We’ve seen a lot of good in District 30 in the past few years. Test scores are rising. Programs are blossoming. Outside recognition has been pouring in, most recently in the form of a $600,000 performance grant.
The tone for the district starts at the top, and that is the Board of Education. Elise Antonelli has been a member of this board for the past five and a half years. It’s had its tumultuous moments, but for the most part District 30 is moving in the right direction. There is a five-year plan to address academics, facilities, the budget, technology and support services.
Antonelli served as board president from 2010 to 2012, and those were two of District 30’s most successful years in terms of student performance. She was on the board that hired energetic Superintendent Dr. Elaine Kanas, whose early-education initiatives have paid dividends.
She also led the hiring process for first-year Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling, whose steady hand has kept the district moving forward, and he shares the community’s vision for quality education.
Antonelli is a very thoughtful board member, and she likes to have all of the information before making a decision. She also goes above and beyond the role of a Board of Education trustee. While all board members must have a certain amount of training, she has far surpassed what is required by attending numerous state and national conferences. She has shown a commitment to the position. It’s a volunteer post, but Antonelli has proven that she takes it very seriously.
Her involvement with the Interdistrict Wellness Committee, a group of educators, administrators, board members and community leaders devoted to the social, emotional and physical well-being of students, shows her genuine concern for Valley Stream’s youngest citizens.
Antonelli’s challenger, Oneca Heath-Phillip, is a very strong candidate. Her knowledge of the issues affecting public schools is impressive, especially considering that her children attend private school. Her interest in running for school board seems genuine, and we have no doubt she would be a strong voice for students and taxpayers.
Against a weaker incumbent, Heath-Phillip might have drawn more consideration for our endorsement. This is one of the weaknesses of District 30’s five-member board: It limits opportunities for new people to get involved.
It’s impossible to overlook the good work Antonelli has done as a board member in both District 30 and the Central High School District. She deserves to be re-elected to another five-year term.