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Two seats will be open on Board of Education

On May 16, residents will vote to fill two seats on the Schoharie Central School District Board of Education for terms running from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020.

The seats are currently held by Maureen Bernhardt, whose term expires June 30, and Karen Olewnick, who was appointed last fall to fill a vacancy created when James Bleau resigned from the Board after moving out of the district. That term also expires June 30; the candidate elected will serve from after the election on May 16 until June 30 and then for a three-year term beginning July 1.

Individuals are eligible for election to the Board of Education if they are qualified voters of the district (district resident, U.S. citizen, age 18 or older) and can read and write. New York State Education law does not limit the number of terms of office a member may serve.

The Board of Education is comprised of seven residents elected to serve overlapping, unpaid terms of three years each. Together, they:

  • Establish district policies;

  • Approve an annual budget proposal;

  • Approve or disapprove the superintendent's recommendations on personnel; matters and contracts

  • Review courses of study and textbooks; and

  • Act as a communication link between residents and the school district.

Information on the candidates is provided below in the order they will appear on the ballot, according to the random drawing for ballot positions.

Laraine Gell is seeking her first term on the Board of Education. Laraine and her husband, Barry, live in Schoharie with their two children who attend Schoharie Elementary School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in counseling psychology at Teachers College of Columbia University and is employed as a school counselor at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School. Gell has been an active member of the Schoharie Elementary Parent Teacher Student Organization (EPTSO) and has served as secretary for the past five years. She has been involved in the community as assistant coach of her daughter’s softball team.

John Florussen is seeking his first term on the Board of Education. He and his wife, Heidi, live in Wright with their three children. Two sons attend Schoharie Elementary School and a third will start pre-K in Schoharie next year. Florussen earned a bachelor’s degree in film and TV production at Queensland College of Art, Australia, and a master’s degree in English at the State University of New York at Albany. He is employed by Capital Region BOCES as an administrative assistant in the textbook loan, science kit and courier services. He volunteers as coordinator and coach of Schoharie’s 2nd-grade Basketball Club, assistant coach with Schoharie Little League and as a musician and performer at local cultural events.

Maureen Bernhardt is seeking her second term on the Board of Education, where she is currently vice president, home school liaison and a member of the negotiations committee. She and her husband Ken live in Schoharie and have six children, including five who attend Schoharie Central Schools. A Schoharie High School graduate, Bernhardt earned an associate’s degree in early childhood education at SUNY Cobleskill and is employed as a teaching assistant at Middleburgh Central School. She is actively involved as a volunteer with her children’s sports activities, including assisting at track meets and coaching Little League, and as a member of her local church.






[3/2017 u 4/11/17 & 4/26/17]


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