James Svendsen advocates for long-term planning


James Svendsen, a seasoned educator with 34 years of experience, has announced his candidacy for the North Shore School District Board of Trustees. Svendsen says his extensive background in education, coupled with his strong commitment to the community, gives him the experience and insight to serve the district.

A resident of Glenwood Landing, Svendsen lives there with his wife and their two 13-year-old twins who attend North Shore Middle School. After retiring in June, Svendsen has been exploring opportunities in consulting, while spending time with his family.

In his professional journey, Svendsen began as a teacher in New York City and Lawrence, then moved into administration, serving as an assistant principal for two years. He went on to become a principal in New Hyde Park and Garden City for 15 years before assuming the role of director of curriculum for seven years.

Svendsen previously attempted to run for the board but chose to withdraw his candidacy. This time around, he is resolute in his decision and believes that his experience will bring valuable insights to the board.

“I believe in supporting the communities I live in,” Svendsen said. “I feel like I could be a big help to the school board with my education experience and budgeting knowledge.”

Svendsen acknowledged that the North Shore School District faces several challenges, particularly the loss of state funding from the LIPA settlement. He said that he is committed to finding solutions to maintain the quality of education, while ensuring responsible budgeting.

“As a newcomer to the board, I want to hear and listen and find out what’s been going on,” Svendsen said. “I’ve been working with the Legislative Action Committee, and the major issue right now is the loss of funding. We need to find ways to maneuver through this issue while being mindful of our budget.”

When discussing his goals for the board, Svendsen emphasized the importance of long-term planning and setting three to five-year goals for budgeting purposes. He added he believes in understanding where the district stands and the direction it needs to go to ensure a sustainable future.

In particular, Svendsen said that by committing to longer-term planning, the district will be better prepared to deal with situations like LIPA before they occur.

“I’ve been doing school budgets and curriculum planning for years,” Svendsen explained. “My experience in managing budgets and asking the right questions will be beneficial in making informed decisions for the district.”

Regarding his approach to communication, Svendsen stressed the need for outreach and transparency. He praised Chris Zublionis, the district superintendent, and other administrators for their efforts in keeping the community informed and engaged.

On the topic of sports and extracurricular activities, Svendsen expressed his support for long-term planning as well. He added that while he understood the necessity of balancing the needs of the arts, sciences and humanities, it was important to prioritize and support athletics and other extracurricular activities.

“We should be planning long-term for projects like upgrading gym facilities, dance studios, or orchestra rooms,” Svendsen said. “These projects should not come as emergencies but should be part of a long-term plan.”

When asked about the unique qualities of the North Shore School District, Svendsen spoke highly of the district’s strong academic and extracurricular programs, which have provided his children with enriching experiences.

“My children have had a very good experience here in the district. They have had numerous opportunities to succeed in their own unique ways,” Svendsen said. “We have a strong district, even in a challenging financial time, and we want to maintain that strength while being fiscally responsible.”