Two seats on the Board of Education are up for election on May 19. All
candidates run at-large. The two candidates who receive the highest number of
votes will each be elected to a three-year term beginning July 1, 2015, and
expiring June 30, 2018.
Candidates, in the order they will appear on the ballot, are: David Koes, Danielle Scolaro, Howard Schlossberg, Barbara Burgess, Brian Backus, and Barbara Mauro. Profiles of each are below.
The PTO Council's annual Meet the Candidates night is Tuesday, May 5, at 7 p.m. in the Van Antwerp Middle School auditorium.
David Koes, of 17 Pinecrest Drive, is seeking a first term on the Board. A district resident for 19 years, he is a licensed associate real estate broker with the Walton Realty Group. Koes previously held a number of technical and customer service senior leadership roles in the private sector, including 23 years of experience in long-range planning, contract negotiations, root-cause analysis and goal setting in the telecommunications industry. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's in business administration. A former co-president of the PTO Council and Birchwood PTO, Koes' volunteer service within the district has included serving on the recent superintendent stakeholder interview committee, the Academic Advisory Council, the Facilities Utilization Advisory Committee, and the Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation Team. Koes was co-commissioner of the Niskayuna Girls Softball League Rec. Division and has volunteered with the town Department of Parks and Recreation and the Niskayuna Girls Travel Basketball program. He and his wife, Debbie, have a daughter, Kristina, an 8th-grade student at Iroquois.
Danielle Scolaro, of 2 Brookside Avenue in Alplaus, is seeking a first term on the Board. Scolaro is a hospital pharmacist at Samaritan Hospital in Troy and has been there for 8 years. Scolaro is a graduate of Albany College of Pharmacy where she earned her doctorate of pharmacy (PharmD). She served 8 years in the United States Army Reserves after which she was honorably discharged. Scolaro has also served as a past treasurer at the Niskayuna Co-op Nursery School where she was responsible for balancing the school's budget. She is a member of the Alplaus Residence Association. Scolaro has lived in Alplaus for 8 years with her husband, Bradford, who is a lifelong resident of Niskayuna. She and Brad have 2 children: Ella, a kindergartner at Glencliff, and Luca, a pre-schooler who will attend Glencliff next year as a kindergartner. Since Ella's birth, Scolaro has been a strong advocate of children with special needs as Ella has Down syndrome. She is a member of The Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center for the Capital District.
Howard Schlossberg, of 76 Pheasant Ridge, is seeking a first term on the Board. He went to Cornell University, sought a medical degree from Temple University and then completed a fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University for hematology and oncology. He served as the secretary on the executive board of his practice, New York Oncology Hematology, and continues as a director while chairing the Technology Committee and serving on the Research, Peer Review, and Pharmacy committees. He also serves on the Schenectady County Public Health Advisory Committee as well as Ellis Medicine committees including Transfusion, Institutional Review, and Oncology. He is familiar with budgets, group decision making, and consensus building. He is proud to have served on the Board of Community Hospice and the Executive Board at Congregation Gates of Heaven. He teaches high school students, medical students and residents. He has lived in the district for a decade and is married to Michelle Ostrelich. They have two daughters, Fiona and Rachel, who attend Rosendale Elementary.
Barbara Burgess, of 2170 Mountainview Avenue, is seeking a first term on the Board. She has lived in Niskayuna with her husband, John, for 24 years. They have three children: Samantha, a Niskayuna High School senior, and Alexandra and Timothy, who both attend Iroquois. Burgess is a physical therapist at Ellis Hospital and is also privately employed. She has served as rehabilitation services director in acute care, long-term care, and outpatient settings, gaining extensive experience in budgeting, program analysis and personnel management. She has a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from Russell Sage College and a master's degree in health services administration from Sage Graduate School. Burgess is active in Niskayuna Friends of Music. She has served on the most recent superintendent stakeholder interview committee, the middle school Shared Decision Making committee, and various ad hoc committees. At Rosendale, she has served as a homeroom parent coordinator and after-school enrichment instructor. She was on the district committee on Gifted Learning And Enrichment, and is currently a member of the Niskayuna High School and Iroquois PTOs.
Brian Backus, of 2250 Grand Blvd, is seeking a first term on the Board. Lt. Col. Backus is the commander of the 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and has served in the military since 1978. He has multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with the direct responsibility of providing care for wounded warriors. Prior to assuming his full-time duties with the Air National Guard, Backus was employed by Capital Region BOCES for 18 years and served in a variety of roles, including: managing coordinator for technology/security/data communications; program manager for Health/Safety/Risk Management; and Program Associates Organization union president. Backus holds a bachelor's degree in human resources management and development from New School University. He has served on financial working groups, shared decision-making committees, and contract negotiating teams. Backus has lived in Niskayuna for 5 years. He and his wife, Lynne Rutnik, have six children between them: Michael (33), Merideth, (30), Chelsea (28), and Todd (26), who each graduated from the SUNY system, and Owen and Aiylin Rutnik (10), 4th-grade students who attend Hillside.
Barbara Mauro, of 1233 Viewmont Drive, Niskayuna, is seeking a seventh term on the Board. A graduate of Duquesne University, she has a master's degree in criminal justice from the University at Albany, and a juris doctor from New York University School of Law. Mauro has been board president and vice-president, serves on the policy and audit committees, and is the liaison to Friends of Music. She initiated the district's Education Enrichment Fund within the Niskayuna Community Foundation (an affiliate of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region). She serves on the boards of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission and the Capital Region BOCES. She is a member of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) Resolutions Committee, and was Niskayuna's voting delegate at recent annual conventions, roles that help shape NYSSBA's policy positions on statewide education issues. A retired attorney, she is a former legislative researcher and committee counsel. District residents since 1993, she and her husband, Frank, have two daughters who are graduates of Niskayuna High School.