By Kyle Barr
Two trustee seats are up for grabs on Shoreham-Wading River’s board of education, and running for them are a veteran and a newcomer.
Current board President Robert Rose is seeking another term and second-time candidate James Smith is seeking election to the board following the stepping down of current trustee Michael Yannucci.
Both candidates are running unopposed.
Yannucci said he decided to not run for re-election so he can spend more time with his young children.
“Despite the fact that we have an uncontested board election this year, residents should continue to stay engaged and attend board meetings,” Yannucci said. His advice to the rest of the board upon leaving is that they should look to engage and communicate with district residents. “Even if they don’t have kids in school, their taxes are still affected by our decisions.”
Rose is running for his third three-year term on the board.
“I decided to run for re-election because I think I add a lot to the board with my experience,” Rose said. “I also really enjoy giving back to my community.”
“Despite the fact that we have an uncontested board election this year, residents should continue to stay engaged and attend board meetings.”
— Michael Yanucci
The board president said he knows his way around schools with his more-than 20 years of experience as an educator. He’s been the assistant principal at Smithtown High School East for the past 12.
“I would like to continue to play a role in making Shoreham-Wading River an outstanding district by working collaboratively with the administration and teachers to develop policies and programs that support student learning and help our students become career and college ready,” Rose said.
Smith, who ran last year unsuccessfully, has been a Shoreham resident for the past six years and in that time has not hesitated to get involved in the community. The father of four enrolled in the district, joined the PTA and became its vice president. He has worked with kids as a coach through Sound Beach Soccer Club and Father Joe’s Soccer. Smith said he wants to push for greater psychological and emotional resources for students.
“I just wanted to have greater input in the district,” he said. “I think the district has made great strides over the last couple [of] years, but I definitely want to see more resources dedicated, especially now in
today’s environment, toward the mental and physical well-being of our students.”
Shoreham Wading-River is including a provision in its adopted budget for hiring an additional psychologist to help with the current workload. There is presently one at the high school, one at the middle school and three shared between the two elementary school buildings.
Smith said he believes there need to be even more psychologists and social workers engaged with students in school.
“I definitely feel the district needs to shift more toward emotional intelligence,” Smith said. “We’re stretched very thin. We need this emphasis on mental health, especially with all the school shootings we’ve seen over the past few years.”
Board elections will take place with the budget vote Tuesday, May 15 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Shoreham-Wading River High School auxiliary gym, located at 250A Route 25A in Shoreham.
This version corrects how many psychologists there are presently at the elementary schools.