A lawyer, a professor, a Fisher-Price technician, a customer service manager and the daughter of an East Aurora teacher will compete for three, three-year terms on the East Aurora School Board in Tuesday's election.
The candidates, as they will be listed on the ballot, are: Jeffrey Markello, incumbent Donald Barr, Gregory Szematowicz, Caitlin Love Crowell and William Williams. Two board incumbents, Jeanne Gallagher and R. Michael Kraus, have declined to seek re-election.
Markello, who practices law with the firm of Joseph Sakowski in Elma, is a graduate of East Aurora High School and has a degree in psychology from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in law from the University at Buffalo.
He has no children but said he is interested in contributing to the community by serving on the board and has participated in schools, including speaking to a sixth grade class about criminal law and giving a presentation to schoolchildren at an academic awards banquet. "I am a proponent of extracurricular activities for students. These are things that often get cut from the budget, but I think they should be retained," Markello said. supported string program at elementary school and current transportation busing.
Barr, a professor of exercise science at Buffalo State College, has served on the board for six years, the last year as board president. His two sons are graduates of East Aurora High School. He has a doctorate and master's degree in exercise science from UB and a bachelor's degree from Colorado State University.
Barr has been a strong advocate for the board setting long-term goals. "I would like to see the board starting a yearly goal-setting pattern and so provide the kind of leadership that is needed," he said, adding that the board needs to work on values education and advancing technology in the schools.
A graduate of East Aurora High School, Szematowicz has worked for Fisher Price for about 20 years and is a model technician there. He took business management courses at Canisius College in Buffalo and the School of Industrial Labor Relations of Cornell University.
He has three children in the schools and feels he can represent district residents well. "I'd like to make the board more accessible to people," he said, suggesting that board meetings should be taped for broadcast on the local public-access television station. He said that his experience as a religious education instructor has given him insight on teachers' experience in the classroom.
Caitlin Love Crowell, the daughter of East Aurora teacher Robert Crowell, attended East Aurora schools through eighth grade and finished her high school education at Buffalo Seminary. Her mother, Phoebe Nicely, teaches at Arcade Elementary School.
Ms. Crowell, who does not have children, attended colleges in Europe and New York University, is a student at the University at Buffalo and works as a hostess at an area restaurant. "It would behoove the board to have more representation from the various sectors of the community," she said. "The board sometimes gets lost in discussions of budgets. What's important is the kids."
William Williams, a graduate of East Aurora High School and a customer service manager at Clarklift of Buffalo Inc., has five children in district schools. "I believe my business background will be a plus for the school board," he said. He said that there should be more "community involvement and parental involvement" in the schools.
Voting on the $14.4 million budget and a proposition to make school buildings more accessible, will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the East Aurora Middle School.