The Northern Westchester Examiner

Newcomer Seeks to Win Seat in Peekskill Board of Ed Race

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A local taxi driver and father of two Peekskill High School students is running against two incumbents for two available seats on the Peekskill Board of Education on May 19.

Ramon Fernandez, president of the Peekskill Youth Soccer Club, is squaring off against Lisa Aspinall-Kellawon and Colin Smith, who are both seeking their second three-year terms.

“I intend to create a sense of pride in all of the Peekskill School District’s students by moving beyond the status quo, reinforcing what is beneficial to the students while identifying their needs and coming up with creative solutions to meet them,” said Fernandez, who has lived in Peekskill since 2006. “I intend to knock on doors, as many as needed, to bring these solutions to the table.”

Aspinall-Kellawon brings to the board more than 24 years of teaching experience, most of which she gathered during her time teaching at the Central Harlem School District in New York City. There, she began her career at an early childhood education school servicing students from Pre-K to Grade 2 as a Title I math teacher, second grade common branch teacher, math coach and teacher trainer.

She stated her goal is to be an advocate for children by helping them receive a sound education. She believes education opens the doors to most opportunities and provides a foundation from which one can grow and self-actualize, while being a primary building block in a prosperous and financially responsible life.

Smith, a lifelong Peekskill resident who graduated from Peekskill High School in 1991, is an attorney with offices in Peekskill.

“During my time on the board I have been privileged to be part of many exciting changes within our district. Notably among them has been the implementation of the district’s reorganization plan and curricular realignment. Central to this process was the hiring of a new superintendent, someone who we all know and love, our very own Dr. David Fine,” Smith stated. “I believe that these changes, along with many others, have put Peekskill City Schools on track to becoming the best in educational opportunities for our students.”

If reelected, Smith vowed to enhance opportunities for students, saying, “Call me old-fashioned, but I am still a firm believer that a solid education is foundational to a successful and fulfilling life.”

In addition to the Board of Education race and the controversial K-5 transportation proposition, residents will also vote on the $81.89 million budget for the 2015-16 school year that carries a tax increase of 2.62%, which is just below the state mandated tax cap of 2.67%.


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