The Huntington PTA Council is sponsoring a Meet the School Board Candidates Night on Thursday, May 4 at 7 p.m. in the J. Taylor Finley Middle School Blue Zone main lobby.
Current Huntington School Board members Jennifer Hebert and Xavier Palacios are running unopposed for new three year terms. Both trustees will be on hand for a meet and greet session. All residents are invited to attend the event and discuss school related issues with the trustees or ask them questions.
Huntington’s PTA Council is led by President Melissa Ryan, co-Vice Presidents Michelle Kustera and Marilyn Maggio, Secretary Michele Sabatino and Treasurer Kristin Kanzer. Residents will vote on the proposed budget for 2017/18 and two capital reserve fund propositions on May 16. To be eligible to cast a ballot an individual must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, a resident of Huntington School District for at least 30 days and be registered to vote in a general election or with the school district.
Applications for absentee ballots may be applied for at the District Clerk’s office at the district’s administrative offices located at 50 Tower Street, Huntington Station, at least seven days before the election if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter or up to the day before the election if the ballot is to be delivered personally to the voter. Absentee ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 for them to be counted in the 2017 election and budget vote. For more information contact District Clerk Joanne Miranda at 631-673-2126.
The following are snapshot profiles of the two candidates on the May 16 ballot:
Jennifer Hebert is completing her second term on the Huntington School Board. She has an extensive background in education as a parent volunteer and teacher.
Mrs. Hebert and her husband Jamie have lived in Huntington for 20 years. Together they have two boys attending district schools and a third who is a student at Johns Hopkins University.
A Long Island native, Mrs. Hebert graduated from The Wheatley School in the East Williston School District in 1986. She attended Tufts University in Boston, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 and a Master’s degree in Teaching in 1991.
Prior to returning to Long Island, Mrs. Hebert worked as a public school kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts for several years. She is currently the director of the pre-school program at St. John’s Nursery School in Huntington village. She has devoted countless volunteer hours to the Huntington School District as a PTA president and treasurer.
Mrs. Hebert has served on various district committees through the years, including the Long Range Planning Committee. She can frequently be found attending academic, co-curricular and athletic events in schools across the district.
Widely known as a creative thinker who enjoys learning about all aspects of the district and its educational program, Mrs. Hebert believes in listening to all sides of every issue. She is particularly passionate about public school education and believes the learning experience offered to Huntington students should be the finest in the nation.
Xavier Palacios was elected to a second term on the Huntington School Board in May 2015. He has enjoyed a long association with the district.
A member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1988, Mr. Palacios earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University and a Juris Doctor at Boston University’s School of Law. He is the owner and managing partner of a Mineola-based law firm.
Mr. Palacios and his wife, Laura have three children, including a daughter who was a member of Huntington’s Class of 2016 and is now a University of Pennsylvania freshman and two daughters at Flower Hill Primary School; a first grader and a third grader, both in dual language classes.
In 2008, Mr. Palacios purchased and renovated a distressed property in Huntington Station where he established a satellite law office along with a community revitalization non-profit organization.
Mentoring has been a priority throughout Mr. Palacios’ life. At Columbia, he taught SAT prep and biology courses to inner city students. He has continued mentoring young people and families in the community and encouraged parents to be actively involved in their child’s education. He has been recognized for his work in the community and his efforts to strengthen opportunities for young people.
Mr. Palacios volunteered in each of the past two years to serve as the high school mock trial team’s legal advisor, training students in the art of courtroom skills and strategies. He has spent many hours working behind the scenes with coaches and athletes to help spur participation and promote excellence in the Blue Devil athletic program.
During his time on the Huntington School Board, Mr. Palacios has strived to be a problem-solver and to use his legal expertise to contribute to solutions regarding pressing issues facing students, teachers and taxpayers.