The Huntington PTA Council is sponsoring a Meet the School Board Candidates Night on Thursday, May 3 at 7 p.m. in the J. Taylor Finley Middle School LGI/auditorium.
The Suffolk County PTA will moderate the event. Members of the audience will be able to submit questions that will be posed to the trustee candidates. All members of the public are invited to attend.
The five candidates on the ballot include current trustees Christine Biernacki and Thomas DiGiacomo and challengers Lynda D’Anna, Michele Deegan and Alvin White. (Trustee Emily Rogan is retiring and not seeking re-election.)
Huntington’s PTA Council is led by President Michelle Kustera, co-Vice Presidents Kristin Kanzer and Toniann Mangan, Secretary Colleen Perfetto and Treasurer Carolina Addeo.
Residents will vote on the proposed budget for 2018/19 and two capital reserve fund propositions and elect three trustees to serve three year terms on May 15. 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 15 for them to be counted in the 2018 election and budget vote. For more information contact District Clerk Joanne Miranda at 631-673-2126.
The following are snapshot profiles of the five candidates (listed in alphabetical order) on the May 15 ballot:
Christine Biernacki was first elected to the Huntington School Board in May 2015. She is a longtime volunteer in the Huntington School District, including serving as the PTA Council’s president.
Raised in the town of Huntington, Mrs. Biernacki attended school in South Huntington. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and a Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law. She is a partner in a New York City law firm.
Mrs. Biernacki and her husband, Dave, who is a 1983 graduate of Huntington High School, live with their two children in Halesite. Their daughter is a freshman at Huntington High School and their son is a seventh grader at J. Taylor Finley Middle School.
Over the years, Mrs. Biernacki has served on the district Safety and Shared Decision Making Committees and on the Committee for Special Education.
Mrs. Biernacki’s service to the community’s children predates the start of her own family. She served president of the Huntington Sanctuary Project’s advisory board. Mrs. Biernacki and her husband offered their house as a host home for Sanctuary, opening their doors to runaway youth so that the families could participate in mediation to resolve their issues and bring the youngster home.
Mrs. Biernacki has also served as president of the Town of Huntington’s Youth Bureau Board. She was recognized for her work with runaway and homeless youth by the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus and the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services.
A lifelong resident of the town, Lynda D’Anna has lived in Huntington village for the past 21 years. She graduated from Commack South High School and went on to obtain an undergraduate degree cum laude in romance languages at Dowling College and a master’s degree in Italian literature at Stony Brook University.
Mrs. D’Anna and her husband, Nick are the parents of four children currently attending district schools, including a high school senior and sophomore; a J. Taylor Finley Middle School eighth grader and a sixth grader at Woodhull Intermediate School. Three of the children are graduates of the dual-language program.
A world language teacher in the Syosset school district since 1993, Mrs. D’Anna has also served in many professional leadership roles, including as a member of the high school steering committee for the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence application process, chair of the district’s Middle State Accreditation Evaluation Committee and as a founding member of the high school’s professional development program.
Mrs. D’Anna has served as a Huntington School District Special Education PTA board member and volunteer. She is a founding member and former president of a local non-profit focused on advocacy and education.
As a parent of four children with diverse abilities and strengths, Mrs. D’Anna has seen Huntington UFSD help each of them learn, grow and thrive.
Proud of the district’s own growth, Mrs. D’Anna hopes to bring her experience as an involved parent, experienced educator and engaged community member to help Huntington schools continue to flourish.
Michele Deegan is a 26 year Huntington resident, where she resides with her husband Tim, a Huntington native and New York City school teacher and their son Nate, a freshman at Huntington High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the State University of New York at Brockport in 1991.
A highlight of Mrs. Deegan’s career as a recruiting professional is her current, long-term role at a leading New York City based architectural staffing firm. She has also worked as an administrative assistant at Project Excel of the Huntington Youth Bureau, a not-for-profit agency serving youth and families in Huntington.
A 2007 graduate of the Huntington Parent Leadership Initiative Mrs. Deegan has since served on the PTA executive boards of Washington Primary School, Woodhull Intermediate School and J. Taylor Finley Middle School in a variety of positions including recording secretary, corresponding secretary, vice president and president. She is currently the Huntington Booster Club’s membership coordinator.
Mrs. Deegan volunteers with the Huntington Youth Bureau as a judge for its annual Huntington Youth Writes contest. She regularly attends PTA and Huntington School Board meetings, as well as a variety of sports, fine and performing arts and educational events throughout Huntington UFSD.
Mrs. Deegan actively encourages community participation and engages in every possible opportunity to support public education in the Huntington school community through the volunteerism she strongly values and models and which she believes strengthens the core of our school community.
Tom DiGiacomo was first elected to the Huntington School Board in May 2012. He is currently completing his second three-year term. His fellow trustees chose him as the Board of Education president in each of the past three years.
A 1979 Huntington High School graduate, Mr. DiGiacomo’s family has been involved in the district for three generations. He holds an associate’s degree in business from SUNY Farmingdale and has a professional background in the technology field, providing solutions for businesses ranging in size from small to Fortune 50.
Mr. DiGiacomo’s professional experience includes project and budget management, finance and implementing technology solutions. He and his wife, Nancy are the parents of a son in his senior year at Huntington High School. Through the years, he has served as an active PTA member and co-chaired the district’s Shared Decision-Making Committee.
Mr. DiGiacomo strives to utilize his background in business and technology solutions, along with a balanced approach to problem solving, to contribute to making the district the finest it can be.
The DiGiacomo family has deep roots in the community. Mr. DiGiacomo’s father, Al, was a member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1941. Al DiGiacomo was the architect that designed the replacement for Roosevelt School on Lowndes Avenue. The building today serves as Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.
During his time as a trustee, Mr. DiGiacomo has been a member of the district’s audit and policy committees. He is president of the Huntington Alumni Association.
Alvin White has resided in the district for more than four decades. He attended Huntington High School and later returned to work in the district, eventually retiring as director of facilities in December 2015. He previously served as the district’s operations supervisor.
Prior to coming to the district, Mr. White was employed by the Internal Revenue Service in Holtsville. He began his career in Huntington USFD on a part-time basis at Robert L. Simpson Junior High School in 1974. He moved into a full-time position in 1979 and gradually climbed up the ranks.
Mr. White is the father of seven Huntington High School graduates and the grandfather of three current elementary school students. He is deeply involved in community and civic organizations, including the Porter-Trejo Action Network, Take Back the Block Advisory Board, Huntington Enrichment Center/Kids Café Board of Directors of the NAACP – Huntington chapter, Loyal Order of Moose Lodge No. 318 in Greenlawn, as well as numerous other local groups. He has served on the Huntington Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee and Lowndes Avenue Task Force.
A familiar figure around the district, Mr. White is also an active fan of the Blue Devil athletic program. He regularly attends games and meets and even team dinners. He has mentored and encouraged many community members of all ages through the years.
Mr. White has been recognized as the NAACP’s Man of the Year. He has also been honored by Tri-CYA, the Suffolk County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and the Family Service League.