On May 18, the Comsewogue Board of Education will elect three members to the board for a three-year term — commencing July 1 of this year.
Margaret Mitchell worked in the Comsewogue School District for 47 years as a secretary before retiring.
“I just feel that I can give back to the district now, and I’m hoping to make a difference,” she said.
Mitchell retired last August, and she said she would still be working if it weren’t for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 73-year-old said she was concerned about the virus impacting her or her family so she decided it would be in her best interest to retire.
“I didn’t want to retire,” she said. “I enjoyed working in this district. I know so many people, teachers, administrators, students. I developed a bond with a lot of people in the district and I just feel I want to give back.”
Mitchell’s late husband was on the board for 27 years, and all three of her children attended district schools from kindergarten through senior year.
“Our whole life was centered around the district,” she said. “I miss it, I really miss it.”
As a first-time candidate, she said that between raising a family and working at Comsewogue, she has been in the district for 50 years.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes,” she said. “I’ve seen the good, I’ve seen the bad, and I think on the upswing, we’re at a good place right now. And I want to help to continue it.”
Mitchell said her main concern right now is the COVID-19 situation.
“Our seniors missed out on so much last year,” she said. “I felt so sorry for those kids. And I think our administration has handled it beautifully. I think if we spoke to many of the parents in the community, they would agree. They’ve gone above and beyond to make sure that our students get what they need.”
She said she also wants to make sure all Comsewogue graduates have the best support possible to make sure they’re prepared for the real world upon graduation.
“I really think that our district is one of the best around and I want to continue that,” she said.
Margaret Mitchell did not provide a photo.
Although Corey Prinz grew up in Wantagh, he has been a resident of the Comsewogue community for over 15 years now.
“I am still a new person around here,” he said. “Which is a great sign of the community, overall.”
Up for reelection, Prinz said most of his term has been emergency based.
“My whole focus has been, ‘Let’s protect the kids, let’s find a way to get them learning and move forward,’” he said. “This district has done a lot in the last 10 or 15 years, and I think we’ve gotten a little complacent.”
Prinz feels the district can continue to strive for greatness.
“I’d like to see us continue to remember that we can do better, not because we’re doing badly, but because we can do better,” he said. “My caveat has always been we’re trying to create good humans here. Right? So, let’s make more of them.”
A commercial banker by day and father of two, Prinz has a wife who is a teacher in the district. His main goal is to get kids back to school safely and full time again, as well as providing more social and emotional support for students and staff.
“COVID has affected a lot of people in different ways,” he said. “We have to help the kids through this, the kids who have lost their college opportunities because of this.”
But that all stems from his No. 1 goal of teaching students at Comsewogue to be of good character.
“I think the most important thing is I want people to be good people,” he said. “And it starts with our kids. We need to be reminded to focus on our children to be better-rounded people. There’s opportunity here, we just have to decide to use it.”
Rick Rennard is seeking reelection for the Comsewogue Board of Education, after finishing his second full term as a trustee.
After being on the board for seven years, he said he wants to continue all the projects he and the board have worked on.
“I think it’s important to continue the work that we’ve started, that I’ve been involved in over the last seven years,” he said. “From the commitment to our Middle States accreditation, to the creation of our project-based learning programs that are really starting to take off now, I think that everything we’ve been doing has been really great.”
Rennard has been a resident in Comsewogue for 16 years, and is a married father of three children who all attend schools within the district. He is a social studies teacher in the Middle Country school district by day.
He said that facing the continuous challenges of the coronavirus and the shutdown last year, he wants to make sure the district’s buildings continue to stay safe.
“I want to continue to serve our community and get us back to a hopefully full reopening this fall,” he said. “I plan on continuing my policy of making decisions that seem rooted in what’s best for the kids in our district, and just to continue to use that as my guideline for when we have to make decisions — what’s best for them and go forward with it.”
Rennard said his favorite thing about being a board member is seeing how much students within the district progress.
“That’s really the most rewarding part about it,” he said. “It’s to see that our kids turn around and give back to the community.”