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Candidate profile: Chris E. Pashler, Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board

chris-pashlerSchool district: Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda

Age: 41

Town (current residence): Kenmore

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

Attorney with Pashler & Devereaux, LLP; Trustee, Ken-Ton Union Free School District; Trustee, Village of Kenmore Housing Authority

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 6

Incumbent: Yes

If yes, how long have you served on the school board? 1

Have you run for office before?  Yes

If yes, please list your election history:

I was appointed by the Board of Education in August 2015 following the resignation of a trustee.

Please tell us about yourself:

My wife and I have called Kenmore home for the past seven years after I had an opportunity to teach legal writing at the UB Law School. Our three daughters were all born here, and my oldest started kindergarten in the District this year. My parents, who were both teachers, inspired me to pursued teaching law, and I worked with excellent students, many of whom are now young lawyers in Western New York. As a lawyer, my practice focuses on advocating for the disabled and Veterans, and I have lectured on disability topics at both national and regional conferences

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

The top issue facing the District is the impact of declining enrollment. Declining enrollments led to consolidation and closure of several neighborhood schools. Whether consolidation will ultimately be successful remains to be seen, but it is clear that the District leaders need to address the decline in student enrollment. The solution may be simple. Approximately one in four students living in the district attends a private or parochial school. As a school board member, we need to work to retain (or even bring back) these students. The Board needs to work to help educate our community about our dedicated and passionate teachers, quality academic programs, and our distinguished students.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? Yes

Please explain why, in 100 words or less:

Public schools across New York have a tradition of offering a high quality education that has promoted student achievement. Within New York, the District has a strong tradition, having produced many quality graduates who have gone on to pursue careers in law, journalism, education, and business. Although schools across New York State are facing challenges on many fronts, District parents and other stakeholders are engaged citizens who are aware of the problems in our public schools. With a unified vision of what public education could be, parents, teachers, and other stake holders can seek enact positive changes at the state level.

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