Opinion: Potsdam Central School Board of Education needs a shake-up, says candidate
Friday, May 12, 2017 - 8:36 am

To the Editor:

My name is Jared T Carey and I am asking for the support of Potsdam Central School district residents on Tuesday, May 16, in my bid for a seat on the school Board of Education.

Since my return to Potsdam in 2009 I have held management positions with the Community Performance Series, The Orchestra of Northern New York, and Countrywide Rent-A-Car. This year I have enjoyed serving on the PCS Building Use Committee. Perhaps most significant is my experience as a Teacher’s Assistant for St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES in the Potsdam School District. During this time I was able to see first-hand the challenges our teachers and administrators face every day.

In September of 2015 I embarked on the most rewarding journey of my life. I have had the joy of being host-father to 4 foreign exchange students (2 last year and 2 currently). The teachers and staff of the high school have been exceptional in working with me and my boys to insure they have the successful, rewarding experiences they desire. We have a wonderfully dedicated staff and we MUST provide them with the tools to be successful with each child the district serves.

Recent events have shed light on a history of issues regarding inconsistent enforcement of the basic Code of Conduct and disciplinary policies. This has culminated in an environment in which some students do not feel safe and many teachers are frustrated. If ANY child feels the school is not a safe place for them something must be done. In this modern environment of safety concerns in public schools, it is crucial to have a Board of Education willing to actively oversee, encourage, and hold our school staff accountable for creating an environment where our kids can focus on their education.

The collegiate influence in Potsdam is undeniable and certainly has and will continue to have a positive influence on the community. However, this influence can sometimes bring division. The North Country comprises a wide variety of people from differing social and economic backgrounds. Historically, Potsdam’s Board of Education has been dominated by members representative of the collegiate community. A successful Board of Education will comprise members representing ALL students in the district.

Potsdam has always had a reputation as one of the best schools in the North Country and still maintains that reputation as demonstrated by many regional rankings over the past few years. As a 1994 graduate, I can personally attest to Potsdam’s excellence. The education I received prepared me for success obtaining a Bachelor’s degree followed by a professional career in theatre management. My career as a professional union stage manager taught me the importance of listening (to understand, not to respond), considering all sides in a disagreement, choosing words carefully, treating others with dignity and respect, enforcing discipline fairly and equitably, and providing clear communication and expectations. This experience (including living and working across the U.S., Japan, and Europe managing a diverse spectrum of people) along with being an alum, staff member, and parent give me a unique perspective to represent and advocate for ALL students of the Potsdam school district.

On Tuesday, May 16th between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., voters from the Potsdam School District will be voting for three open seats on the Board of Education.

• Eligible voters must be 18 years of age and have resided in the school district for a minimum of 30 days.

• Each eligible voter can cast three votes; one for each open seat.

• You may vote for any combination of candidates up to three. This includes three write-in candidates if you do not wish to vote for the two candidates pre-printed on the ballot. Your vote may include one of the pre-printed candidates and two write-in candidates. Remember, you can make three votes on the ballot!

Please vote! Please be active! Please get involved! Potsdam Central School is the heart of our community and it deserves our full commitment.

Jared Carey