Monday was the deadline for residents wishing to run for a seat on the Garden City school board to submit their nominating petitions. That means the ballot for the May 15 election has been set.
School Board Trustee Tom Pinou will be running for re-election, joined by newcomer Robert Martin. Both men were selected by the elected members of the Garden City East Nominating Committee.
Martin will be running unopposed for the seat currently occupied by Pinou, who will be in an uncontested race for the "At-Large" seat that right now belongs to Trustee Laura Hastings, who will not be seeking re-election.
Confused? We were too.
Albert Chase, district clerk and assistant superintendent for Business and Finance explained to Patch that Pinou, who lives in the village's western section, was appointed to the board in March 2011 to fill Trustee Laura Brown's seat when health reasons forced her to resign. Even though Brown's seat was for the eastern section, Pinou was the only candidate who ran in the May 2011 election and so he won the right to serve out the remainder of her term, one year.
Now, in an attempt to "straighten things out," Chase said Pinou will be running for the "At-Large" seat currently occupied by Hastings. (The at-large or fifth seat on the Board of Education rotates among the four sections of the Village and this year choosing a nominee for the at-large position fell to the East.)
Pinou has been a resident of Garden City since 1999, and has lived in the village's western section since 2001. He is the father of twin first graders, and has been a long time member and past president of the Western Property Owners' Association (WPOA). He serves on the Ad-Hoc Committee that oversees the $36.5 million School Investment Bond, according to the Garden City East Property Owners Association. Pinou is a graduate of New York Institute of Technology, holds an engineering degree and currently works as the director of Network Operations and CS for Banking Infrastructure & Technology Services (BITS), a nationwide managed service provider for voice and data connectivity, exclusively serving community banks.
Martin, who formerly lived in Westchester County before moving to Garden City in 2007, served for seven years on the Mamaroneck School Board and as vice president of the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association.
The Brown University and Columbia University graduate has an MBA in finance and is described by the EPOA as a "finance and educational professional with extensive senior management experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors." He also served three years in the US Army in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Neither Pinou nor Martin were available for comment, but were quoted in the EPOA newsletter saying:
"It is rewarding to serve as a volunteer with one common focus toward the children and enhancements to the school district,” Pinou says. “In addition, serving on the ‘newest legislative committee’ with President Colleen Foley, I am looking forward to see how we can put pressure on our elected public officials to assist us with this straining 2 percent tax cap.”
"The schools in Garden City have a well-deserved reputation for excellence in academics, extra-curricular activities and athletics," says Martin. "The position where I felt that I had the greatest impact, as well as the most personally stimulating, was serving for seven years on the School Board. I hope to bring what I learned in both my professional and volunteer lives to the Garden City School Board.”
For more information on the Garden City school board and budget elections, visit our topic page: School Budget 2012.