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Board of Education

The Garrison Union Free School District Board of Education consists of seven members elected by district residents at the annual election and budget vote held each May. Members elected to the Board typically serve for three-year terms. Under the New York State Education Law, the Board of Education is charged with the responsibility of establishing policies which govern the education of all children attending the district school; for preparing the annual budget; and for ensuring district adherence to state law and regulations. In addition, the Board bears the responsibility of selecting and appointing a Superintendent to act as the Chief Executive Officer of the Board to implement the district’s policies.

The Garrison Union Free School District Board of Education is elected by and responsive to the taxpayers of the Garrison community. The Board welcomes questions and comments from community members and encourages its residents to attend and participate at Board of Education meetings.

Meet our Board Members

Sarah Tormey

Sarah Tormey
President
stormey@gufs.org

Courtney McCarthy

Courtney McCarthy
Vice President
cmccarthy@gufs.org

David Gelber

David Gelber
Trustee
dgelber@gufs.org

Kent Schacht

Kent Schacht
Trustee
kschacht@gufs.org

Madalyn Julian

Madeline Julian
Trustee
mjulian@gufs.org

Jocelyn Apicello

Jocelyn Apicello
Trustee
japicello@gufs.org

Matthew Speiser

Matthew Speiser
Trustee
mspeiser@gufs.org

Additional Information

The Garrison Board of Education establishes and releases its board meeting schedule no later than the start of the fiscal school year on July 1st. Although the meeting schedule is subject to change as needed, the Board generally holds one or two meetings each month, usually on Wednesdays, beginning at 7:00 PM. In accordance with the Open Meetings Law of the State of New York, the public is notified of scheduled meetings and Board of Education Meetings are open to the public. The list of scheduled board meetings may be found in the Library on BoardDocs and is posted on the District website. Board meetings are typically held in the Garrison School library or gymnasium at 1100 Route 9D in Garrison.

View the Board of Education Meeting Schedule

Board meeting agendas are generally posted on BoardDocs the Friday prior to each scheduled meeting and are available to the public. Although it is not the Board's common practice, items listed on the meeting agendas can be subject to change up to and during board meetings. Members of the public are encouraged to attend meetings and participate in the public comment period. Specific information regarding the Board's policy for public comment is listed on the meeting agenda.

In accordance with Open Meetings Law, public documents to be discussed by the Board will be made available within the posted agendas on BoardDocs. Discussions of personnel matters, contract negotiations, and proposed, pending, or actual litigation must be discussed confidentially in Executive Session. If necessary, and subject to Board approval, the Board will enter into Executive Session following the regular public meeting or at specially scheduled meetings of the board.

For questions regarding board meetings and agendas, please contact Dusti Callo, District Clerk at dcallo@gufs.org.

The Board of Education utilizes a web-based program called BoardDocs for the management of board meetings, agendas, board committee meetings and other board related documents and communications with the public. Board meetings are video recorded and posted on BoardDocs as soon as they are available.

The Garrison Union Free School District Board of Education breaks into a variety of committees to work on specific issues throughout the year. Please see a list of the various board committees, their members, meeting dates and times, and board charges by clicking the button below.

Goal 1: Finance

  1. Focus on long-term financial stability through strategic planning, negotiation and cooperation with key internal and external partners.
  2. Continue to seek efficiencies in the budget process.

Goal 2: Engagement

  1. Plan and execute with excellence, empathy and equity as guiding principles.
  2. Serve on committees and task forces.

Goal 3: Community Relations

  1. Develop strong community-board relations.
  2. Encourage the community to contribute positively to the District through committee, task force work and volunteer opportunities.

Reviewed and adopted: 09/21/2022

STATEMENT OF UNDERSTANDING
It is incumbent upon all members of the Board of Education to ensure that the Board function according to the guidelines suggested below or as otherwise deemed appropriate. The success of the Board in its fulfillment of its duties cannot be achieved without the active cooperative participation of all members.

I. MEETINGS

  1. Board of Education Meetings will start on schedule and will strive to end no later than 10 PM.
  2. Members will notify the Board Officers about planned absences, and copy the Superintendent and Board
  3. Clerk.
  4. Meeting agendas shall be approved by the BOE at the start of each meeting. Late additions to the agenda are discouraged but as needed, the BOE may approve such additions.
  5. The Board of Education will work to bring closure to any topic under discussion, assuring that all members have had an equal opportunity to speak.
  6. Members will model active listening skills. Such skills include listening for understanding, asking clarifying questions, and waiting until the speaker is finished before speaking, waiting to be recognized by the moderator (usually the BOE President) unless the discussion is freeform, and seeking to solve problems.
  7. Members shall agree to maintain confidences shared among members in executive and retreat settings.
  8. Employee/public input will be sought as it relates to a topic under discussion if such input is deemed appropriate for informational purposes.
  9. Sub-committees may be established in order to do BOE business more efficiently. The sub-committee will have a chairperson who is responsible for seeing that the committee meets.
  10. The sub-committee will keep minutes of its meetings and forward them to the District Clerk to be posted in the board portal. Sub-committee chairs will provide an oral report at a public meeting of the board.
  11. Any topic that may result in a resolution should not be acted upon until the following meeting unless this “two-meeting rule” is waived.

II. PARTICIPATION
  1. Superintendent will provide initial orientation for new Board members prior to the reorganizational meeting. The Vice President of the Board will mentor the new Member(s).
  2. Board packets will be read by board members in preparation for each meeting.
  3. Problems and concerns about packet contents, including FYI’s, should be brought to the attention of the Board Officers and the Superintendent prior to the meeting.
  4. Requests for information that must be researched or compiled should be made through the Board Officers and copied to the Superintendent.
  5. The Code of Conduct of the New York State School Boards Association shall guide our members in their actions and behavior.
  6. Communication from officers to trustees, on issues that will come before the board as a whole, will strive to provide all members with the same information at the same time.
  7. When a trustee has a concern or issue about staff, community, or personal interest they will communicate that concern via the BOE officers (family/parent issues are explicitly excluded, provided that the chain of command has been followed) and copy the Superintendent.

III. PRODUCTIVITY
The Board will:
  1. Learn governance and practice governance.
  2. Establish a detailed Board calendar in the Spring, for the coming year.
  3. Strive to build respectful relationships with one another and with the Superintendent.
  4. Avoid micromanagement.
  5. Be mindful when talking with district employees, whether formally or informally, that you may be viewed as a person of authority. In all instances interaction should be amicable and non-coercive. In no instance may a Member require or appear to require any specific action or position from any district employee.
  6. Establish and evaluate Board goals on an on-going basis.
  7. Conduct annual operational self-evaluation followed by an improvement plan if needed.
  8. Strive to participate in a pro-active manner.

IV. COMMUNITY RELATIONS
  1. The BOE will be conscious of the image created by their behavior at the Board table.
  2. In their communication with the press or public, Members are to:
    • Express only personal opinions and not speak for the Board
    • Be supportive of BOE decisions
  3. The BOE will listen actively to the residents of the Garrison Union Free School District on matters concerning the district and its governance. Members will take care not to create the impression of promised action or outcome but rather make it clear that decisions can only be made by the Board as a whole with the involvement of the Superintendent. When appropriate, constituents will be directed to the appropriate school official if known if such direction would help in the resolution of the matter presented. Members should encourage the use of proper chain of authority.
  4. When a situation occurs where four or more members of the BOE are together outside of a duly convened board meeting, members shall practice due diligence to assure no BOE business is conducted or discussed.
  5. Community input is one important facet of communication and information for the Board. When information is presented to or made known to a Board member, including information posted on a social networking site, the information should not be considered as factual. Board members should not offer opinions and should recommend the community member follow the chain of command if appropriate. The Board member should, at his/her discretion, bring the information to the attention of the Board President and Superintendent so that it may be investigated. If appropriate, the issue may be deliberated by the Board at a duly convened public meeting.

Reviewed and adopted on: 09/21/2022

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