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Candidate profile: Nadine M. Ocasio, Sweet Home School Board

School district: Sweet Home

Age: 45

Town (current residence): Town of Tonawanda

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

I am a teacher in West Seneca. Prior to teaching I worked in both the not-for-profit and for profit sectors. I have the most amazing profession and feel fortunate I get to do what I love. I have been involved with my children's PTA, serve on the board for Sweet Home Aquatics (SHAQ), volunteer as a religious education teacher and have been active in various capacities in my neighborhood community group. Most recently I was the contact for Parkview Concerned Neighbors as we negotiated the height of the hotel going up on the edge of our community.

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 15

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? No

Please tell us about yourself:

I am a graduate of Kenmore East High School('88), received my BA at the University at Buffalo, and my Masters at Canisius College. My husband and I have lived in the Sweet Home district for over 15 years. We have two daughters, one at Sweet Home High School and one at Sweet Home Middle School. I am truly passionate about education and believe civic engagement is vital to our communities and our country. I am running for school board because I believe in our public education system.

Please describe the top issues facing your school district and how you would address them as a school board member:

I believe a top issue is the continuous stretching of budget dollars. New York State continues to burden districts with unfunded mandates. In addition, millions of dollars that could be used in our schools is being paid to a private company to create tests that our capable teachers could construct. If elected, I will always fight to put money for education back in the hands of our district, curriculum back in the hands of our teachers, and creativity back in the classroom for our children. I believe by partnering with our teachers we can create successful programs that will ensure high levels of learning for all students.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? No

Please explain why, in 100 words or less:

It saddens me to continuously see education being attacked and, to some extent, dismantled. I want our children to receive the best education possible but not at the expense of loving to learn. When I see children crying while doing homework or in school I know that education is headed in the wrong direction. New York State has always been a leader in education. We need to take a step back, thoroughly examine the Common Core standards and use only what we believe will help us improve our education system and then move forward.

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