In addition to voting on the 2015-16 budget this May, Rocky Point school district residents will cast their votes to fill two seats in the annual school board election. Incumbent school board Vice President Scott Reh is running for his third term, while residents Donna McCauley and Ed Casswell are throwing their hats in the ring for a second time.
John Lessler, who has been a trustee since 2009, isn’t seeking re-election. He did not return calls for comment.
After five years on the board, Scott Reh, 48, is proud of the work the board has done but wants to stick around and build upon that work.
In a phone interview, Reh, who became vice president last year, said he is seeking re-election to continue “moving in the right direction.” In addition, he wants to be involved as the board contemplates putting a capital improvements bond up for a vote in the future.
While the bond is a main focus, Reh said he wants to continue making sure that the school district officials and the board are working together. It is especially important to Reh that teachers and staff enjoy going to work every day.
Most important, though: The kids.
His main objective is “trying to afford children everything they need to learn.”
As Mount Sinai school district’s athletics director, Reh spoke of having a unique perspective, as he has interacted with students, teachers, administrators and parents. In addition, the role gives him significant budgeting experience.
With all of the changes happening in the education world, Reh said his job is to listen to the community and make decisions with that feedback in mind.
Reh and his wife, Lisa, have three children. His sons graduated from Rocky Point High School and his daughter is in 10th grade.
A frequent attendee of the Rocky Point school board meetings, Donna McCauley is making another go at becoming a trustee after running a year ago.
At this time last year, McCauley, 46, said she wanted to see more board member participation when making decisions and voting on resolutions. McCauley said she’s been pleased to see that happening.
However, more can always be done, and McCauley said she would give everyday, taxpaying residents a voice. While many of the board members have education backgrounds, McCauley does not and she said that is a good thing.
“I think I would offer a different perspective,” she said. “I think it makes for a more well-rounded board,” she said.
Last year, McCauley expressed concerns about the district’s academic plan, known as Next S.T.E.P., which is geared toward improving student performance. Since then, McCauley has taken an active role on the Next S.T.E.P. subcommittee to learn more about the plan and to educate the community.
“I think it is a work in progress,” McCauley said of the plan.
If elected, McCauley said she would like to explore adding more career and technology course offerings so students have a more robust menu of items from which to choose.
A former pharmaceutical company representative, McCauley has lived in the district since 1995. She has a daughter in 10th grade with her husband, Michael. She spends most of her time volunteering and holds leadership roles in and is an active member of St. Louis de Montfort Roman Catholic Church and the Suffolk County Girl Scouts.
After unsuccessfully running for a trustee seat in 2012, Ed Casswell said his desire to serve the Rocky Point community has not diminished and he is ready to take on the role.
As principal of Center Moriches High School, Casswell, 50, said he is empathetic and in tune with the needs of the district’s students.
“I live it,” Casswell said in a phone interview. “I live all the changes and trials and tribulations that education brings.”
If elected, Casswell wants to make sure everyone in the district shares a common vision. He said the school board needs a strong voice and advocate in the state legislature, something he would pursue.
School board members must “understand the intricate details of any mandates, but also they need to realize it is quite possible that local communities will lose local control,” he said.
Casswell and his wife, Carrie Ann, have lived in the district for 23 years. The couple has two children — a fourth-grader and an 11th-grader — in the district.
He is a North Shore Little League board member and serves as the Suffolk County High School Principals Association’s president.