Lockport School Board Election – Candidates Give Policy Positions and Background

CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently employed at Eastern Niagara Hospital in the Housekeeping Department.
  • Christopher has been employed as both a Behavioral Health Assistant and Nurses Aid.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Local Freemason.
  • Volunteer at area Celtic Festivals.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (TRANSPARENCY / NOTICES / MUSIC DEPARTMENT / BUDGETARY)

  • “I want to see a board more based around transparency on policies.” 
  • “Instead of giving a 2-day notice of a meeting policy introduction, I want to see at least two weeks.”
  • “We have one of the top music departments in the country, yet our children are playing on 40-year-old instruments.”
  • “When it comes to the budget, I want to see what can be tweaked to better serve the students, teachers, and taxpayers.  Right now, it feels like we might be fluffing the numbers and then threatening the district about negatives if the budget does not pass.”

MARTHA KERSHAW

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently holds a Doctorate in Education working as an Assistant Professor with Daemen College.
  • Formerly a Clinical Assistant Professor at D’Youville.
  • Formerly a Registered Nurse at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Born and raised in Lockport.
  • Current member of the Lockport School Board.
  • Active in Lockport School Events.
  • Active in area Cystic Fibrosis charities.
  • Endorsed by the Lockport Education Association.
  • Has children in the school system.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (COVID-19 RESPONSE / RESTORATIVE ACTION)

  • “The real focus right now is finishing the school year with the students intact, and meeting students educational, emotional, and physical needs.”
  • “One of the things that is important to me that the school is doing is restorative practices in place or adjunct to discipline.”

RENEE CHEATHAM

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Current Vice President at Lockport New Beginnings Inc, a non-for-profit organization founded by Renee’s mother, Carsee Herring, which has been in existence for 26 years.
  • Current Union Steward at Cornerstone Community FCU for over 25 years.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Born and raised in Lockport, N.Y.
  • Volunteer at ‘Lift up Lockport’.
  • Board Trustee at Latter Rain Cathedral.
  • A member of the PTA.
  • Endorsed by the Lockport Education Association.
  • Has children and grandchildren in the school system.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (BOARD-TEACHER RELATIONS / COMMUNITY PRESCENCE / DIVERSITY / TECH FUNDING)

  • “You need to be able to have a relationship with the teachers as well as being a board member who is working with parents.”
  • “Building strong healthy relationships is what enables you to deal with parents and teachers.”
  • “Having a record of helping the community is very important to me.  Your relationship with the community is vital in handling tough situations.”
  • “We need some type of diversity training for the school system.”
  • “Any grant funding that we receive should be used in helping bring more technology into the school system.”

MICHAEL FERRARO    

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Field Service Technician for the Gaming and Lottery Industry.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Resident since 2001.
  • Local Freemason.
  • Local advocate and volunteer for Shriners Hospital.  Shriners has 22 locations across North America specializing in helping children with burn care, spinal injury care, cleft lip, and palate surgery, among other types of orthopedic conditions.
  • Has children in the school system.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (SPECIAL EDUCATION / ALTERNATIVE LEARNING METHODS)

  • “Growing up, I was not a person who could learn by reading notes and textbooks, so every evening I had to read my notes and textbook lessons into a tape recorder and listen to it a few times. After doing that, I was able to retain 90-95% of what I was studying. With that being said, my policy position would be not only working on special education, but also alternative education such as vocational training because not all kids learn the same way.”
  • “Some like me, learn by hands-on training and not by textbook and traditional classroom work.”

TERIA ROYSTER-YOUNG

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently working as a Paralegal.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Member of Temple Church of Lockport.
  • Volunteers at Lockport Little Loop.
  • Current PTA member.
  • Frequent volunteering at the City’s Parks.
  • Frequent volunteering to help with school programs.
  • Has children in the school system.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (PEER MEDIATION / ANTI-BULLYING)

  • “I am interested in teaching peer mediation to assist with anti-bullying, while adding emotional and mental support for kids.”

HEATHER HARE

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently in Public Relations and Marketing for Buffalo-Toronto Public Media.
  • Former reporter for multiple publications ranging from South Carolina to Rochester, N.Y.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Born and raised in Lockport, N.Y.
  • Volunteers with area Cystic Fibrosis Organizations.
  • Volunteers at the Lockport School Districts Theatre Department.
  • Endorsed by the Lockport Education Association.
  • Has children in the school system.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (SECURITY SYSTEM / PRIVACY / COVID-19)

  • “I want to make sure we keep an eye on our security system.  The privacy policies, especially.  The ones concerning our security system.”
  • “We need to keep revisiting these policies, and make sure that the district is following policies appropriately.  There is nobody that has the intent to overreach, but just to make sure we are doing right by everyone’s privacy.”
  • “No one mentions the new P.A. system and the advances in networking we’ve implemented.”
  • “During the outbreak of the virus, the board was at the helm, but really it was the district, all the educators we employ that made for an effective response.  It was just incredible.”

STEVE ALLORE

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Member of SMART Local 71.
  • General construction background.
  • Specializes in heating ventilation and cooling systems.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Born and raised in Lockport.
  • Cub Master of Pack 6 in Lockport.
  • Active with Boy Scout Troop 6 of Lockport.
  • Local Freemason.
  • Member of the Red Jacket Lodge 646.
  • Member of Ames Chapter 88.
  • Has children in the school system.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (TRANSPARENCY / FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY / TECHNOLOGY)

  • “I believe that the school board has moved more spending away from the classroom and other educational activities, and I wish to bring the focus back on the kids and their overall education.”
  • “Fancy bells and whistles can be dazzling, but if it means taking away from the classroom, I will give it a very hard look.”
  • “I believe in open and honest government; not back room deals that allows no room for public debate.”
  • “I believe that, as a steward of taxpayer money, we should aim to reduce costs where possible.”

PAULA HALLADAY-TRAVIS

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently retired.
  • Formerly worked as a Human Resources Manager and Accountant in the Hotel Industry. 
  • Most recently, for the Quality Hotel & Suites in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Volunteer at Lockport New Beginnings.
  • Operates High School Youth Group at Zion Lutheran.  (Member of that church for over 30 years).
  • Current Vice President of the PTA.
  • Volunteer at Emmet Belknap Intermediate School.
  • Runs the non-profit organization WHO (Women Helping Others).

POLICY STATEMENTS: (PARENT-TEACHER INTERACTION / TECHNOLOGY / PEER ADVOCACY)

  • “We need more tech, tutoring, and peer advocates or counselors.”
  • “We need to bridge the communication gap between parent and teacher.”
  • “We need more parental involvement.  They know their children the best and can be able to provide much needed insight when the child is struggling.”

ED SANDELL

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently Retired.
  • Mechanical Engineer.
  • 41 years at General Motors and Delphi.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Kids went to and graduated from Lockport School District.
  • Has spent a total of 10 years (not consecutive) as a board member.
  • Endorsed by the Lockport Education Association.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (EFFICIENCY / POLICY DEVELOPMENT / BOARD PRIORITIES)

  • “I really like looking at processes – making sure they are efficient and effective.”
  • “When I arrived in 2008, we had a broken policy process.”
  • “We always need to make sure the policy works for the district.  That they are up to date, and really mean something.”
  • “Are policies going to reflect who we are, or will it just turn into a book that sits in a corner collecting dust.”
  • “The job is working on policies, facilities, contracts, budgets, and auditing.”
  • “You don’t spend time talking about kids.  You spend time talking about stuff that helps the system help the kids.”

GENEVA JOHNSON (UNAVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW)

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Currently retired.
  • A former employee at Off Track Betting.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Resident of Lockport.
  • Grandchildren in school district.

POLICY STATEMENTS:

  • Unavailable/No Comment

JON WILEY (UNAVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW)

OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY:

  • Current Supervisor of a Medicare Pending Team for an information and technology firm.
  • Will soon accept position at Niagara Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Facility.

COMMUNITY TIES:

  • Volunteer work with family courts.

POLICY STATEMENTS: (TAKEN FROM LIVESTREAM – DISCIPLINE/STUDENT-BOARD RELATIONS)

  • “I think we can use less intrusive methods for discipline.  We need more afterschool counseling and interventions.”
  • “I don’t think you have to go through something in order to relate or understand it, but it sure does make it easier having done so.”

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