Cynthia Redmond, 50, of Aquebogue, is seeking her first term on the board. She has been a district resident for 19 years and is the mother of two children: one who is a junior and one who is a sophomore at Riverhead High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Stony Brook University and currently works as a community prevention specialist at the Riverhead Community Awareness Program.

Why are you seeking election for the Board of Education?

I’ve always enjoyed working behind the scenes to improve the experience of students in our district through volunteering and in my professional capacity in prevention. That said, I believe that I could have a greater impact on the education, wellness, and success of our students by putting myself in a position to affect greater change. We have a collective obligation to ensure the power and promise of public education. I am running for the Board of Education to work with others and find a successful path forward for every student in our district.

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

The Board of Education must work with the Superintendent to ensure continuity and quality of educational programs and services in a fiscally responsible manner.

Like many districts, the pandemic placed unprecedented strain on educators. Now more than ever, Riverhead must create an atmosphere that retains and attracts diverse and innovative educators to our district in addition to providing the support they need to be successful in the classroom. I would be very interested in directly hearing from teachers how we can make improvements in our schools and prevent burnout.

Like all schools around our country, school safety is a prominent concern and one that isn’t solved easily. I’m pleased that the district has upgraded security measures and has a working relationship with Riverhead Police Department. However, school safety is multi-layered. Students must be empowered to participate in strategies that affect their school community. If you want to know where the problems are, ask a student! Parents must be responsible partners in the prevention of school violence and school officials must be responsive to the concerns of students and parents.

What needs the most improvement in Riverhead schools? How would you work as a board member to improve it?

I think public perception of Riverhead Central School District is not truly representative of the students, faculty, and community. Our greatest achievements are often unrecognized while our challenges are exaggerated. I have always believed that the school is the hub of the community and if elected to the Board of Education, I would seek ways to improve community relations.

Do you think there is a district policy that should change? If so, what is it, why should it be changed, and how would you work on the board to change it?

A few years ago, I sat on a committee to update the Code of Conduct and I enjoyed the work that we did. Times change and periodically, policies need to be reviewed to ensure that they are reflective of the changing needs of students and the expectations we have of them. If there is a policy that needs to be reexamined, I look forward to hearing from staff, students, and parents to get input. I think you have more buy-in when people are part of the process.

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

Despite the well-known crowding issues and facility needs, the Riverhead community doesn’t seem to have the appetite for another bond project at this time. The high school does what it has always done, they make the best of it. We have classrooms in portables which is a safety concern, staggered bell schedules, crowded main building classrooms, open campus for lunch because there isn’t enough room in the cafeteria, using the other schools for indoor sports practices, etc. Everyone knows that overcrowding is a risk factor when it comes to student safety and conflicts. However, without the support and involvement of the community to alleviate the issue, it is not realistic right now. My hope is that as the community sees all of the improvements that are being made in the district, they will embrace expansion. Healthy, thriving schools benefit everyone.

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?

For over twenty-five years, I have worked in the non-profit sector with a focus on improving the lives of children and families. When you work in non-profits, you are accustomed to dealing with tight budgets, finding creative solutions, and creating community partnerships. I’m proud of the work I have done in a professional and volunteer capacity and more than that, I am proud of the relationships I have formed over the years as they have made me better every step of the way. I believe I bring an optimistic attitude, effective communication skills, and a steady temperament that would be beneficial to the Board of Education.

Lastly, I strongly believe in the potential of the students in Riverhead Central School District. I have had the privilege of working with so many students here and I am, as ever, in awe of their intelligence, talents, and resilience. We’ve come through a challenging time and more than ever, schools need leadership that is knowledgeable, communicative, and inclusive. I will never claim to know everything, but I will always do my homework, listen to people, and effectively work as a team member to improve the education and wellness of every student in Riverhead.

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 the support of the Riverhead Central Faculty Association, which has donated mailers, digital media resources and phone calls in support of my candidacy.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: