Three compete for one seat on Miller Place school board

Three compete for one seat on Miller Place school board

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Tom Brischler. Photo from Brischler

The Miller Place Board of Education has one seat open as incumbent Mike Unger decided he would not seek re-election. Three hopefuls, including former trustee Michael Manspeizer, who wasn’t re-elected to his seat last year, and newcomers Tom Brischler and Keith J. Frank,  are vying for the position. The election, as well as 2015-16 school year budget vote, will take place on May 19.

Unger, a six-year school board veteran, said in an email that he feels the board is in great shape and it’s a good time to hand it off.

Unger reflected on a number of achievements during his tenure, including construction of the administration building, addition of a full-day kindergarten program, adoption of long-term budgeting practices and naming Marianne Higuera as the district’s superintendent.

“I thank the residents, my board members and the staff of Miller Place for trusting me with their educational, administrative and financial issues,” Unger wrote. “I have truly enjoyed these last six years and will maintain a high level of interest in all things Miller Place. Go Panthers.”

Tom Brischler
The retired Sachem North High School English teacher is making a run for the board, as he hopes to become a facilitator between the board, the teachers and the community.
Brischler, 63, said he loved teaching and called it a way of life instead of a job. He feels education is in jeopardy, which is why he decided to make the run.
“I don’t want to see teaching and learning fall apart,” Brischler said.
He feels the relationship between local schools and the state of New York is at an all time low and he hopes that by gaining a seat on the board he can fix that.
If elected, Brischler said he would work on being a facilitator and making sure teacher’s jobs are manageable, as the Common Core Learning Standards and aligned standardized testing continues.
“I would like to see shared decision making come back to Miller Place,” Brischler said.
Brischler said is he is against Common Core and teacher evaluations being tied to the state tests.
Brischler and his wife, Janine, who is a teacher in the district, have lived in Miller Place for 10 years. He has two grown children.

Keith J. Frank is running for the Miller Place school board. Photo from the candidate
Keith J. Frank is running for the Miller Place school board. Photo from the candidate

Keith J. Frank
The father of three students in the district decided he would like to run in an effort to continue the great experience his children in the district have.
Frank, 50, said his children have had a tremendously positive experience in the district and he wants to get on the board to make sure the district continues that.
“My goals are to make sure [the] schools continue to run as well as they have with the proper balance to maintain programs for kids,” Frank said.
Frank is a partner at the Uniondale-based law firm, Forchelli, Curto, Deegan,
Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP, where he practices labor, employment and business law. He said he feels he has a lot to bring to the board with his skill set, especially as he has litigation experience.
“I think I bring a good perspective of understanding how a large organization runs,” Frank said. “I try to see both sides of all issues.”
Frank has lived in the district for 12 years with his wife, Kristina, a stay-at-home mom.

Michael Manspeizer is running for the Miller Place school board. Photo from the candidate
Michael Manspeizer is running for the Miller Place school board. Photo from the candidate

Michael Manspeizer
Manspeizer isn’t letting last year’s loss get him down, and the Cisco Systems program manager is running again.
“I really want to have a second chance to get a full term and have an impact on the community,” Manspeizer, 55, said.
The 10-year Miller Place resident was first elected to the board to finish a retiring member’s term in the spring of 2013.  He said he is running again because there are a lot of issues that need to be fixed.
“We face a lot of issues, a lot of issues that require thoughtful contemplation,” Manspeizer said.
With everything going on in the education world, Manspeizer said he hopes to help manage the change by being respectful to students, teachers and the taxpayers. He also wants to see more discussion among board members when making important decisions.
If elected, he would continue to comb through the budget to find better and more efficient ways to spend money, encourage more science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — programs in the district and work to enhance athletic programs.
Manspeizer, and his wife Doreen, a stay at home mom, have two daughters, one in college and one in high school.

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