By Carmelette Rotella
Being a member of the Niagara Falls Board of Education has been a tremendous challenge and responsibility. I am pleased with what we have been able to accomplish but realize that there is much more to do.
I am seeking re-election because I believe it is essential to provide a quality education for our children. An educated community is the key to our future. I believe that I am the most qualified candidate in the field; my credentials in education are second to none. I have had over thirty years of experience, both as a teacher and guidance counselor. I have had the opportunity to work at every grade level in the NF school district — secondary, prep, and elementary. I am well versed in state mandates, higher academic standards, testing, graduation requirements and the many challenges facing our students in this community.
During my tenure on the NF Board of Education, student test scores have improved, graduation rates have increased; a $116.7 million capital fund was created that enabled the rebuilding of Niagara Street School, improved technology and science labs(STEM) in all our schools, infrastructure improvement in all our schools, and the building of new athletic complexes – at no cost to the taxpayer. Personally, I have actively participated in Board planning concerning new construction, finance, program, personnel, and technology.
I am dedicated to the community and the school district and have fostered my leadership ability through training with Leadership Niagara and have been recognized by local and statewide organizations for my leadership and commitment. I currently serve as the Board of Education Vice-President. In the past I was elected President of the Niagara Falls Teachers. I have served as the Orleans-Niagara representative, where my experience as a school counselor at Trott Vocational High School, gave me firsthand knowledge of vocational education. I have worked hard to assure that students have the opportunity to pursue career and technical training. I have participated in community organizations including the Niagara Falls Housing Authority where I have served as commissioner and chairperson. In these capacities I have lobbied local, state and federal officials on issues and funding. I have a track record that indicates that I am willing to devote the time: I walk the walk–not just talk the talk. I get involved and get things done.
Finally, there are many challenges facing the Board now and in the future. They include:
– The effects of the presence of charter schools.
– Inadequate funding by the State Of New York.
– Maintaining and improving academic performance.
– Continuing to work for no increase in the district tax levy.
– A number of social issues.
I believe that I have been a conscientious, committed member of the Board of Education and am prepared to ask for your support to continue to serve our students, staff, and community.