IN THE NEWS

Week of May 7

Scarsdale10583.com: Harrison Backs Singer for School Board 

To The Editor:

I strongly recommend a vote for Alison Singer for her second three-year term on the Scarsdale Board of Education. Alison has an impressive resume including her community service and volunteerism and leadership positions. She has founded the Autism Science Foundation in 2009 and has been President ever since and has been a spokesperson for autism research and a supporter of individuals with autism and their families. She has been interviewed many times on national television bringing national media attention for autism issues. Alison has a deep understanding of special education and needs for our children as she has a child with autism. .

Alison has served on the BOE for three years and was elected by her fellow Board members to serve as Vice President during this past difficult pandemic corvid year. Alison was a leader on the Board to pass the two-installment plan for our school taxes to help our residents better handle our high property taxes during the corvid recession. Almost every other town in Westchester had this two-payment option for years.

Alison was also a leader on the Board to keep any tax increase for the coming fiscal year on July 1 to a minimum with a 1.93 % school tax increase. Compare this with the excessive Village tax increase of 2.99%.

This past Covid year has been most difficult for all of our Scarsdale community. Alison Singer with her past experience on the School Board can provide steady leadership for our students and parents for the coming years.

Please cast your School Board vote for Alison Singer on May 18. Contact Bob Harrison with any questions or comments on Alison's campaign effort at
proscars@aol.com or 914 725-0962.

Bob Harrison, Chairman
Scarsdale Taxpayer Alert
65 Fox Meadow Road

 

IN THE NEWS

Week of May 1

Singer’s Experience is Essential for BOE Complexities

By Rita Golden, Barbara Jaffe and Michael Otten (Former Board Presidents) 

As former school board presidents, we know that when it comes to selecting board members, there is no substitute for experience and an in-depth understanding of the complexities of dealing with our community’s many stakeholder groups.

An extremely steep learning curve exists for anyone elected to a board of education, no matter how deeply they have been involved in recent school-related volunteer activities. Add to that the wealth of knowledge that needs to be mastered quickly in areas such as employment law, collective bargaining, curriculum and instructional innovation, special education, school safety, state and federal advocacy, Regents regulations, tenure, budgets and financial reporting, just to name a few, and you quickly get an idea of how important it is to retain experienced board members.

It takes a good three years to begin to master these diverse areas of responsibility. Recently, the Scarsdale School Board has lost a number of members after they served just a single term. With such a rapid turnover, it is vital that we retain experienced members such as Alison Singer to help guide the board through the difficult decisions it will inevitably face.

This past year has brought unprecedented challenges to school boards across the country. There is no guidebook for how to educate students during a worldwide pandemic, and inevitably there will be conflicting approaches on how to best serve our students. There have been valuable lessons learned along the way, which will help to inform how to best move forward in a collaborative manner.

In addition to her current term on the board, serving most recently as vice president, Alison Singer has a lengthy track record of volunteer roles in a number of important community organizations, including co-chair of Scarsdale CHILD, School Board Nominating Committee and SBNC administrative chair, and the Colonial Acres Neighborhood Association, as well as impressive academic and professional credentials. Her knowledge and familiarity with the needs of special education students provides a particularly important voice at the board table.

So let’s not waste all that valuable, hard-earned experience and knowledge. Reelect Alison Singer on May 18.

Former BOE presidents favor reelection of Singer to board

by Florie Wachtenheim and Suzanne Seiden (Former BOE Presidents) 

We are writing this letter to encourage the community to support Alison Singer’s candidacy for a second three-year term on the Scarsdale Board of Education. Alison has a very impressive record of qualifications and of service to the Scarsdale educational community. Of special note, her candidacy is significantly enhanced by her first term of board service, uniquely positioning her as the strongest candidate in the upcoming school board election.

We each served six years on the school board, (Florie, 2001 to 2007 and Suzanne, 2010 to 2016), each with terms as president and vice president. Based on our own board of education experience, we can personally attest to how each year of board service informed and strengthened our effectiveness as trustees. There was a steep learning curve in the first years, and we benefited from the experience gained over three annual cycles and from the mentoring of more senior colleagues. We were able to make more significant contributions in later years precisely because we had come to know more about issues and nuances and had developed strong working relationships with other trustees and community leaders. By the time we assumed leadership roles, we had the seasoning to probe complicated issues, manage controversies, communicate credibly with the community, and more productively collaborate with district administration to influence policy. We became mentors to newer trustees, who are simply not yet similarly equipped.

So it should go, if the board can do an orderly succession planning with a term-staggered roster of trustees. To replace the accumulated experience of a trustee who, like Alison, has performed well during her first term would forfeit those assets, interrupt that important rhythm, and deprive the rest of the board and community of a thoughtful and knowledgeable trustee.

Boards historically deal with budgets, contract negotiations, facilities planning, strategic planning, to mention some of the bread-and-butter matters. Each cycle has different challenges and sometimes there are additional layers and issues that are incredibly complex and difficult. We processed highly charged issues involving building construction and the high school’s Advanced Topics courses. The issues presented by the COVID-19 virus are of a different magnitude, and the intricacies of trustees, administrators and community members working together in this circumstance to protect Scarsdale students and families, while in support of education, cannot be emphasized enough. The relationships and experiences Alison brings to these complex issues will continue to move the community forward. Her background on the school board is more vital now than ever.

BOE Candidate Singer has been an Outspoken Change Maker

by Lauren Rimland (Former CHILD Chair)

As past co-chair of Scarsdale’s Children Having Individual Learning Differences (CHILD) committee with Alison Singer, I am endorsing Alison to be reelected to the school board. Alison’s mission has always been about the best quality of life and education for our children.

Alison has been instrumental in making monumental changes for our special needs learners. She helped pave the way so that our special needs elementary students no longer needed to switch schools every two years. Alison also initiated similar changes at Scarsdale Middle School, ensuring that students in the parallel curriculum could remain in their own houses and no longer have to cross houses within the school for their education. Both of these changes helped provide stability to children whose world is already challenging.

I have known Alison for 20 years. Over the years, she has made career moves not to benefit herself, but to help those in the special needs community. She has helped my and countless other families with guidance and advice in the special needs community. Scarsdale has been fortunate to have had her wisdom and guidance over this past term. Alison has the ability to benefit our special needs learners as well as the general student population.

For the student who has learning difficulties, life is hard enough. Alison Singer has made it her mission for all our students to thrive and learn in their best possible environment. Alison is outspoken for our students who speak softly.

 

IN THE NEWS:

Week of April 23

Scarsdale Inquirer: SHS grad supports Singer, a ‘valuable mentor,’ for BOE seat

By Max Rolison
SHS Class of 2011

As a graduate of Scarsdale High School, I am writing to strongly endorse Alison Singer for a second term on the Scarsdale Board of Education. I fervently believe that she will foster a school environment that will prioritize every individual students’ well-being and maximize opportunities for learning and achievement.

I first met Alison almost 16 years ago, when I began volunteering with children with special needs at the JCC of Mid-Westchester. What could have been a short-term volunteer gig became my lifelong passion. Alison advocated for me and mentored me throughout my high school career, helping me procure an internship at the Seaver Autism Center at Mount Sinai and helping me secure a sponsorship to attend the annual Yale Child Study Center’s Annual Autism Conference. Additionally, Alison served as my senior options adviser and through that program I had the opportunity to work with her at the Autism Science Foundation. At SHS, I received the Science Achievement Award and numerous state awards for community service — none of which would have occurred without the excellent guidance and mentorship I received from Alison Singer.

It was Alison who first encouraged me to apply to Yale University in 2011 and wrote a recommendation letter on my behalf. During my years at Yale, I worked in an autism research lab at the Yale Child Study Center that Alison introduced me to. When I decided to apply to medical school, it was Alison who again wrote on my behalf, and, in the spring of 2017, I was admitted to the Yale School of Medicine.

Alison is and always has been a strong advocate for students. I have had the tremendous fortune of benefitting from Alison’s mentorship and I am confident that I would not be where I am today without her consistent support and encouragement.

My story is one of many, as Alison has touched the lives of many Scarsdale High School students, sponsoring several students’ senior options projects and serving as a mentor to dozens of students over the years. She is compassionate, intelligent and a good listener who is attentive and caring; these qualities are unique and so valuable in a mentor. It would be a loss to future generations in Scarsdale to not have Alison serve on the board of education where she is able to create opportunities for all students to reach their potential.

Scarsdale Inquirer: Incumbent Singer has ‘invaluable experience’ on BOE 

by Kamal Mehta


As a former member of the Scarsdale School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC), I urge all voters to reelect Alison Singer to the Scarsdale Board of Education on Tuesday, May 18for her second term as trustee. I fully respect the work and process of the SBNC and I am usually inclined to support their nominees, however this year is different.

The claim that Alison was not a strong advocate for the students and did not heed parental concerns is erroneous. Alison has described that, as an officer of the board, she was in constant communication with the administration in order to deal with the crisis presented by the pandemic. She forcefully reflected all community feedback in order to shape consensus.

Last year certainly required an unprecedented level of communications by the board and administration with the parents who were voicing strong feelings on how best to adapt. I appreciate her acknowledgement in a recent online interview in local media stating the board could have done better and she recommends “breaking established rules and protocols, which the board was reluctant to do.”

Alison has the same exemplary skills and credentials that got her elected previously but importantly she now possesses the invaluable experience forged in a demanding first term.

 

IN THE NEWS:

Week of April 16

Scarsdale Inquirer: Mental health leader vouches for BOE candidate Singer

by Dr. Tom Insel
Former Director of the National Institutes of Health

As the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), I am writing to express my highest support for Scarsdale School Board Trustee Alison Singer. Alison is a nationally recognized mental health advocate who served on several federal committees at the National Institute of Mental Health during my tenure as director. There is no one who cares more or does more to support the needs of children with mental health issues than Alison. As a committee member, she was widely known as someone who valued public input and could lead the group toward consensus. She made decisions based on facts and data and was able to get an incredible amount of important work done that benefited people with mental health issues.

The COVID-19 crisis is a student mental health crisis. Now is the time when you need someone like Alison who has deep understanding of the latest mental health research and interventions. Your town is incredibly fortunate to have Alison on the school board. She brings a depth of knowledge about children’s mental health that will be extremely valuable in our current climate. I urge your readers to reelect her.


Scarsdale Inquirer: BOE incumbent Singer’s skills ‘invaluable’ to school board

By Jennifer Fischer

I wholeheartedly support Alison Singer’s candidacy for a second term on the Scarsdale Board of Education (BOE). My comments are completely independent of both my role as Greenacres PTA president and a third-year member of the SBNC. My support is based on Alison’s service on the BOE for the past three years, as well as her experience, leadership and institutional knowledge that will help guide the district into our post-COVID school years to come.

Alison has made an indelible mark on our district’s focus on students with special needs and abilities. There is no decision or policy put forth which Alison doesn’t eye from a perspective of how it affects our most vulnerable students.

Alison is keenly aware that all proposals must take into account stakeholders across the entire district, including parents with children young and old, empty nesters, staff, administration and, most importantly, the students themselves. This was especially evident this year, as we faced unprecedented challenges with no roadmap to follow.

We, as a community, were terrified, confused and facing a barrage of constantly changing circumstances and guidance. As the school administration and BOE were tasked with balancing the needs of all, while maintaining the safest possible environment, there was understandably a tremendous amount of community engagement and varying opinions of what was the best path forward. A key turning point to our schools being able to open full time was the availability of vaccinations for school district staff. Alison’s experience on the New York State Immunization Advisory Council helped her lead the board’s efforts in working with other districts to lobby Albany to expand access to vaccines for teachers.

Despite the extraordinary circumstances this year, Alison never lost focus on the necessary BOE business and functions. This is especially true of the budget and contract negotiations. Alison not only has an MBA, but in her career at NBC, she participated in collective bargaining and contract negotiations. Her skills are invaluable to ongoing and future work on the school board.

In addition to my complete faith in Alison’s capabilities, there are also concerns with how we approach BOE tenure. As stated by others, there is a significant learning curve in the processes and procedures faced by new board members and institutional knowledge, relationship building and trust can only be gained with on-the-job experience. Recent experience shows that when there is a hot-button issue and community interest intensifies, there is an inclination to assign sole responsibility to whichever BOE member happens to be running for a second term at that time. I strongly believe that Alison has not only worked tirelessly for our students and community over the past three years, but has provided the necessary checks and balances on all policy and administrative decisions that shape and guide the Scarsdale School District. We are fortunate to have her and I hope you will join me in voting for her on May 18.

 

IN THE NEWS
WEEK OF APRIL 9, 2021

Scarsdale Inquirer: Colleague Says Singer Deserves Second Term on School Board

by Carl Finger
Current Scarsdale School Board Member


"Alison Singer’s qualifications for the Scarsdale Board of Education remain unequaled and even unchallenged in recent memory and she is uniquely qualified to serve a second term"


"Alison reaches out to administrators, faculty, teachers and other staff to build the relationships necessary to successfully implement board policies. Alison not only recognizes the partnerships necessary to reach our goals, but takes action in a way that demonstrates her commitment to the team effort required for success. She understands that the success of the Scarsdale School District is an enterprise constructed upon many years of faithful relations among the board, parents, administration, teachers, community and students. But more than appreciating that, she seeks at every turn to enhance and build upon the foundation laid by prior boards. 


Alison’s voice can be found in everything accomplished by the board the past several years, including the strategic plan, multiculturalism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, STEM, technology and other accomplishments. Her fingerprints appear on every board policy that has been modified or adopted to improve the educational experience in Scarsdale, on every union contract that has been negotiated, and on every budget that has been adopted. There is no effort that the board has successfully undertaken that Alison has not positively influenced.

Alison has my vote of confidence and my vote on May 18. I hope she will have yours as well."

Scarsdale Inquirer: Former SBNC chair endorses incumbent board VP Singer

By John  Spiro
Former SBNC Chair

"While only SBNC members who were in the room for the deliberations will ever know the real reason for failing to renominate Alison, I suspect it had something to do with wanting to send a signal to the board that the community was frustrated with some of the decisions made by the board during the recent school year.

I find this logic suspect and the decision seems quite reckless.

Suspect, because this year of COVID-19 presented truly unprecedented challenges for all school systems. There were highly vocal and passionate proponents on all sides of the debate about how best to manage the schools during this public health emergency. Well-meaning experts disagreed, and decisions had to be made (and are still being made) against the background of deep uncertainty.


Reckless, because without having Alison on the board, there will be a critical lack of seniority at a time that is still highly fluid and complex. There is no real substitute for real world experience, and Alison clearly has that. Importantly, it also sends the wrong signal to future candidates thinking of running for this important position and will make it harder to recruit qualified volunteers."

 

IN THE NEWS
WEEK OF APRIL 2, 2021

Scarsdale Inquirer: School Board Needs Singer's Experience and Dedication
by Rochelle Waldman

Former Scarsdale Village Trustee 

"Alison is deeply committed to community engagement and was always eager to listen to input from peers and community members. She is consistently well prepared and is a conscientious leader who sought collaboration on a wide range of issues."   Read more

Scarsdale Inquirer: Board of Ed Incumbent Singer's Leadership, Advocacy Matter

By Marc Carter
Former Board of Education Member

"This past year has been unprecedented in the history of the school district. The district continues to face a national health emergency.  This is not the time to remove one of our most experienced board members. We need someone who is already prepared to step into the board presidency".  Read more

Scarsdale Inquirer: #Stop Asian Hate: Students Rally Community Against Bigotry

By Kristen Bayrakdarian​

"Scarsdale School Board Vice President Alison Singer discussed the school district’s efforts in more detail, pointing to the implementation of a new policy whereby the schools superintendent will be charged with ensuring that curriculum materials will be reviewed and examined for bias on a regular basis."  Read more

 

ADDITIONAL TESTIMONIALS AND PRESS COVERAGE

"Alison Tepper Singer, current board of education vice president, announced she is planning an independent run for reelection to the board. Singer, who will complete her first three-year term on the board at the end of June... issued a statement saying she is seeking a second term “with the urging and support of many community members” and she looks forward to having her “experience and qualifications evaluated by the full village in the May 18th election.”

"Beyond her credentials, she appears to have a good disposition to deal with controversial community issues and passionate neighbors. She is poised, direct and most important, optimistic about what the future holds for students, parents, the Scarsdale Schools and community."

SBNC decisions don’t always reflect what the citizenry desires. Three years ago when Pam Fuehrer, currently board president, was similarly not renominated by the SBNC, she was reelected in a landslide when she ran against the chosen SBNC candidate....  I’m hoping for a similar outcome for the highly qualified Alison Singer. The SBNC has once again made a terrible error in failing to renominate a current board officer. Singer brings much needed experience to the board, and her command of the issues and effectiveness as a leader will continue to serve our students well.
Erin Foster, Former SBNC Vice Chair
March 26, 2021