On Tuesday, May 18th, the community will vote on the Rye City school district’s annual budget for the 2021-22 school year and will vote to elect three Board of Education members. The vote is in the RMS Gym; polling hours are 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (used to be 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.). The District is not mailing out ballots as it did last year during COVID. Voters can still request an absentee ballot.
There will be a candidates forum moderated by the League of Women Voters on Thursday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m. (zoom link).
Current Board members Callie Erickson and Chris Repetto have announced they will seek reelection; Kelly Smith-Powers will not. Eight candidates are on the ballot – we have shared their bios and now we will be introducing you to each candidate in a Q&A style interview: Callie Erickson, Megan Escherich Evans, Kelsey Johnson, Bozidar Jovanovic, Laura Labriola, John D. Leonard, John Moschetti, and Chris Repetto.
Today we introduce you to Megan Escherich Evans:
MyRye.com: Why are you running for school board?
Escherich Evans: I am running for school board because I am passionate about our education system, with the understanding that our ultimate focus- no matter what- is the wellbeing of our schoolchildren. I am dedicated to helping ensure that our schools are responsive to the needs of all of the students within our community.
Why are you running for school board now?
Escherich Evans: I am running now because my daughter started in the school system this year, and my son will be in kindergarten next year (2022), so the timing felt right. My background in education, and equity and inclusion, will be immensely helpful in providing oversight and support to the superintendent and leaders of our schools.
Yes or No: did you support and vote for the $80 million school bond that passed in 2019?
Escherich Evans: Yes
Yes or No: do you support and plan to vote in favor of the current as-proposed Superintendent’s Recommended Budget presented February 23rd of $94,237,421 million going to vote on vote on Tuesday, May 18th ? [Note: This question was asked prior to the budget hearing on Tuesday, May 4th due to time constraints.]
Escherich Evans: Yes
Please Answer the following questions Yes or No:
|Question||Escherich Evans:Yes or No|
|Does the quality of Rye schools contribute materially to the value of homes in Rye?||Yes|
|Do you, have you or will you have children in the Rye City School District?||Yes|
|Have you been, or will you be in the next six weeks, fully vaccinated against COVID-19?||Yes, as an educator I was lucky enough to be vaccinated in February|
|Do you believe the school district has done a responsible and an effective job of navigating the Coronavirus pandemic?||Yes|
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last year concerning stories about bias in our schools and community came out. Do you acknowledge these stories and believe we should actively address issues of bias? Yes, or No?
Escherich Evans: Absolutely, yes. I have been doing work to support students of color in predominantly white spaces long before this became a “hot topic;” it’s a passion of mine and I hope we can continue to make all students feel valued and that their voices matter.
Are you supportive of school district’s Race, Community and Inclusivity Task Force, Yes, or No?
Escherich Evans: Yes. I believe it is essential for the district to continue its diversity and inclusion efforts respectfully and openly. Our goal as a district should be to promote the wellbeing of all of our students; every student in the district must feel supported, valued, embraced and heard.
What are the three biggest opportunities / challenges facing the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
Escherich Evans: It’s worth noting that it is my belief that board members go in with an open mind, willing to listen to all perspectives objectively. Board members are there to provide oversight and support, not to manage the nitty gritty of what’s happening within the classroom.
- We must make sure all students are having their academic and social/emotional needs met. This necessitates professional development for teachers to design hands on, inquiry based and differentiated learning. I also support early intervention for students with learning disabilities and continuing to improve special education services.
- The pandemic, unfortunately, will have long lasting effects on our students. It will take years to unpack how it will affect student learning and social/emotional development. In the immediate, the Rye Schools should continue to monitor student performance and progress, and also identify lasting effects on our students.
- The Bond Development is of course an ongoing project; managing this undertaking well is important.
What are the three biggest areas for cost containment with the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- Plan for the long term. At times it’s of course necessary to be reactive (especially with the pandemic). However, whenever possible, fiscally planning for the long term is more cost efficient than being reactive or more short term planning.
- Utilize and advocate for state aid when possible.
- Onboarding capable educators (Special Ed specialists, Social Emotional Learning specialists etc.) in-house rather than relying on outside consultants when possible.
Where did you go to grade school?
Escherich Evans: Bronxville Elementary School
Who was your favorite teacher in grade school and why?
Escherich Evans: Ms. Judelman, my first and second grade teacher. She made school exciting and she made every child feel welcomed and loved.
What is your favorite book?
Escherich Evans: Most recently I enjoyed What’s Mine and Yours, by Naima Coster
What are you watching these days?
Escherich Evans: Schitts Creek (netflix).
How many years have you lived in Rye?
Escherich Evans: Eleven
Please provide links to:
Your LinkedIn: N/A
Your Twitter: N/A
Your Facebook: N/A
Megan Escherich Evans is an eleven year resident of Rye. She has two children; her daughter Claire is in kindergarten at Milton and her son Jack will attend Milton next year. Megan has worked in education for her entire adult life. She started her career as a teacher, first in New York City and later at the Waterside School in Stamford, where she has worked for twelve years. After over a decade in the classroom, Megan became the Director of Placement and Alumni Support at Waterside, and has worked closely with the School’s administration and board on strategic planning and curriculum development. Megan has served on the Auxiliary Board of The Rye Free Reading Room and volunteered at CCNS and Milton. She holds a MA from Bank Street Graduate School of Education and a BA from Dartmouth College.