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Meet the Levittown School Board Candidates

The Levittown Board of Education has two seats open for election for the 2010/11 school year. Trustee Gina Interdonato’s three-year term has expired and she has decided not to run for re-election. President Dan Bornstein’s three-year term has also expired and he is running for re-election. Bornstein, Thomas Kohlman, Peggy Sheridan-Marenghi and James W. Moran are all running for two, at-large positions. The Levittown Tribune has asked them a series of questions. Their answers appear below in alphabetical order.

Tribune: Why are you running?

Dan Bornstein: I am currently a member of the Levittown Board of Education. I feel that I have been part of a positive change in the district. I am seeking a second term in order to see the changes continue. This board has driven transparency and accountability in which we have made good progress. We have the district administration looking at things with a more businesslike approach. There is still more that can be done and I am the one that can continue to drive the change.

Thomas Kohlman: In these difficult economic times, the taxes keep rising and too many services are being cut from the children in the community. I went through the Levittown school system myself and my son is now in high school. I would like him to receive the same quality education that I have received. I have decided to run in the hopes of finding a happy balance so that the taxpayers can afford to stay here in the community that they know and love and have worked so hard to build. I would love the opportunity to work with the remaining board members to ensure a greater fiscal accountability to the taxpayers of the Levittown School District.

Peggy Sheridan-Marenghi: I am running for the BOE in Levittown because I believe it is my time to give back to the community that has served my family well for over 50 years. My dad was a veteran who came out to settle in Levittown in 1950. I always believed the Levittown community had strong core virtues, a great educational system, and a solid sports program. I believe in this difficult fiscal time we do everything possible to maintain these three elements Levittown was developed on.

James W. Moran: I am running to ensure that Levittown students remain the No. 1 priority and to make sure the residents have a voice in decisions in the district.

Tribune: Have you ever run for BOE before?

Bornstein: I ran in 2005 and again in 2007.

Kohlman: No

Marenghi: No

Moran: Yes

Tribune: Have you ever held a BOE position before?

Bornstein: I was a board trustee in 2007-2008, vice president in 2008 – 2009, and president of the board in 2009 – 2010.

Kohlman: No, I have never held a BOE position before, but as shown below, I believe that my community involvement would be a great asset to the board of education by enabling me to share some new ideas with the current board members.

Marenghi: No

Moran: I served for 11 years; three of those as president.

Tribune: What is your day job?

Bornstein: I am an operations manager for a large international telecommunications company. I have been with the company for 15 years and am based in Nassau County.

Kohlman: I am president of Classic Interiors, which is a design and painting company. I am responsible for preparing budgets, writing bids, and maintaining outstanding customer service.

Marenghi: I have been in the field of education for 30 years. I began as a lunch monitor; then I became a classroom aide; next, I became a teacher. I taught for 18 years. After that I became an assistant principal. Currently, I am a principal in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District.

Moran: I have been employed by the Town of Hempstead Sanitation Department for 30 years.

Tribune: Please give a brief bio with family information, past interaction with school district or community-related activities.

Bornstein: I am married to my wife Pam for 20 years. We have three children attending school in the Levittown School District. I have been on the board of education for three years. Prior to that, I served on the Citizen’s Budget Committee for five years. I also held various positions in the Levittown PTA including unit co-president, unit vice president, council delegate and chaired several PTA committees. I have been a coach, manager and executive officer with the Levittown West Little League from 1999-2007. I have been a mentor for Junior Achievement for 12 years.

Kohlman: I was born and raised in Forest City in Wantagh. I attended Lee Road School, Salk Middle School, and MacArthur High School. I married my wife Irene and we moved to Colorado. While in Colorado, I became a certified Emergency Medical Technician and worked as a neonatal paramedic for a children’s hospital. After 11 years, we returned to New York, and moved back to Forest City to raise our son Jordan because we wanted him to experience the same sense of close community and family traditions as we did growing up. Because of my great allegiance to the Levittown School District, I wanted my child to attend Levittown schools. I have been very involved in the community for years. I have been a member of the Forest City Community Association (FCCA) for 16 years and am currently a sitting board member, holding the position of secretary of the FCCA. In addition, I am a member of the Levittown Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee, the Levittown Property Owners Association, Levittown Community Council, Food Service Committee, and Secondary Education Committee. Also, I am currently assisting the MacArthur Crease Club by helping them put together their annual lacrosse journal. Furthermore, I am the co-founder of the FCCA Bike Path Committee to help stop the Department of Transportation from putting a public bike path right next to the children’s playground at one of our district’s elementary schools. Through this endeavor, I helped to get the children of our community involved by distributing fliers and newsletters throughout the community.

Marenghi: My family and I have lived in Levittown since 1950. I grew up with six brothers and sisters and we were all involved in community activities and sports. My two brothers played on the original Levittown Red Devils Football Team. I participated in many sports and when I turned 18 I coached softball, cheerleading, and LSA swimming. I also was a volunteer religious teacher for special needs children at Saint Bernard’s. By growing up in Levittown, I learned community service is vital in order to develop a thriving community for all its residents. In 2000, I became a volunteer for the American Red Cross. I worked at Ground Zero and after hurricane Katrina I was a shelter manager in Slidell, Louisiana for 22 days. My shelter had over 500 people who lost everything in the hurricane. Due to the values I learned growing up in a family-centered community, I was honored to serve the people in Louisiana. On a personal note, I am married and have two children. My husband, Frank, is a teacher. My daughter, Melissa, is a behavioral specialist and my son, Kevin, is a Nassau County Corrections Officer. He recently bought a house in Levittown. I have three sisters who still live in Levittown and many nieces and nephews who currently attend Levittown schools.

Moran: I have coached in Levittown North Baseball, Levittown Central Baseball, St. Bernard’s Basketball and currently serve as assistant commissioner of Red Devils Football for 15 years. I am married to my wife Catherine and we have two sons, James and Justin.

Tribune: What makes you a good candidate for this BOE position?

Bornstein: Having three years of experience on the board makes me a good candidate. More importantly, it is my dedication and commitment to the children and families that go to our schools and live in our community.

Kohlman: As an independent thinker, I am dedicated to keeping the community affordable for everyone, especially our seniors. At the same time, as a parent of a child who is still attending the school district, I am very interested in reducing waste to help ensure that our students continue to get the best possible education.

Marenghi: I am a great candidate for the BOE for many reasons. First and foremost, my roots in Levittown run long and deep. I am a resident for over 50 years and I believe that the solid upbringing I received growing up in Levittown coupled with my 30 years in education qualifies me to serve the Levittown community as a member of the BOE. I am well versed in issues facing school districts today, especially school budgets.

Moran: I have experience of 11 years and have no hidden agenda. My only desire is to educate children and try to lobby Albany for more state aid to benefit students and taxpayers.

Tribune: If elected, what are your goals for the district?

Bornstein: I am part of the current board that has driven transparency, my goal is to continue to drive it and make it the norm, not the exception. We need to continue to find ways to reduce operating expenses while maintaining quality education for our children.

Kohlman: My goals are to have a greater financial accountability to the taxpayers, lower taxes, reduce waste, and more importantly to maintain the quality of education that our students deserve.

Marenghi: If I were elected, my main goal would be to be fiscally responsible while at the same time provide a rigorous curriculum, a solid sports program and an environment that fosters great citizenship. I believe this can be accomplished if all constituent groups work collaboratively.

Moran: To take Levittown to the next level in education. I want to be part of the great things to come in this district.

Tribune: Anything else you would like to say (briefly)?

Bornstein: N/A

Kohlman: I would just like to say how important it is to me that our children get the most well-rounded education that they possibly can including being able to participate in clubs, after-school activities, music, drama and sports, to name a few. On April 30, while attending my son’s lacrosse game at MacArthur High School, I was sitting on the bleachers looking around and I saw the whole campus filled with activities from girls’ lacrosse, track (pole vaulting, shot put, high jump, runners) baseball, and the boys JV lacrosse game. There had to be hundreds of kids involved in these activities. All I could do was just smile and think that this is what it is all about. The students are staying off the street and staying active to help reduce the ever-growing problem of childhood obesity, while more importantly developing teamwork, camaraderie, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Marenghi: I am an energetic, positive lady who believes that a great education is the key to a successful life. At this time in my life, I have the time necessary to be an active member on the BOE in Levittown. I hope I am given this opportunity.

Moran: I know the question has come up “why vote for someone who resigned mid-term?” Well I had personal family issues to attend to at the time, which has since been corrected. I am ready to dedicate myself to the well being of the students and residents.