Recognizing Carmel Central School District Board Members

The New York State School Boards Association recognizes October 18-22 as School Board Recognition Week, a time to promote awareness and understanding of the important work performed by school board members.

In honor of the week, Carmel Central School District is joining all public-school districts across the state by recognizing our local board members for their commitment to the Carmel community and our students. Our Board members volunteer their time and work tirelessly alongside our administration and staff to ensure that our students receive an excellent education and are prepared for successful futures.

2021 Board of Education members

“It takes strong schools to build a strong community, and these men and women all devote countless hours to making sure our schools are helping every child discover and pursue their passion and ignite a desire to learn,” said Superintendent Mary-Margaret Zehr while recognizing the board members at the October 12 meeting.

The members serving the Carmel Central School District and their years of service are:

  • Eric Mittelstadt, President, ninth year of service
  • Matt Vanacoro, Vice President, third year of service
  • Debra Heitman-Cayea, Trustee, third year of service
  • John C. Curzio II, Trustee, fourth year of service
  • Matthew Morello, Trustee, second year of service
  • Melissa Orser, Trustee, first year of service
  • Jason Paraskeva, Trustee, second year of service

During the meeting, board members were presented with posters, cards and crafts created by students across the District. Students from George Fischer Middle School drew thank you posters which adorned the table at the meeting, while students from Matthew Paterson Elementary School, Kent Elementary School and Kent Primary School all created cards of various colors, shapes and sizes.

Carmel High School senior Abigail Weizenecker, who is a top student in the school’s ceramics classes, designed, hand-formed and fired ceramic dishes for each board member as a token of appreciation. Weizenecker worked with students in the school’s Personal, Academic & Community Experience (PACE) Program who created paper flowers included in each dish in what Carmel High School Principal Lauren Santabarbara called “an amazing collaboration between two different programs all within the art department.”

“As school board members, you give the Carmel citizens a voice in the education decision-making process,” Zehr added while addressing the board members at the meeting. “We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated group of people leading our school district. I want to thank you for their leadership, your commitment to our students and our community, and your support of our mission to continually improve the education system for our students.”

Thank You Poem from Kent Primary

Large cards created by students at Kent Primary School included the following poem thanking board members: 

 “A community of learners. That’s what we are.
With your dedication and leadership, we will go far. 
The time that you give means so much,
And we hope that you know how many lives that you touch.
The elementary, middle and high school students, too,
All of us are thankful for you.
For making good choices with the Carmel 6Cs,
for keeping our schools safe and meeting our needs.
You make sure our teachers are the best,
Our schools are amazing, and Carmel is better than the rest. 
You demonstrate citizenship, collaboration, too;
Communication and creativity are characteristics of you.
Thank you for your critical thinking and the compassion that you show,
serving on the Board of Education, we’re thankful you know!” 

Thank You, Board of Education!