Board of Education Candidates

Two (2) three-year seats on the Rhinebeck Central School Board of Education will be filled through the Board member election at the annual school district voting this Tuesday, May 20, 2014 between 2:00 and 9:00 pm in the Bulkeley Middle School cafeteria.  


In the interest of providing information to the public, in this case regarding the candidates for the available Board of Education seats,  the District provided the opportunity for each candidate to respond to a fixed series of questions with the same parameters for length of response. 


One candidate, Ms. Deirdre Burns, filed a petition to run for election to one of the available seats.  Her name will be included on the ballot due to her timely petition submittal, and her candidate profile appears in the school district budget brochure.


After the deadline for filing Board candidate petitions had passed, two additional candidates provided the District with written notice that they would be seeking one of the vacant seats as write-in candidates.  Neither of the write-in candidates's names is permitted to be included on the ballot, although there are appropriate spaces on the ballot for writing in one or two candidates' names.  


Mr. David Tobias informed the District of his write-in candidacy prior to  the publication of the District's budget brochure, so that publication contains his candidate profile as well, in addition to Ms. Burns'. 


Mr. Richard Walker informed the District of his write-in candidacy more recently, after the District's budget brochure had been printed, so his candidate profile could not be included in the District budget brochure.


However, we are providing below the unedited candidate profiles for each of the three declared candidates who have notified the District of their intention to be considered for one of the two available Board of Education seats. 






Address:                                                             32 Chestnut Street, Rhinebeck

Residence in District:                        Resident for 22 years

Family:                                               Spouse: Bill Hoynes; one son a 12th grade student in Rhinebeck HS and one son a college junior

Education:                                          B.A. Tufts University; Graduate Certificate in Public

                                                           Administration, SUNY Albany


What motivates you to want to become a school board member?

     I have been privileged to serve on the Rhinebeck Board for several years. Much work remains to be done, including fostering community interest in board service.


What is your vision for education in our community?

     The District’s mission, vision and core value statements are crucial guides in leading the school board. We must respect and nurture the capacity for students to explore the vastly interesting world around them, to grow as unique individuals in community with others and to learn a variety of skills to meaningfully engage with their world. Schooling must have higher aspirations than increasing test scores and global competitiveness, which are poor motivators for developing intellectually and living a life of purpose. We must work collaboratively to create a vibrant, creative learning environment with high expectations, developing our students’ intrinsic motivations as they grow into capable, confident young people ready to be active participants in defining their future.


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Rhinebeck schools, and what should be the top priorities for the Board of Education in 2014-15 and beyond?

     Federal and State government fail to adequately support public education, failing to recognize schools as fundamental to the health of our democracy and teaching as an honorable profession. The regressive property tax, tax cap, and the damaging focus on testing and corporate interests are related challenges. Our goals should include:

Supporting teachers in elevating curricular goals and developing teaching practices that engage all students;

Providing more support for students with uncertain post-high school plans;

Improving our web site; and

Engaging local officials to promote Rhinebeck as a livable place for diverse families.


What experience do you have that will make you an effective leader as a member of the school board?

     I am a four term Board member, three years as president. I value creating space for varied opinions while guiding people to work together toward solutions. I have presided over the development of budgets that stay within the tax cap while enhancing the educational program and am a fierce advocate for public schools.





Address:                                                         20 Peacock Road, Rhinebeck

Residence in District:                                                Resident for 17 years

Family:                                                           Spouse: Martha Tobias; one child graduated from Rhinebeck schools, one child still attending Rhinebeck schools

Education:                                                      BA - Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY; MS - Yale, New Haven, CT

Occupation:                                                   Director, Land Acquisition Program, NYC Dept. of

                                                                              Environmental Protection


What motivates you to want to become a school board member?

     Joining the Board of Education will afford me the opportunity to advance the work of previous boards and build an even stronger foundation for our youth to (1) become competitive in a rapidly expanding global marketplace and (2) to participate in our democracy as enlightened, caring citizens.


What is your vision for education in our community?

     Rhinebeck is a crown jewel of the Hudson Valley; we must ensure that the District will continue to outshine neighboring districts in the quality of our teachers, resources available to our children, and rigor of educational programs.  In particular I envision very strong and comprehensive science and technology programs.


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Rhinebeck schools, and what should be the top priorities for the Board of Education in 2014-15 and beyond?

     I believe Rhinebeck would be well-served to pursue the following areas:

1.      Develop comprehensive long-term strategies for key operations to guide the District in setting priorities;

2.      Enhance transparency and communication with our constituents;

3.      Help the Board function as efficiently and smoothly as possible in order to attract the best and brightest in our community; and

4.      Support effective financial management of scarce resources.


What experience do you have that will make you an effective leader as a member of the school board?

     I volunteered for Vassar College for 25+ years, fundraising for scholarships, operations, and educational programs. For the past 18 years, I have worked for a government agency whose mission is to protect public health.  I work daily with large organizations and bureaucracies, developing complex programs and policies to support them, managing multi-million dollar budgets, a staff of 15-20, and dozens of private vendors under contract.  I am familiar with issues related to conflicts of interest, equity, and business ethics.




CANDIDATE PROFILE:                              RICHARD WALKER

Address:                                                          233 Salisbury Turnpike, Rhinebeck

Residence in District:                                      Resident for 34 years

Family:                                                            Spouse: Elizabeth Walker; four children, all Rhinebeck CSD graduates

Occupation:                                                     Volunteer with Senior Nutrition Program, Northern Dutchess Hospital, Neugarten Birth Center, Literacy Volunteers


What motivates you to want to become a school board member?

     My family has a tradition of service. My dad was a 75-year volunteer fireman and a 20-year Town Supervisor. My mother served 10 years on the Chatham Board of Education.


What is your vision for education in our community?

     Please, understand, none of the government program to up-grade education are aimed at Rhinebeck. We already do good things for our students. So, on another level, our primary goal should be to build CONFIDENCE. Our kids must be confident that they are CAPABLE PEOPLE. Sometimes you have to be told that … a lot. When each finds her or his niche, they WILL succeed. We have an obligation to help build that self-confidence and then test scores will improve, bullying will diminish and we will have a true learning community.


In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Rhinebeck schools, and what should be the top 2 priorities for the Board of Education in 2014-15 and beyond?

     Respond to the Common Core expectations with the philosophy that our students should learn in a nurturing atmosphere of high expectations without being tested to death. Our staff should have the flexibility to do their job allowing for creativity and individuality and be evaluated in a valid manner. Our administrators (and teachers) should be freed from the blizzard of paper-work that denies them the time to do their primary jobs of leading and supporting. Be LOUDER and more UNIFIED in advocacy for education. At this time, big money and big ambition can force change without allowing for the full thought necessary before implementation of mandated programs or tests. Political and business leaders DO respond when the din is loud and the organization is solid.


What experience do you have that will make you an effective leader as a member of the school board?


     Thirty-five years’ experience as a Social Studies teacher in Red Hook. Nine years’ service on the Rhinebeck Board of Education, twice as President.


845.871.5520 - District
845.871.5520 ext. 5527 - Transportation
845.871.5570 ext. 6560 - Registration
845.871.5570 ext. 6551 - Special Education
845.871.5570 ext. 6560 - Curriculum & Instruction


Mailing: P.O. Box 351, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Physical: 45 N. Park Rd., Rhinebeck, NY 12572


845.871.5570 - Chancellor Livingston Elementary
845.871.5500 - Bulkeley Middle School
845.871.5500 - Rhinebeck High School