Four candidates vie for two BOE seats

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Tara Cassidy

 

    Tara Cassidy, 45, a Wantagh resident since 2008, is currently running for one of the two open seats in the Wantagh School District Board of Education. 

    “As a parent and a taxpayer, as well as a CPA, I believe I can be an asset to the Wantagh community because I can understand the fiscal responsibility as well as the importance of our education for these children,” she said. 

    Cassidy has two children in the Wantagh School District — senior Randy Reif and seventh-grader Abigail Reif. 

Cassidy is a certified public accountant and works at the Tin Box Company of America Inc. in Farmingdale. She is also a current member of the Wantagh 6-12 Association and former member of the Wantagh Elementary School PTA. She is also a coordinator for the Wantagh Arrows Youth Cheerleading League.  

If elected, Cassidy hopes to combine her passion for providing an excellent education to students with actions that are fiscally responsible for district taxpayers — both those who have children in the school system and those who

do not.

“I’m passionate about providing an excellent education for our students, but also balancing that with being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers,” she said.

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Cassidy said she wants to work to maintain the tax cap without taking away from our children. She said a trustee is supposed to represent the whole community, taking into account the needs of everybody.

 

Kera McLoughlin

 

    Kera McLoughlin, 41, of Wantagh, is seeking re-election for her position as a trustee on the Wantagh School District Board of Education for the next three-year term, which starts this Fall. 

    McLoughlin has served on the board for the past six years. She, and her husband Brian, have three children: eighth-grader Jack, sixth-grader Maggie and second-grader Nate — one child in each level of the Wantagh school district — elementary, middle and high school. 

McLoughlin is a former teaching assistant at Massapequa High School. “I was always passionate about education [and] providing great educational experiences for children,” she said. 

McLoughlin has also been involved in the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks, joining the organization’s Long Island Walk planning committee in 2009 and becoming a member of the executive committee as the team mentorship chairperson in 2010. 

She also served as the copresident of Wantagh SEPTA (Special Education PTA) during the 2012-13 school year and has been an active member of the Wantagh Elementary PTA since 2010. 

McLoughlin said the biggest educational area she is passionate about involves addressing the needs of the whole child. “That’s been my focus on the board,” she said. “I’m very passionate about social and emotional learning [and] addressing the mental health needs of children.”

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McLoughlin said she is proud of the work the board has accomplished over the past six years. “I feel that we’re made a lot of progress and put the district on a very good track,” she said.

Peter Mountanos

 

Peter Mountanos, 24, of Wantagh, is seeking re-election for his seat as a trustee on the Wantagh School District Board of Education.  

    Mountanos was elected to the board six years ago, while still a freshman at New York University. “Over those past six years I feel like we’ve made some really great programs in the district,” he said. “I think, while given all that great progress, there’s still more work to be done, and I’d like to see some of that work through.” 

Mountanos, a software engineer for Google, wrote in a bio, on Facebook, that he has spent his whole life as a Wantagh resident and 13 years in Wantagh’s primary and secondary education. Mountanos and one of his close friends launched Wantagh TechDay, where they have taught many Wantagh students how to code in the past five years. Computer science classes were then created and offered district-wide, as a result of this annual day. 

While working on TechDay, he discovered what makes up the inner workings of the administration. “I began to get this idea that my recent experience as a student in Wantagh could actually provide some value to our district on the Board of Education,” he wrote, in the post.

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Mountanos mentioned, in a phone call, a few of the big points the board hopes to accomplish over the next term, including adopting budgets that minimize tax increases while maximizing student programs and improving instructional technology support for the district’s teachers and staff.

 

Laura Reich

 

    First-time candidate Laura Reich, 48, of Wantagh, is seeking one of the two open seats on the Wantagh School District Board of Education. 

    Reich has four children — two, 20-year-old Jaimie and 18-year-old Matthew, who have gone through the Wantagh School District primary and secondary education; Wantagh High School sophomore Dylan; and Wantagh Middle School sixth-grader Sadie. “I have been very, very involved in the district since 2004, when my oldest started kindergarten,” she said. 

Reich spent nine years on the Wantagh Elementary School PTA executive board. She has been the Wantagh 6-12 Association treasurer for the past three years.  She has also volunteered with the Wantagh sports’ booster club and has been the treasurer of the Wantagh High School Bandwagon organization. She is currently an accounting assistant at A N S Consulting Services in Wantagh. 

Reich said she has seen the curriculum change in the years she has been involved in the district’s schools and is interested in how the changes will help develop the students.

“I’m heavily involved in the entire school community and I just feel like it’s time to step it up now and go to the next level of that commitment,” she said. 

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The trustee election and annual budget vote will take place on May 21 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. at Wantagh Elementary, Forest Lake Elementary and Mandalay Elementary.