Tom Stein, who is finishing his first term, will be running for re-election. He will be joined on the ballot by Shaun Kloepfer. Kloepfer will be new to the board, but has served in parent organizations and other capacities for the last seven years. Vivek Kamath, who along with Stein ran in a contested election in 2020, is not running.
The board and budget vote is on Tuesday, May 16th.
Today we are pleased to present the MyRye.com Q&A with board of education candidate Shaun Kloepfer:
Your Name: Shaun Kloepfer
MyRye.com: Why are you running for school board?
Kloepfer: As the daughter of two educators working in public school systems, I learned early on the importance of a strong school board. Having been deeply involved with Rye Public Schools’ Parent Organizations over the past seven years, I have been fortunate to have worked closely with parents and school administrators. I would love the opportunity to continue this work on a larger scale and to be a part of the decision making that goes into forming our district policies and sustaining the high level of education that people expect in Rye.
Why are you running for school board now?
Kloepfer: Having served on Rye’s Parent Organization Executive Boards at the elementary, middle school and now high school level, I am ready to move into a a role that allows for service at a higher level and serves the district as a whole. Plus it helps that I no longer need to hire a babysitter for any late night Board of Education meetings.
Yes or No: Do you plan to support the upcoming school budget vote on Tuesday, May 16th?
What are three or four features of the current budget that make it worthy of voter support?
Kloepfer: The proposed budget provides for ongoing work in important areas such as extending the Singapore math curriculum into the Middle School, continuing the literacy work started with the Haskins Lab, continued support for student mental health, and improved communications with a new website platform.
- The budget is tax-cap compliant.
- The budget provides for the continuation of some terrific curricula and programming that have been put into place but require ongoing work to reap the benefits such as extending the Singapore math program into sixth grade and continuing to collaborate with the Haskins Lab on improving literacy outcomes.
- The proposed budget provides continued support for student mental health including expanded efforts in providing counseling services.
- A much needed website upgrade is included in the proposed budget that will improve communication and ease the sharing of important information.
Beyond its budget, the Rye City School District sees financial support from the parent organizations from each of the five schools, as well as the Rye Fund for Education. Financially, what role do and should each of these entities play in the life of the school district?
Kloepfer: The Rye City School District is fortunate to have very involved Parent Organizations working to provide additional learning experiences in each building. The POs provide funding for needed projects and materials in the classroom, curricular and social programming at all grade levels and building enhancements to the extent possible for each of their respective schools. The Rye Fund for Education plays a slightly different role and provides additional support to help enrich the educational experiences in the areas of arts, academics and athletics across all five schools in the district. These initiatives are outside the scope of the District’s annual budget. Our students and community benefit greatly from the continued support of each school’s Parent Organization and the Rye Fund for Education.
What are the three biggest opportunities / challenges facing the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- The greatest challenge facing Rye schools is meeting the goals of The Rye Commitment in a tax cap environment. The District must be conservative in its budgeting, fiscally responsible, and remain mindful of the impact to our tax payers while continuing to offer sustainable programming and maintain our standard of excellence.
- Providing ongoing professional development is key. With curricula changing on a regular basis, the incorporation of individualized student data and the increased focus on the social and emotional well-being of students, it is critical to provide our teachers with the support and tools they need to be successful and to maximize their abilities to effect change in the classrooms and best support our students.
- Data collected from the administration of the district’s universal screener over the past two years will provide the opportunity for individualized instruction meeting each student at the right level. This provides greater opportunities to increase support for students when needed and challenge students already working at higher levels.
What are the three biggest areas for cost containment with the Rye schools over the next 3-5 years?
- The current economic landscape comprised of cost of living increases, historic inflation rates and lingering post covid impacts on construction (and costs in general) will greatly affect the remaining work to be done on the Capital Project. The district will have to be mindful to contain costs in this environment while continuing the original scope of work.
- The district can work to contain costs by examining its purchasing practices. Rye schools can continue to participate in purchasing co-operatives and leverage state contracts to ensure we are getting the best possible prices.
- Working within the confines of a tax cap ensures the District is working to contain costs.
What is your favorite book?
Kloepfer: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
What are you watching these days?
Kloepfer: Shrinking and Ted Lasso, both on Apple TV
How many years have you lived in Rye?
Where did you grow up?
Kloepfer: Sparta, NJ
When you were a kid, what was your favorite thing to do on a snow day?
Kloepfer: When I was younger, my favorite snow day activities were ice skating and sledding, but I most remember driving up to the local ski mountain as a teen and skiing on snow days.
Here is the bio and quote Kloepfer provided to the District:
Shaun Kloepfer has lived in Rye for eight years and has children at Rye Middle and Rye High School. Since moving to Rye, Shaun has been actively involved in the District’s Parent Organizations. She has served 10 annual terms across the Osborn, RMS and RHS Executive Boards as News Editor or Co-President. She is also on the High School’s Challenge Success team. Shaun has served on several committees for Rye Middle School and the District over the past four years including the RMS Excellence Committee, the Professional Learning Committee, and several interview committees to assist in screening potential administrators and faculty. Shaun has a background in Human Resources most recently focusing on benefit plan design and strategy for Marsh & McLennan Companies and Avon. Previously she worked at JP Morgan and Hull Trading/Goldman Sachs. She has a BA from Binghamton University.
I have had the privilege of working closely with parents and administrators in the Rye City School District for the past seven years. It has been an honor to advocate for the parents in our community. I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve at a higher level and hope to continue to improve educational opportunities for all students in our District while ensuring they are fully supported socially and emotionally. My background in Human Resources and prior volunteer service in Rye’s public schools will help me be an objective, collaborative, and dedicated member of the Board of Education.