Who's running for the East Meadow Board of Education?


Four candidates will vie for two seats on the East Meadow School District’s board of education next week. Polls are open on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at all district elementary schools. Registered voters should cast their ballot at the school they’re zoned for.

Ahead of the election, the Herald asked the candidates about their goals and the issues facing the district.


Herald: Why did you decide to run (or run again) for the Board of Education?

Eileen Napolitano (incumbent): I am running for re-election because I see the need to advocate for members of our community that feel unheard. My goal is to bring unity to our community.  A sense of fairness to all and an open dialogue to communicate with community members and parents. I realize every student learns differently and I will support all avenues of educational opportunities including apprenticeship.

Razia Jayman-Aristide:  In the last few months, the board of education really took the time to listen, hear me and sit down with me to try to come up with action plans for some concerns that I had raised. I was asked to put my name in the hat for this seat and I did not hesitate to say yes. I believe that I can help to look at the various stages of formative development that our children are in and review policies and procedures through that lens. Given my expertise in the field of medicine, experience as a medical educator, leadership roles in the business of healthcare and most of all, my role as a mother and community member, I can bring more voices to the table from our community members. 

Nikole De Luca: Having been a member of this community for the last 11 years and a mother of three boys, ages 14 and 12, in the district, I have seen various concerns come to pass, such as the need for improved programs for special education and mental health and wellness. While the board has addressed some of the concerns of the district, I feel that there is room for improvement.  Our district can do better for our children in a number of arenas.  By running for the Board of Education, I feel that I can bring a fresh eye to the issues at hand. 

Maria Talluto: Last year was eye-opening for the district.  I want to see us keep our eyes opened. I don’t want us to feel embarrassed of our school district or appalled at policies or ideals pushed by the superintendent, administration or staff that is ultimately hired by the board. The hiring of key personnel is one of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Education.  These are the individuals who determine what is being taught to our students and how it is being taught. My goal is to be one of the seven people who hire these pivotal employees.


Herald: What are the main goals and issues you wish to address if you are elected?

Napolitano: Focusing on learning loss which many students are still experiencing, increasing avenues to communicate with our community and supporting mental health resources for our students who feel pressure both socially and academically. Our long-term goals should include keeping our students competitive and be mindful of our stakeholders by supporting a sound budget. 

Jayman-Aristide: My main goal is to address the feedback I have heard from community members, relaying exactly what can be brought to the BOE, increased transparency, communication, policies and involvement with various organizations. We may not all agree on topics, but I think we can respectfully have discussions and come to a stage of compromise. Closed loop communication through consistent forums outside of the board of education meetings is something I would like to start. Educating community members on areas such as opt out, content taught in school, book ratings and budgets would be another goal of mine, so that everyone can make informed decisions that are data driven.

De Luca: As an educator and a parent, I feel there is room for improvement in a number of arenas. I would like to increase transparency between the Board of Ed., central administration, and the community, improve the security shortfalls in the district, improve how the mental health arena is managed at all levels, not just in the high school, and return the “A-school” back to our district.

Talluto: Transparency and security. I would like to incorporate opportunities for community members to witness how their board members are working for them. In order to develop increased stakeholder trust in our board of education and central administration, the community needs to watch and listen to these two groups engaged in discussions where actual problems are resolved.  This transparency will allow the community to witness their meaningful partnership. I would like for the central administration and the board of education to hire an outside expert school security consultant that can stay ahead of danger and any threat.  After the despicable display of hate this district witnessed, I want us ahead of it.


HERALD: Why do you feel you are qualified for the position you are running for?

Napolitano: I am deeply rooted in my community, and I have worked hard over the past 6 years to earn the community’s trust and confidence for another term.

Jayman-Aristide: Our educators are great at what they do. I believe bringing my healthcare, financial, leadership and education skills will provide a different lens for future progress in the board of education. I always come from a good place professionally and personally. We all say that it is “all about the children”, but I believe I have shown through grace and class that I really am all about the children. I took an oath as a physician to “do no harm” and I never confined that to only my professional career. 

De Luca: I am a mother and community member. I have been a teacher for 20 years with a bachelor’s and master’s Degree from Stony Brook University. Additionally, I am a member of a number of local, state, and national professional organizations that have given me many ways to identify and address pedagogical concerns. I hope to use my background to be able to have a seat at the table where policies are made.

Talluto: I am a taxpayer in East Meadow, a wife, and a teacher, but most of all, I am a mother. Each and all of these hats I wear make me qualified to be a member of the East Meadow Board of Education.  I feel that my priorities and beliefs are aligned with the community members of East Meadow. My passion and determination will drive me to address the specific areas in need of improvement and to be an advocate for all the district stakeholders.