Following a roughly three-week search, the Carmel Board of Education has chosen a new trustee to fill the vacant seat created by former trustee John Cody.
Officials during their Dec. 22 meeting unanimously voted to appoint Stormville resident Jason Paraskeva to sit on the seven-member board. His term went into effect on Dec. 23 and will expire on May 18, 2021.
After Cody resigned on Nov. 30 citing a move out of the district, school officials began searching for a new trustee to fulfill the remainder of his term. Guidelines for service require officials to select an applicable Carmel resident to finish out the existing term.
During the boards Dec. 15 meeting, Paraskeva, an East Fishkill Planning Board member, was one of about eight individuals who interviewed for the position. Paraskeva said he frequently attends board meetings, volunteers in different school committees and functions, and consistently remains involved.
He boasted himself as someone who is always informed on community issues, not just when there is turmoil or controversy happening within the district. When speaking to the board on certain issues he may have, he said he presents his arguments with facts and reasoned constructive input.
“I frequently attend the board of ed meetings and when I can’t I watch them online,” said Paraskeva, an electrical engineer and co-founder of KPG Automation in Connecticut.
“There have been many meetings that I have attended where I am the only one in the audience and I always stay there until the end because I want to be informed of what’s going on in our district,” he said. “I’m not one to complain about an issue and then leave after I’ve said my piece.”
As a Carmel Central School District alum with two kids in the school system, Paraskeva presented himself as an active member of the community and district who understand the intricacies of sitting on a board. Paraskeva has been planning board member for about 20 years.
“We primarily deal with upset homeowners at public hearings and get yelled at, and we understand as board members that the community has a right to be upset and allow them to speak freely,” he said. “As a board member we always try to find compromise with developers because we do listen to the community and want to do what’s best for all parties involved.”
He added that while officials are forced to make tough and unpopular decisions, that they are made with a balance of knowing what needs to be done, following the law, and respecting how the community feels.
Paraskeva explained that he will work collaboratively with school trustees to serve and do what’s best for the community, district employees, and student body.
“I understand being a board member is not an easy job and our community sometimes forgets that you are all volunteers,” Paraskeva said. “I know I’m prepared to make the hard decisions and I know some of my decisions may not be what the community wants to hear but I’m not here to win a popularity contest.”