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Home Schools Rye Schools Board of Ed LETTER: Retiring BOE Member with Praise for Three Candidates

LETTER: Retiring BOE Member with Praise for Three Candidates

In a letter to MyRye.com ahead of the election on Tuesday, May 18th, Rye Board of Education member Kelly Smith-Powers sings the praises of candidates Chris Repetto and Callie Erickson, as well as Kelsey Johnson. Repetto and Erickson are incumbents running for re-election. This is the first race for Johnson. Smith-Powers is not seeking re-election.

Kelly Smith-Powers has a background in Human Resources and Employee Relations at Accenture and Merrill Lynch, most recently as a Director supporting Debt Markets at Merrill Lynch. A product of the New York public school system, she and her family moved to Rye in 2012. Since that time, she has served on the board of her neighborhood association, volunteered in the schools, served on the Rye Sustainability Committee and done pro-bono HR consulting for a legal aid not-for-profit. Kelly is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work at New York University. Kelly has three children in the Rye City Schools.

Kelly Smith-Powers BOE Rye NYDear Community Members:

My name is Kelly Smith-Powers, and I am a current Rye City School Board Member, completing my 2nd term in June. I have chosen not to seek reelection, a difficult decision that I made a year ago following a decision to switch my professional direction and return to school.

The most difficult part of this decision is losing the day-to-day connection I have with such an incredibly dedicated and forthright group of people, my fellow Board Members, our School Superintendent, and our District Administration.

I have been honored to serve alongside my fellow School Board Members. During my six years, I have been proud to sit on a School Board that is collaborative, thoughtful, thorough and considerate; they have inspired me personally and professionally.

This year, two of my fellow Board Members, Callie Erickson and Chris Repetto, are running for reelection. For those of you that know them personally or professionally, my high regard for them will come as no surprise; for those that are not familiar with them, I want to provide my brief and personal summary.

Chris Repetto’s background in finance has always added important oversight expertise. Chris currently has two graduates of and one child in the Rye City School District. Now, in his 9th year on the board, Chris has invaluable experience, is open to other perspectives and ideas, and always comes to the table willing to consider different paths and solutions. I will miss his humor, perspective, and intense love for financial models.

Callie Erickson also has a background in finance and has served on several different finance advisory boards; she is currently the chair of the School District’s Audit Committee. Callie currently has three children in the district. Callie approaches all issues with a calm, thoughtful approach. She listens first to all perspectives, asks key questions, and always weighs her response and recommendations against our Rye Commitment. I will miss her warmth and her thoughtful, measured approach, no matter the topic or issue.

Additionally, in my role as the District’s liaison to the City’s Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee, I have had the opportunity to work with Kelsey Johnson for the past three years. Kelsey is currently co-chair of the City’s Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee (TPS). Kelsey has three children in the District and also has a background in finance. A key role of the TPS committee is to listen to our community’s thoughts and concerns regarding traffic matters. This can be complicated by opposing views and opinions from neighbors. Kelsey has always approached these issues with flexibility, impartiality, and a desire to implement clear measures that allow for prioritization of projects based on data.

We are fortunate to have strong civic engagement with another contested Board of Education election this year. I firmly believe that our community should, at every opportunity, welcome open discussions and dialogue amongst candidates running for our School Board. I encourage every community member to get to know all eight candidates and to watch last Thursday’s forum hosted by the League of Women’s Voters. I hope you will join me in considering and evaluating their ability to serve our community in a thoughtful, balanced manner that extends beyond individual and single issue views and considers first and foremost the needs and perspectives of all of our students.

Please vote on Tuesday, May 18th, from 6:00am to 9:00pm in the Rye Middle School gym.


  1. It would be helpful if you would criticize the vicious lies that are being spread by your/their supporters on Rye Moms and Rye Mom’s Uncensored about the other candidates.


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