Meet the Candidates – four RCS residents running for three board seats

During the Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday, May 8, four Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk residents gave statements as to why they are running to fill one of three seats on the RCS Board of Education. Here are their statements:

Kristin Hill-Burns, Howard Engel III, Taknika Mickey, Edward Reville

Kristin Hill-Burns

I am a Graduate from the RCS School District along with my husband Eric. We have two children in the school district, one who attends A.W. Becker in fourth grade and we have a little one who’s not quite there yet, but is in our Little Feet Day Care in the Coeymans area. Tonight I am asking you all to come out and vote next Tuesday. Not only for the school board and library, but to support me in my second term for the board of education.

I’m asking you for your support before my continuous care that I have for the children in our school district and this community. I want to be a positive voice in not only my son’s education, but for others in our community. If reelected, I will be receptive to the community, parents, children and the staff. I will encourage an open dialogue with the board of education and myself. I will listen to your thoughts and concerns and bring them back to do what I can to help others.

I will continue to advocate for all of our children. With my vision, drive and willingness to collaborate with my community and hope to serve the children to help them succeed. I want to ensure that all the children of RCS School District will receive the best education that they can. And, I thank you.

Howard Engel III

My name’s Bray Engel, I’ve been on the board now seven years, and the reason I’m here, is a couple; one I have kids in each of the grade levels, one in Becker, Charlie is in fourth grade, my son Brady is in seventh grade in the middle school and my daughter Grace made it to the high school this year, she’s a freshman.

I’ve been here involved in the school for a long, long time through the sports association. I started my teaching career here, substitute teaching before I moved over to teach at Avril Park. Education is my career, I’m a high school English teacher, I’ve taught alternative ed. for 13 years, now I’m back teaching English. I have a masters degree in educational administration and I have a lot of experience working in the field.

And, I want, absolutely, what’s the best for our students all the way around. It has nothing to do with anything but wanting this place to flourish. So, I came in at the request of Mr. Latter, seven years ago when we has the crazy board, and it was my intent to fix it. And, we did and we are planning on keeping it that way, so come out and vote next Tuesday, and lets get through another budget season.

Taknika Mickey

I am fairly new to the RCS school community, my family moved here in 2014, and we moved here specifically to attend Ravena schools. I have three children, one graduated in 2017, I have a junior and I have a fourth-grader at Pieter B. From the time I was growing up, I’m originally from Boston, education has been a big part of my life. And, without really incredible adults, and really strong teachers and a great teaching team and school district, I wouldn’t be standing here today. I am confident of that.

I am fortunate enough not to have gone directly to college after high school and have been able to make a good living for myself and my children. I would like that for our children today. I believe firmly in community engagement. I am going to encourage everyone here to vote next week, encourage anyone in the district to vote, engage our business leaders because the children we have in our schools now will be the ones fixing our cars, and doing our banking and taking care of us in our nursing homes and diagnosing our illnesses, and we need to give them the best foundation that we can. I believe we can do that by using the tools that we have, seeking new collaborations and engagement for our students, pairing them up with mentors in the community.

I think that, while we have a great district, there is always room for improvement, we can always grow. And, I would like to bring a fresh perspective and experiences and diversity to this board. I understand that I would be beholden to our students, to our teachers, parents and the community, all of those who pay taxes here. And that we have an ethical, moral and fiscal responsibility to all of those.

So, I am asking for your support. More importantly, I am asking for your willingness to think outside of the box. I am only slightly disappointed that I am the only challenger to existing candidates. And not because I think that there is anything wrong with the board, but we need more people involved in what’s going on here in our community. So, I encourage everyone, even if you don’t think you could stand here and speak to people you’ve never seen before in your life, but show up and listen to those people and share your ideas with those you are comfortable with. And maybe someone else will speak up and maybe you’ll have the idea that will take us forward. But I really encourage everyone to be an active participant in the lives of our children. Thank you very much.

Edward Reville

Hello, my name is Edward Reville, most of you know me as “Teddy.” I’ve been on the school board now for six years. I live with my wife and three children in Selkirk. My wife is an RCS graduate. My three children, Cody who is in fourth grade at A.W. Becker and then I have two children in the middle school; Eddie in sixth grade and Lauren in eighth grade.

I’ve been on the school board now for six years, and really proud of the progress that we’ve made throughout the last six years. We’ve come a long ways, made a lot of improve-ments, but again there’s always new things and new ideas and more work for us to make RCS a great place for all students to attend and to achieve. In the community, I’m involved as a coach and director of the Youth Basketball League along with helping coach in Hudson Valley Little League and the RCS Soccer Club. And, I help out with the RCS Sports Association. Come out next week and vote for our school budget and our board members. Thank you.