Why I’m Running: Margaret Parr

Ready for challenges of Haldane board

After many years of considering a run for the Haldane Board of Education, I am pleased to announce that this year everything has fallen into place and I can finally commit the time and energy to this very important position. I am a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, with a B.S. in speech and spent my early career in the music industry at Sony Music International, as an associate director of special marketing.

Margaret Parr

Margaret Parr

As a 20-plus-year resident of the Village of Cold Spring, with two children who have attended Haldane since kindergarten, I think I can offer the Board of Ed a true pulse of this community. I believe in taking advantage of every opportunity life has to offer, and through the years many will know me as a familiar face from various activities including leadership roles in the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, Philipstown Little League, Haldane PTA, Haldane Class Parent, an election worker at both school and town elections, and most recently from my employment at the Philipstown Recreation Department.

I have passed this love of participation in the community on to my children who are active in Haldane varsity sports (baseball, basketball, volleyball and track), Model UN, National Honor Society, yearbook, Student Council, Leo Club, International Club and band. In addition to school activities, my son, John (Class of 2016) joined the Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1 as a junior firefighter this past year, and both he and my daughter, Catherine (Class of 2017), serve at Our Lady of Loretto parish — John as a Eucharistic minister and Catherine as a lector.

I have watched with amazement generations of Haldane students grow up through the system and become vibrant adults who remain in this community and move beyond it to pursue their dreams. The previous Board of Education trustees have brought our school to a great place and I want to offer my services to continue in their footsteps.

I understand that the Board of Education’s responsibilities include establishing a vision for the school that reflects a consensus of the board, community and district staff. In addition, the board is challenged with adopting a balanced annual budget, adopting a school calendar and negotiating contracts with employee unions, approving curriculum materials and the construction of a campus that will benefit the education process.

I know the board will have to work as a team with collaboration and respect to set the vision and goals for our school. I will consistently ask the hard questions and work for transparency in all that we do. I don’t believe that we have to agree on everything, but once a vote is cast, I will support the consensus regardless of my personal vote on the issue. There is a chain of command in every school system, and I will do my best to direct any concerns of parents or community members to the appropriate person to handle their particular issues.

While I am not a career education professional, I do not consider this a handicap in my candidacy. I recently started working in the public school system in the business office at Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School in Westchester and hope that by joining the Haldane Board of Education I can continue my own education by learning more about how the public education system in New York really works from the inside. The jargon, technical language and policy details that I may not know or fully understand yet, are likely the same jargon, technical language and policy details that the average parent also doesn’t fully understand. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but hope to serve as a bridge to the community by doing the research to educate myself and share information with clarity and simplicity to any community member who asks the questions. This will require steady and ongoing work on my part, and I feel that I am up to that challenge.

My love for Philipstown, Haldane and all of the children in this community runs deep. I would be honored to serve on the Board of Education at Haldane and hope you trust me with your vote on May 19.

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