School board candidate Monique Parsons speaking at the May 11 board of education meeting. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Why are you seeking election to the board of education?

I would like to give back to my community on a larger scale and be a part of the decision making process on how to best prepare our students for college or career readiness. In addition, I would be honored to be a voice for the taxpayers by promoting transparency and building trust by designing a budget with the BOE and District that supports the students while maintaining the taxpayers trust.

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

  • Transforming the school culture by promoting transparency within BOE meetings, at the staff and administration level, and in the classroom.
  • Creation and implementation of a district-wide 5-year strategic plan and vision that encompasses academics, budgeting, student performance, and more via stakeholder input (teachers, students, parents/guardians, and taxpayers).
  • Fostering a culture of high-performance of our students by developing a plan to promote student achievement and successes through motivational and positive reward systems on a district-wide and school-by-school basis.

What’s the best thing about Riverhead schools?

The academic and extracurricular offerings; as well as the teachers, administrators, and support staff that dedicate their time, talent, and passion to student successes.

What needs the most improvement in Riverhead schools?

I believe the district needs a five-year strategic plan and cohesive vision. The children deserve to have a BOE and superintendent that work together seamlessly and point in the same direction.

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 am not aware of a new revised capital construction plan or familiar enough with the previous one to make an informed decision on support of such plans, but I am researching and recruiting people that have the knowledge base to give me that information. I currently sit on the infrastructure working group, which is a sub-group of the Riverhead Town’s Business Advisory Committee. That group has been focused on how to mitigate the overcrowding in the district and has been working diligently to create different options. The group has invited the district and BOE to participate.

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

Yes. I favor expanding the foreign language offerings. I believe that foreign language is important to begin at an early age as research has shown that children learning additional languages have a significant positive impact on problem-solving, critical thinking, listening skills, as well as enhanced creativity, mental flexibility, and the ability to multitask and more. True balance of instituting additional language programming is to assure that the benefit outweighs the cost. We have to assure the budget is fiscally responsible by supporting a significant amount of children enrolled in the proposed additional secondary language courses.

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 am the director of marketing and development for East End Arts in Downtown Riverhead, Owner/Operator of Stay Salted, Inc., co-owner of NoFo Event Co. Inc., member of the board of directors for Riverhead Chamber, member of the Town of Riverhead Business Advisory Committee, and member of the committee’s infrastructure working group. I also have an AA Liberal Arts from Suffolk County Community College, Riverhead; BA in Child Study and BS in Speech Pathology from St. Joesph’s College, Patchogue; MSed. with literacy emphasis from LIU-Post, Brookville. I know that I have the experience, education, and support to become the leader that this district needs to help our children succeed. I can help create a vision for the district that leads to increased graduation rates, college and career ready students, sustainability of exceptional programming and academics, and fiscal accountability.

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

Yes. I plan on following the Open Meetings Law which is set forth by NYS Public Officers Law. Live-streaming should continue and should be transcribed. Also, remote questions and comments should be permitted to be submitted and answered for those that cannot attend the meeting in person. This should be done to create trust within our community by the promotion of transparency. I believe that any and all questions/comments should be answered and that any one with a sincere concern should be permitted to finish addressing their concern and question live, in public forum to our board.

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 have not accepted in-kind or financial contributions from any other source, except myself.

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