By Alex Petroski & Elana Glowatz
Four candidates, no challenges. Both the Comsewogue and Port Jefferson school boards have two seats up for election later this month, but in both school districts, the incumbents are unopposed for re-election.
DeStefano was first elected to the Comsewogue Board of Education in 2010. He graduated from Comsewogue High School with the Class of 1996 and joked that he’s been proud to be a part of the community since the day his parents brought him home from the hospital.
“I’m so honored that our community has supported me,” DeStefano said, as he runs unopposed for his third term. “It’s a lot to entrust in a handful of folks to make sure our district is in the right hands. I take this very seriously.”
DeStefano graduated from the New York University Stern School of Business with degrees in business marketing and business management, and a minor in political science. He earned a Master of Business Administration in 2004 from Long Island University. He said he’s spent his whole professional career in technology and is currently a senior product marketing manager for a software company that specializes in mobile connectivity.
DeStefano and his wife have a 7-year-old at Norwood Elementary School and a 3-year-old who will soon be attending Comsewogue schools. DeStefano will be leading the school board’s newly formed public relations committee next year.
Alabau-Blatter did not respond to requests for comment on her run for her third term on the Comsewogue school board.
Originally from Spain, she moved to Long Island at 13 years old. She has three kids in Comsewogue and teaches Spanish in the Central Islip school district. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art education and a master’s degree in computer graphics.
Alabau-Blatter has made comments in the past about her views on standardized testing for students.
“I have little kids and I know what they go through,” she said in an interview after her election for a second term in 2013. “The only goal right now is to do well on this test and it shouldn’t be that way — it should be a well-rounded education.”
She said in 2013 that she was running for a second term because she felt there was still work to be done in the district.
The Port Jefferson school board president and former educator is seeking a third term because “there’s so many pieces still in play in the district, not the least of which is the search for the new superintendent.”
Superintendent Ken Bossert recently announced that this school year would be his last with Port Jefferson, and Brennan said she wants to focus on finding a replacement because “that person helps set the course for where the district goes.”
Brennan, a member of the board’s audit and finance committees and a resident of the district since 1978, noted that all the board members have a good rapport with one another, respecting each other’s opinions.
“There isn’t the kind of … interaction that there once was on the board,” she said. “There was a lot of negative interaction between board members.”
In addition to finding a new superintendent, the president would like to continue work on infrastructure improvements, because improving the campuses “affects morale for everyone in the organization,” including staff and students.
Boehm, a member of the Port Jefferson board’s facilities and audit committees, also noted the superintendent’s departure when discussing her reasons for seeking a third term on the board.
“It’s, I think, good to have people that are familiar with what’s been going on with the school,” she said, “that we remain together” during the change. But she added that she thinks the district has a good administrative team in place, between new principals and other officials, to see everyone through a change in leadership.
Boehm, a Port Jefferson grad herself, was once a teaching assistant in the district.
“I love the community, especially the students here,” she said. “Having spent time at the elementary school, I’m familiar with a good number of the student body. It’s a great place. We should have strong schools.”
Boehm has served four years as a trustee, after being appointed in 2012 and re-elected to a full term the next year. In her third run on the board, she has her sights set on improving school facilities and supporting special education students “so that they’re career-ready.”