committee and is a member of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, Curriculum Committee, District Safety Committee, and Professional Growth Committee.
“Soon after moving into the district, I was asked about running for the Board. When approached again, three years ago, I was slightly hesitant. I was taught at a very early age that giving back to the community and helping others was something we are each meant to do. In addition, I have always been actively involved in the school's my children have attended. Therefore, deciding to run was a natural 'next step' for me and one of the best decisions I have made. I have learned a great deal these past three years, and I continue to learn." said Mrs. Richichi. “I would like to continue to serve on the Board because I am committed to the students and our community, and I am vested in making sure that the initiatives we put in place are successful. It is important that we see the changes through, for the benefit of ALL students at Lake George; we cannot afford to change mid-stream.”
Mrs. Richichi’s top three priorities for the district are:
- Supporting the IMPLEMENTATION of the Transition Plan: We are at a point where we need to stop talking and move forward with implementing a transition plan that "supports excellence and K-12 alignment within our district." We need to make sure that the plan is one that focuses on our students' needs - safety, social, emotional and academic - keeping in mind that curriculum requirements are ever changing and we also have fiscal responsibilities. Once the plan is selected, we need to see it through - support it as a whole community to ensure its success in the end for our students!
- Strategic Plan BEYOND 2020:The Strategic Planning Process resulted in five, 3-year goals, that take us through the 2019-2020 school year. As a district we need to be looking carefully as to what, if anything, will change with these goals and the process that we are using to achieve them: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? How do we get there? Use the CASDA study and Strategic Plan to help further guide our plans and goal setting.
- Improved Communication/Relationships: Continue to improve and foster communication and working relationships within all levels of our district. (Example: Student-Teacher; Teacher-Parent; Teacher-Teacher; Teacher-Admin; Parent-Admin; Admin-Community, etc).
"If I were to add a 4th priority, it would be to carry on and ensure that the recently approved Capital Project remains on task, on target and safely implemented."
Mrs. Richichi is actively involved in the Lake George PTSO, for which she formerly served as Secretary and Treasurer, and helps out the LG Booster Club. She volunteers every year at the South High Marathon Dance, with the Broadway Upstate Theater Group, Wreaths Across America and wherever there are volunteer needs with her church or other groups in and around our community.
Maryanne MacKenzie has been a Licensed physical therapist for 28 years. She has been a resident of Lake George CSD for 11 years. She and her husband, Mark Weidner, have two children who attend Lake George CSD in 10th and 12th grade.
“I want to help ensure and enhance the exemplary educational experience Lake George has long been known for,” said Ms. MacKenzie. “I am eager for this civic engagement opportunity and for the chance to apply my personal strengths in support of the many caring, talented, and dedicated individuals who give so generously of themselves on behalf of our children.”
Ms. MacKenzie’s top three priorities for the district are:
- To foster a harmonious school and community climate characterized by respect, accountability, communication, and empathy.
- Support the social and emotional wellness and safety of all members of the school community.
- Maximize student achievement and academic success, and offer opportunities for individualized and enhanced learning.
Ms. MacKenzie is a personal and medical advocate for an individual with an intellectual disability, x20 years. Her past volunteer/leadership roles include: Warren Center Nursing Home; Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park; Homeowner's Association president; Treasurer, Hinesburg Community Center PTSO; Health Volunteers Overseas.
“I am open-minded, fair, and collegial. I am a proponent of decision making that is student centered, collaborative, financially responsible, informed and reasoned, proactive, and transparent.”
In June of 2017, Jason Willett retired from the U.S. Navy after 21 years of service as an Intelligence Chief in the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams. He is now a contracted Special Investigator for the U.S. Federal Government. He grew up in Pilot Knob and graduated from Lake George High School in 1996. After joining the U.S. Navy in August of 1996, he moved away and lived in Virginia Beach, VA for 21 years. He moved back to Lake George in March of 2017. Mr. Willett and his wife, Amanda Willett (formerly Fitzgerald), LGHS Class of 1998, have two children attending Lake George CSD. Their oldest son, Caden, is in the seventh grade, and their youngest son, Griffin, is in the third grade.
“I am interested in serving as a member of the Lake George CSD school board to create a transparent process of accountability and to establish relationships with all stakeholders that will encourage dramatic improvements in students' success,” said Mr. Willett.
Mr. Willett’s top three priorities for the district are:
- Listen and learn from the students, parents, staff, and the community of what's working in LG CSD and what we need to change and improve in LG CSD
- Create and establish policies to improve student achievements
- Establish a successful curriculum development program
Mr. Willett is a member of the Lake George American Legion Post 374.
Linda (Lin) King
Mrs. King is a retired business woman who has been a resident of Lake George CSD for 45 years. She and her husband, Allen, had two children graduate from Lake George Jr.-Sr. High School. She previously served on the Lake George Board of Education for 28 years.
“I have been away from serving on the local school board for five years,” said Mrs. King. “I miss the local connection to students and local activities.”
Mrs. King’s top three priorities for the district are:
- Are we doing the best that we can do for the students?
- Are we making sure we are staying current with all the educational initiatives that would benefit our students?
- Making sure we are well informed and coming up with the best plan to address declining enrollment
Mrs. King is the Vice President of the WSWHE BOCES Board of Education and has served on that board for 16 years. She is the past chair of the NYS Rural Schools Association, on which she has served for 12 years. She has been president of the Adirondack Area School Boards Association for 15 years.
“Public education is always important to me, and it’s important to educate our children to keep our community strong and growing.”
Melissa Seale PMHNP-BC is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified- Specializing in Child/ Adolescent Psychiatry. She works at the Center for Children and Families, Glens Falls Hospital, a position she has held for about two years. She has been a resident of Lake George CSD for 9.5 years. She and her husband, Michael, have two children who attend Lake George CSD. One is in 6th grade and one in 10th grade. They also have a preschooler!
“I have always been passionate about giving my time and resources to causes I believe in and I feel that, with my background in child psychiatry, I will be able to give a valuable perspective- adding to the social/ emotional support services at LGCSD,” said Mrs. Seale. “I believe that investing time and resources into the development and support of our children is one of the most important investments we can give to our community and our future. Furthermore, I feel that this can be done in a fiscally responsible way, utilizing our existing resources efficiently and collaborating with other districts.
Mrs. Seale’s top three priorities for the district are:
- Moving forward to meet today's challenges, such as declining enrollment, in a way that helps Lake George CSD continue to meet the standards of excellence in education and student support.
- Meeting New York State mental health education mandates in an effective way that utilizes our existing resources, in collaboration with other districts in the area.
- Creating an environment that encourages the sharing of ideas, focusing on staff engagement and collaboration.
Mrs. Seale has been involved in fundraising for the Open Door Mission, Warren County Historical Society, and the Conklin Center.
“I believe that we are very fortunate to have the community and staff involvement that we have in Lake George. I have heard from and spoke to many passionate, concerned community/ staff members that genuinely care about our schools and our students. I strive to always value that involvement; to always collaborate, communicate, provide and receive information so that there is an understanding of all parties involved.”