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Candidate profile: Donna E. Tomkins, Grand Island School Board

File nameSchool district: Grand Island

Age: 57

Town (current residence): Grand Island

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

For the past 27 years, I have worked full time at Sevenson Environmental Services as their Corporate Travel Manager. I served as Treasurer of G.I. Cooperative Nursery School. PTA Officer to include Recording Secretary and other various positions for 7 years. Chairperson of the Women and Mens Porter Cup Golf Tournaments. Niagara Falls PAL Committee person for 2 years. ITC Elderly Housing Board of Directors for 10 years. GI Relay for Life Corporate Sponsor Chairperson for 2 years. Artpark and St Mary's Hospital Foundation Fundraising Committees.

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 32

Incumbent: Yes

If yes, how long have you served on the school board? 6

Have you run for office before?  Yes

If yes, please list your election history:

Two terms as Grand Island School Board Trustee.

Please tell us about yourself:

My husband JT (GI Class of 1974) and I currently live on Bishops Gate Road right behind the High School. We have two sons Nicholas and Benjamin who attended Sidway, Kaegebein and the Middle School. They both graduated from our High School, Nick in 2008 and Ben in 2011. We were fortunate to host many exchange students including Eduardo Toledo who arrived from Brazil in 2007, graduated from our high school and is still an important part of our family.

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

Our community passed a bond issue that allowed us to improve the infrastructure in every school building on the island. At the High School we built a new technology wing, greatly improved the auditorium and built an improved track with a multi-sport turf field. I am proud of being a part of developing this project and seeing its proper completion is important to me. Currently my number one priority is the search process and hiring of a new superintendent. We need to find the right leader who can work with our administrators, teachers and residents in a productive and inclusive manner that will continue our tradition of excellence in education and extracurricular activities.

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

Please explain why, in 100 words or less:

I believe that our Public Education system is now moving in the right direction. NYS still needs to find additional money now and stop using Gap Elimination in their local school district aid formula as a political tool. They should stabilize the funding necessary to ensure that our schools have the resources needed to help students grow and meet the challenges that they will face. These children are our future. We need to support and expand Public Education so that these kids are taught the skill sets that they will need to handle themselves in their everyday lives.

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