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

Why are you seeking election to the board of education?

First and foremost to be a voice for ALL students residing in our district and to be an advocate for the needs and concerns of the community as whole. I want to be a part of restoring the communities faith in the district so our children are provided the best opportunities available.

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

  • Work cohesively with the Town of Riverhead to repair and build a long lasting mutual relationship. And address the districts overcrowding issue by creating a long-term plan to ensure that all students are receiving the best possible education
  • Continue to work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion for all students district-wide; fostering acceptance among students, faculty, and administration.
  • Provide teachers with the tools they need to be able to increase student engagement so that all students are able to obtain higher levels of academic success.

What’s the best thing about Riverhead schools?

The community and heart of the students is the best thing about our district, Blue Waves Pride.

What needs the most improvement in Riverhead schools?

District-wide support for teachers so that they have tools necessary to create a successful academic and social-emotional learning environment inside the classroom.

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?

In reference to the capital construction bond that was presented in 2020, there is additional work that needs to be done here for public support. I have not seen a revised plan so I would not be able to comment on that at this time. The district and town need to collaboratively work together on addressing all public concerns on this matter. We do not want to see split-sessions for our students so we do need additional classrooms and need to be able to present a bond that is better received by the taxpayers of the district.

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

I do support the district expanding the foreign language offerings if there is enough student interest that justifies the additional classes. Instead of just offering these classes at the high school and middle school level, we should consider expanding the program that is at Phillips to our other schools giving all students the same opportunity. There are studies that show to become completely fluent in a language, learning should start before the age of 10.

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?

As a risk consultant/insurance agent on a daily basis I create strong and genuine relationships with clients and insurance companies through effective communication; I listen to learn, not listen to respond. In addition I also sit on the boards of directors of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and the North Fork Breast Health Coalition; as well as, own two private businesses. I also have an AA in Liberal Arts from Suffolk County Community College and a BA in Child Study from LIU. I am confident that my education and experience gives me the ability to be a true liaison for our district; allowing the students, families, and stakeholders in the district to have a voice. Together, we can increase graduation rates and prepare students for their endeavors in college or careers.

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

Yes, in the spirit of full transparency, I feel we should live-stream the board meetings as this makes them available to all members of the community that may not have the ability to attend in-person. Remote comments and questions should also continue to be received as they would have this same opportunity to speak if in-person. The BOE and district should welcome and encourage community involvement!

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 any contributions, services, etc. from any source, fully self-funded.

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