RCS District Office
P.O. Box 100
15 Mountain Road
Ravena, NY 12143
(518) 756-5200
Robert K. Libby,

orange bar bullet RCS News

Six candidates are seeking three seats on the Board of Education on May 21


Watch the Meet the BOE Candidates forum sponsored by the A.W. Becker on May 8, 2013
(71 min. in length)



(4/22/13) Six candidates have filed petitions to seek three seats on the Board of Education during the May 21 community vote, which will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school.


The top three candidates receiving the most votes will be elected.


Community members will have opportunities to speak with the candidates:


The A.W. Becker PTA will host a Meet The Candidates night forum at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8 in the A.W. Becker library.


The public hearing on the 2013-14 budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14 to be followed by the Meet the Candidates Night in the High School auditorium. The regular Board of Education meeting will follow.


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The six candidates in the order they will appear on the May 21 ballot are:


John Vadney - 58 Old Ravena Rd. Selkirk, NY 12158

John Vadney
John Vadney


Vadney is seeking a third term on the board and currently serves as president.


He and his wife, Dawn, have two children, ages 10 and 15, who both attend RCS.


He continues to be involved in many community activities within the school district as well as outside of RCS. He has coached baseball, soccer and softball as well as various community clubs. He has been a member of the Elks for 21 years.


Vadney has been recognized by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) for his extensive participation in a variety of volunteer activities and trainings.


In his own words...

John has and continues to promote what is in the best interest of our students while simultaneously streamlining processes that will ensure fiscal responsibility by all administrators and board members. He has, in his role as president, provided leadership that encourages honesty and respect among board members and the community. He has based all decisions on facts presented to board members and respectfully has ensured that input provided by the administration and community was reviewed and considered by the board.


One project that John volunteered for while a board member was to coordinate the building of the Greenhouse at the RCS High School. This project exemplifies his diligence to promoting and completing a project utilizing the talent within our community. Members of this community were recruited for their input and support to complete this project. John encouraged and successfully brought together a team of individuals from our community including local businesses, students and district staff. The building of the Greenhouse is an example of what this district can achieve with good leadership and community support. These volunteers saved the district $180,000! Even more important is the long-term benefit the Greenhouse will have on future students in providing another option for them to experience supervised “ hands-on” learning - skills that can be transferred for use in their personal and professional lives.


As a board member, John has:

· supported yet maintained fiscal accountability;

· supported early intervention programs in our elementary schools, more reading teachers in the elementary schools, the enrichment programs, energy savings programs, goal setting, student ex officio, weighted grades, increase in AP courses, policy/processes to increase graduation rate and lowering cost per pupil;

· focused on review of construction projects and saving the district money;

· prevented spending of $300,000 on the Transportation Roof;

· prevented spending $75,000 on septic tank replacement that was unnecessary; and

· sought to ensure long-term energy savings by insulating walls at elementary schools. Both now are Energy STAR certified.


In addition, John has volunteered for and donated his time and money to numerous projects within the district.

To name a few, he was involved with the Greenhouse Project and Flower Garden at PBC, renovation of the concession stand, construction of the storage building at PBC, restoration of the Gazebo at AWB with the Girl Scouts, renovation of the middle school and high school Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) rooms, improvement of air quality and on-demand hot water system at the middle school, construction of large frames built for elementary pictures, construction of the Peter B Coeymans shed (Tim Gordon donation), supported the blacktopping of the AW Becker play ground (Tim Gordon donation), the propane buses, the propane fuel area at bus garage and assisted with land survey (Thatcher Street). He has been involved with  fundraising, concerts, plays, many school sporting events (home and away games), the EXCEL (building) project and much more.


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James J. Latter II - 2382 US Route 9W Ravena, NY 12143

James Latter
James J. Latter II


Latter is a finance analyst for SABIC plastics in Selkirk. He oversees budget preparation and analysis for plants in the US, South America, Mexico and Canada.


He graduated from RCS in 2000 and holds a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from Syracuse University with a minor in economics.


Latter is seeking a second full term on the Board of Education. He is a chairman of the Board of Education's Finance Committee and is a member of the Policy Committee.


He manages the Tee Ball Yankees at HVLL, has coached youth basketball and has been an assistant coach for modified baseball.


He and his wife, Amanda, have one child, Joseph Michael Latter, age 4, who attends preschool.


In his own words...

My name is James Latter and I am running for re-election to the RCS School Board of Education. I am a proud lifelong resident of RCS. Many of you have heard me say that I bleed Green and Gold and that couldn't be more truthful. My wife and I graduated from high school here in 2000, and we chose to come back after college to raise our family and we plan on sending our son Joey here in a couple of years. My wife is currently a math teacher at RCS Middle School and there is not another district that she wants to work for.


This district has given a lot to my family and I. It taught me the values of hard work, community and teamwork. Now, I want to give back. I have worked as a finance analyst for SABIC in Selkirk for the past nine years. The budgeting, organizational and presentation skills I have learned on the job have been invaluable. The greatest asset I take from my work is the ability to understand what is material to a situation. As a board member, you are given massive amounts of information and it is very important to understand what is important quickly so you can make an educated decision.


I have served four years on the board and I have witnessed some of the most difficult times ever to face the education industry. Times have been tough, people are tired, people need something to turn to. I believe RCS can be that beacon in the dark. It is time to stop making excuses and shooting ourselves in the foot. We need to set the example for our children and expect more of our elected officials.


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Laszlo Polyak - 1 Central Avenue Ravena, NY 12143

Laszlo Polyak
Laszlo Polyak


Polyak is a retired auditor from the NYS Education Department.


He graduated from Islip High School on Long Island and received a business degree from Suffolk County Community College and a business teaching degree from SUNY at Albany.


He has three children: Nikita, age 22; Laszlo, age 21; and Jean, age 13 and a grade 7 honor student at RCS.


In his own words...

I am offering my services to be a school board member because I believe my combined life experience (including formerly working for the University of the State of New York - the New York State Education Department) as a Fiscal Management Auditor can bring a a fresh voice and reasonable balance between taxpayers and achieving employment of great teachers, thus always improving our education delivery system.


I would bring professional integrity to the RCS school board in dealing with such matters as un-funded mandates. My business education degree from SUNY Albany will allow me to bring insight to issues that students and educators face, such as the enigmatic "No Child Left Behind Act." Teachers, in general, never leave any child behind and they are currently frustrated that there is pressure to teach through testing which limits their ability to teacher and reach students to think outside the box. I would like our students to graduate and be able to thrive outside "the box" in the real world and have readily ten solutions to any situation/problem life may throw at them. Not only will this celebrate their self-esteem and instill in them a genuine greater pride in their education from the RCS school system; it will give them successful life skills. I was also active in the Civil Service Employees Association Union (CSEA) to provide solutions between management and workers.


I believe my past experience there can also assist in far better communications between the teachers/employees and the school board, hopefully preventing the RCS school district from negative publicity in the news media. With my real world experience and education, I feel I will be an asset for the taxpayers of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District.


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Jason Hyslop - 19 Magnolia Circle Ravena, NY 12143

Jason Hyslop
Jason Hyslop


Hyslop works as a technical color specialist for SABIC (formerly GE Plastics) in Selkirk. He assists the sales team and global customer base achieve their color concepts for their product.


He graduated from RCS with a Regents diploma and attended Hudson Valley Community College.


Hyslop and his wife, Theresa Armina-Hyslop, are involved with the Pieter B. Coeymans PTO.


He and his wife have two children: Skylar, age 8 and a grade 3 student at PBC and Hayden, age 5 and a kindergarten pupil at PBC.


In his own words...

My name is Jason Hyslop and I am running to become a member of the RCS Board of Education. I grew up in South Bethlehem and my wife, Theresa, and I graduated from the RCS school district. In 1997, I purchased a home in Ravena and my two young children now attend PBC Elementary.


I am not new to the community and, as I intend to stay in the area, it is apparent I need to become more involved to provide the same, or better, standard of education I was afforded as a youth. I began attending board meetings to better understand how they impact the school district. It quickly became clear that the average parent and community member was not represented on the current board. Is is my opinion that this representation is crucial to have a more well-rounded and diverse board and, ultimately, a better foundation for our children's education.


For the past 20 years, I've been employed in Selkirk at SABIC (formerly GE Plastics). Since 2005, my position has involved working very closely with our sales team and global customers in order to translate their concepts and requirements into finished products. This requires leadership, teamwork, communication skills, diplomacy and an analytical approach to a practical solution. If nominated, my experience, skills and commitment to the community will make me an asset to the board. I would appreciate your support in my nomination to the RCS Board of Education.


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Judy Sylvester - 124 Morehouse Road Ravena, NY 12143

Judy Sylvester
Judy Sylvester


Sylvester works as a principal clerk with New York State. She assists co-workers and the public with technical issues concerning the filing and processing of documents at the agency. Before working for the state, she was a teacher's aide at RCS.


She graduated from Whitesboro Senior High School, in Marcy near Utica, and attended D'Youville College in Buffalo.


She and her husband, Jack, have two daughters, both RCS graduates.


Sylvester is seeking a first full term on the board. She is involved with the RCS Finance Committee, the Budget Committee, Curriculum & Instruction Committee, Special Committee on the Thatcher St. building and the Special Ed Support Group - ACT.


She is a member of St. Patrick's Church and the Ravena Grange.


In her own words...

In the last year, I have served on the board filling a one-year vacancy caused by the resignation of Scott Hughes. I understand the time and energy commitment necessary to be a board member. Throughout this year, I have attended many meetings here in our district and have seen the dedication and hard work of our board, administration and staff.


As a board member, I would like to continue to work to raise our graduation rate and to preserve programming whenever possible. I want to ensure a quality, affordable education for every child in our district, while not overburdening the taxpayers.


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Patrick E. Brown - 46 Zabel Hill Road Feura Bush, NY 12067

Patrick Brown
Patrick E. Brown


Brown is one of two founding partners in the Brown and Weinraub, PLLC law firm in Albany. The firm specializes in governmental relations.


He graduated from Rensselaer High School and holds a bachelor's in political science from SUNY Oneonta and a Juris Doctor law degree, graduating Magna cum laude, from Pace University School of Law.


He is a member of the Town of Coeymans Zoning Board of Appeals, chairman of the SUNY Oneonta College Council and a board member and treasurer of Grassroot Givers, a local charity.


Brown and his wife, Mary Partridge-Brown, have three children: Sarah and Savannah, both age 20; and Madison, age 14 and an RCS freshman.


In his own words...

My wife, Mary, and I have made our life in Coeymans since 1996. We have three daughters, two of whom graduated from RCS in 2011. Our youngest daughter is now a freshman at the high school. Mary is an educator by training and experience and for several years has been an active volunteer in the district.


I am an attorney and a small business owner. I started my legal career in public service with the state's highest court and later served as assistant counsel to Governor Mario M. Cuomo. In 2001, with my partner David Weinraub, I founded and now own a law firm in Albany. Our principle function is to provide our clients with strategies to effectively deal with government. In all of my professional capacities, I am required to be a problem solver and a consensus builder. I believe those skills and experiences will make me an effective school board member.


My father was a steamfitter and we moved around a lot when I was a kid. I spent three great years of my childhood living on Pulver Avenue in Ravena, playing Little League at Mosher Park and attending Pieter B. None of my school experiences could ever compare with 5th grade at Pieter B. Coeymans with Mrs. Nuite who quite literally changed my life my instilling discipline in me, by challenging me and giving me confidence to think for myself. The Mrs. Nuites of the world are precious, and like all special things, they do not just happen - they must be cultivated, supported and appreciated. That can only happen in a community where education is cherished. I want to represent that community on the RCS School Board.



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The candidates for the RCS Community Library board are:


Joseph L. Boehlke

Rev. Antonio Booth

Laurel Dickerson

Marchell Hough

Marie Sturges

James VanValkenburg


Questions about the Library Candidates?


Please contact Judy Felsten, Library Director


Fax: 518-756-8595