Highland has four candidates for two school board seats – Daily Freeman

HIGHLAND, NY — Two incumbents are challenged by a pair of newcomers in the May 17 ballot for seats for three-year terms.

The positions to be filled are Jeanine LaManna-Gemmell, of 738 Route 44/55, Highland; incumbent Thomas Miller, of 314 South Street; Simone Stewart, 115 Vineyard Ave, Highland; and Susan Gilmore, 7 Maple Avenue, Highland.

Jeanine LaManna-Gemmell (Supplied)

Gemmell, 43, is a higher education administrator for the Culinary Institute of America. She is a lifelong resident of the district and with her husband, Kurt has two children.

“I think we need to build on what we already have in terms of student achievement and make sure that we build student schooling as well as their additional athletics and activities, music and art,” he said. she declared. “We could do more to think outside the box.”

Thomas Miller
Thomas Miller (Supplied)

Miller, 65, superintendent of works for Hudson Valley EC&M, is seeking a fifth term. He has lived in the neighborhood for 44 years and has two children.

“In October we have another capital project that we are putting in place and we have basically finished (the planning) and we will put it to a public vote,” he said.

“It’s about maintenance issues and building upgrades,” Miller said. “We’ll have a proposal with that… to redo our sports complex behind our high school.”

Simone Stewart
Simone Stewart (Supplied)

Stewart, 48, is an independent therapist and social worker at Poughkeepsie Middle School. She has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years and with her husband Maurice has two children.

“I’ve seen a decrease in student motivation…when it comes to doing homework,” she said.

“I think we need to revisit what we teach them and how we teach them the program,” Stewart said. “Right now, some things are online. So we have to go back to the books and if we’re going to do kind of a hybrid and also use the computers, I think that’s fine because in certain situations we have to use it. But I think we need to get back to basics, which is to have a high quality program and have students in their books and doing their homework.

Susan Gilmore, Vice President of the Highland Board of Education (Photo provided)
Susan Gilmore (Supplied, file)

Gilmore, 67, is a retired accounting manager for McCabe and Mack. She was appointed to the board in 2008 and is seeking a fourth elected term. She has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years.

“I want all the kids to feel welcome and part of the group and no one is a stranger,” she said. “We worked on that. We took it to heart. I was extremely upset to see so many children come to our July 2020 board meeting and we have since hired a consultant and worked to make our school a better place to live.