Colin Palmer speaking at the May 11 board of education meeting. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Why are you seeking election to the board of education?

As a lifelong resident and fourth generation RHS graduate, this district means the world to me. I also come from a family of educators and understand how essential the success of RCSD is for every person living in our community. We should be committed to continuously improving education for our students for the good of all who call Riverhead their home.

If elected, what will be your top three goals as a board member?

a) The reinstatement of Latin for grades 7-12.
b) Incorporate community wide programming into Arts and Music education
c) Work with teachers to expand critical thinking development.

What’s the best thing about Riverhead schools?

The people: I was taught by some of the most dedicated teachers in the world when I was a student, and they were supported by the parents in a way that helped my classmates and I really thrive.

What needs the most improvement in Riverhead schools?

There’s a trending belief in modern education that K-12 public schools serve primarily to prepare children to enter the workforce and contribute to society as part of our economy. While this is important, an even more important part is getting children ready to be critical thinking members of society, who can make informed decisions about life in their community. Our district needs to be doing more to expand critical thinking, which is closely tied to increasing whole child education.

Do you favor the district asking voters to approve a revised capital construction plan to increase classroom capacity? If not, how should the district deal with overcrowded classrooms?

I do, but the next board will have to make sure that any proposed bond is as lean as possible to ensure it would pass. In addition, any future bond would have to reflect community involvement in both its creation and uses (Our schools were once the main community cultural centers, so perhaps a new bond could bring that back).

Do you favor expanding foreign language offerings in Riverhead by adding one or more new languages to students?

Absolutely. When my parents went to RHS, there were four languages offered (Spanish, French, Latin, and German). Years later when I attended, there were three, plus one elective of Ancient Greek. Only offering two languages is a shame, especially since enrollment has doubled in the past forty years and offerings have been cut in half.

What skills or abilities would you bring to the school board and how would you put these to work to improve how the board functions?

I’ve always been a problem solver and someone who works to help different sides come to a consensus. This is important not just between board members, but between the board and administration, teachers, parents, residents, and students. Also, it’s only been twelve years since I was last a student in Riverhead and most teachers, administrators, and staff were there when I was as well. I’m in a unique position to hit the ground running when it comes to working with those already managing the district.

Do you favor continuing live-streaming school board meetings? Do you favor continuing remote comments/questions from residents?

The live-streams should become a permanent fixture of board meetings. I, for one, have been able to attend more meetings now that they are viewable on Youtube. Residents should have the opportunity to continue attending these meetings from home, both live and recorded. The same goes for virtual comments and questions.

Have you accepted contributions, either financial or in-kind (such as accepting the donation of literature, signs, phone bank staffing, social media services, advertising, etc.) from any source? If so please identify source, type and amount.

I’ve accepted one $50 donation from Cindy Clifford, with which I’ve run facebook ads and purchased campaign buttons. I’ve received the endorsement of the RCFA, but my campaign is accepting neither financial nor in-kind donations from the union.

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