Three Board of Education trustees are running unopposed for re-election in the Oceanside and Island Park school districts. Communities will vote for the uncontested school board positions and school budgets on May 21.
For the Oceanside School District, current trustees Robert Transom and Michael D’Ambrosio will reclaim their spots on the board for another three-year term.
Transom, 65, is a 30-year resident of Oceanside and father of three Oceanside High School alumni. He has served on the school board for 21 years and volunteered as president of Oceanside Community Service, Inc., post commander of the American Legion Memorial Post No. 1246 and past president of Kiwanis Club of Oceanside. He adopted the saying “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you” as a motto for Oceanside Community Service, a line printed on his mother’s notepads when he was growing up, he recalled.
“I have always volunteered throughout my life,” he said. “My only way to describe it is I have a compulsion to assist where needed to make things better for someone or everyone in the community and beyond.”
Transom was elected to the school board in 1998 after serving as chairman of the board-appointed Standing Committee on Building and Grounds for three years. He brought his boots-on-the-ground experience in school building operations, construction management and maintenance to the board.
In his two decades as a trustee, Transom has seen many changes in Oceanside and become increasingly interested and involved in financial planning and transparency during the budget process. “Collegially we have established Oceanside as a true educational leader in the state, providing the best educational ‘bang for your buck’ for taxpayer dollars,” he said.
His goals as a returning board member are to “listen to the community, implement innovative, preventive maintenance programs and plan extraordinary repairs to protect tax payer investment in our community,” he said.
D’Ambrosio, 61, has lived in Oceanside for nearly 40 years and served on the school board for six. As a father of three, he has made attending his children’s school events a priority.
“As they got older, they needed me less, but I still wanted to be involved in the lives of young people,” he said. “Since I have had the good fortune of serving the community in this capacity, and despite the huge time commitment it requires, I have never regretted my decision.”
In addition to serving on the school board, D’Ambrosio is the chair of Top Soccer Special Needs Children NYS and serves on the boards of various community organizations, including Kiwanis Club, Oceanside Community Service, Oceanside Department of Community Activities, St. Anthony’s Pastoral Council and Oceanside Knights of Columbus. He also works for the Nassau County Parks Department and his family’s hardwood flooring business.
Going into his third term on the school board, D’Ambrosio said he would make school safety and mental health a priority. He said he also plans to continue improving programs for students while keeping the school budget within the tax cap, which he noted he is proud to have helped the board accomplish every year he has been a member.
For example, he said, “As a district we will be fully Wi-Fi accessible thanks to the smartbond monies. I look forward to seeing how the district creates environments where the technology continues to be used effectively in the service of learning.”
In Island Park Public Schools, Tara Byrne, an Island Park resident for 17 years, is running unopposed for re-election to the school board for a five-year term. The mother of two has previously served on the PTA board as president and recording secretary.
“Being on the PTA taught me four very important things,” she said, “listening skills, organization, how to be diplomatic and always think ‘students first.’”
Byrne, 54, works full time at an insurance agency. She joined the school board in 2013 because, she said, “all Island Park students deserve an outstanding education.”
Byrne advocates for students with illnesses and disabilities, for whom “attending school can be a unique challenge,” she said. In her second term on the board, she aims to support leadership development for teachers and involve community and business leaders in developing the board’s strategic planning.
“Our teachers must have the tools and resources they need to teach our students with various abilities and needs,” she said. “I am proud to say that the Island Park School District is second-to-none in accommodating special needs students both academically and socially.”
The school budget vote and Board of Education election is May 21. In Oceanside, residents may vote at School Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 8, depending on their street address. In Island Park, voting will take place at Lincoln Orens Middle School.