Why Do People Volunteer?

Dear Friends and Neighbors of the Tarrytowns,
My name is Michele R. Gonzalez and on May 20th I will be running for a seat on the Tarrytown Union Free School District School Board. I believe I’m in a unique position to complement the incumbent Board, and I’d like to tell you why.

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L to R: Justin, Michele, Samantha and David Gonzalez

I’m the mother of two children, ages 11 and 14, who benefit from living in this richly diverse and thriving district. A few years ago, when my husband Sam and I needed a larger home for our family of four, dog, cat and years’ worth of collected belongings, we knew that we wanted to continue to live in Sleepy Hollow. This community is where we have invested our time and built our community. I’ve spent nine years working in the trenches of the district — serving as EPTA vice president of various schools, chairing fundraisers, volunteering as class parent, attending board meetings and parent advocacy sessions.

In my professional life, I chose a career in real estate so that I could have a flexible schedule to accommodate my work and family. That work has given me firsthand knowledge of how prospective buyers view our villages. I spend a lot of time driving from home to home with people who are awed by our river views, parks, quaint downtowns and cultural diversity, and charmed by the sight of our schools, looking fresh and new, or historic and welcoming against the Hudson River backdrop. But when they get down to business, these same buyers start talking about taxes and begin pulling out magazine articles which rate our creative and energetic school district by its test scores. That’s a reality of which I’m well aware.

I know there is so much about our school district which we can brag about, so much which makes us unusual and special and a great place to educate our children. Our kids are learning Shakespeare in the fourth grade and Latin in the fifth; they’re among the top in the nation at Wordmasters. They are mountain biking through wooded trails in high school gym classes, meeting with poets and artists and writers, experimenting with music and reaching out to the community. District faculty are always on the lookout for new ways to better meet student educational needs, and give them perspective on the world. Our students are nestled in one of the most unique places in the nation, and we have the opportunity to educate them to be intelligent, hardworking, and caring citizens.

I believe it is always good to add fresh voices to a discussion, and that’s why I’m running for the School Board. New perspectives and an untapped network of relationships add lifeblood to any group, and important insight to every issue. I’m a part of the business community of the Tarrytowns, employed in a business that deals firsthand with the people who analyze our schools with the most intensity. I’m a skilled negotiator and facilitator. A frank person who does not shy away from difficult issues, I will represent you on the School Board with a voice that is balanced, fair and honest. For myself, our students, our community, our district faculty and the School Board, I believe in setting the bar high and making absolutely sure that our students are well prepared to meet the needs of the future.
Sincerely, Michele R. Gonzalez

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