Letter: Carolee Brakewood a valued asset on the Port Chester school board

April 25, 2019 at 6:57 a.m.

Port Chester cannot lose an asset like Carolee Brakewood from the Board of Education. Carolee is a tireless worker for our schools and children. Her efforts have benefitted hundreds of children with enrichment and opportunity. She is the most visible and vocal proponent of our district. Many people speak of the importance of transparency from the BOE. Carolee brings this to her position. She regularly posts important information on our district related social media sites, sharing district news and updates. She answers questions, clarifies policy and provides relevant links and resources to the public. If a resident has a question or concern she cannot readily answer, she makes it her priority to research the issue and respond in a timely fashion.

Having a seat on the BOE poses many challenges. One of those challenges is trying to explain how tough decisions are made. While not every resident will agree on how a district matter should be resolved, Mrs. Brakewood takes great care to clarify education laws and policies that factor into difficult decision-making. Carolee makes herself available to all and is always willing to share information to keep people informed.

Preparation and planning are critical attributes for any effective BOE member. Carolee spends tremendous amounts of time poring over school board information. She is always prepared to discuss situations and make well-informed decisions. These qualities are on full display at any BOE meeting.

Our residents need trustees on the Board of Education who will fight for our district. Well, check the box on that one many times over! Carolee was most recently on TV news, fighting for Foundation Aid for our schools. She also rallied people to join her on a trip to Albany to vocalize our needs in person right at the doors of state representatives. Over the years, Carolee has fought for aides in our kindergarten classrooms, advanced classes for our high schoolers and adequate space and facilities in which all of our students can learn and grow. There can be no doubt that Carolee is deeply invested in the success of the children of Port Chester.

I will be honest in saying I wish there were two seats open so Chissie Onofrio could join the BOE and work alongside Carolee. Unfortunately, there is only one seat to be had and given what she has proven throughout her tenure, Port Chester simply cannot afford to lose Carolee Brakewood as a valuable member of our Board of Education.

Peter Pascale

Port Chester

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