Great Neck Board of Education Trustee Donna Peirez is running for re-election against district resident Emil Hakimi.
Peirez, who was first elected to the board in 2016 to fill a vacant seat left by Monique Bloom, said in a letter to Blank Slate Media that protecting quality public education and promoting transparency throughout the district are her paramount concerns ahead of the May 17 election.
“All parents who live in Great Neck are entitled to a quality education for their children,” Peirez said. “In order for our students to continue to excel in school and beyond, we must preserve the creative, innovative and visionary programs we offer and continue to hire and retain the best teachers.”
Peirez, who previously served as a teacher at the Lakeville School for nearly three decades, said the school district’s “stellar reputation” is the driving force behind many families, including her own, to come to Great Neck. Her tenure as a board member has included helping navigate the district through the coronavirus pandemic and protecting the safety and well-being of its students.
“These experiences have helped me to understand the special families of this community, my community, in a unique manner,” Peirez said. “I am first and foremost an advocate for children. On their behalf, I am seeking another term on the Board of Education to continue championing public education.”
Hakimi, who has four children enrolled in the district, said in a statement that the board’s main focus should be on “the pursuit of academic excellence.” He said there has been a “shift in focus towards social and political agendas” in the district over the past year.
“Students of every caliber, whether in advanced courses, general education, or special education deserve a path to success,” Hakimi said. “We should be grooming the next generation of doctors, lawyers, educators, and entrepreneurs, not social justice warriors.”
Hakimi also called for transparency among the board to properly inform district stakeholders about what is occurring throughout the schools and said he can offer an “on the ground perspective to administrative policies.” He also noted the increased tension at recent Board of Education meetings, saying he will help mitigate conflict between administrators and parents if elected.
“Recent School Board meetings have become increasingly hostile and contentious, causing a rift within our wonderful community,” Hakimi said. “If elected, I will bridge the disconnect between parents and the schools. I recognize the need for parental involvement in a child’s education, as well as the need for transparency from the administration and the faculty.”
The election will also include a $261.4 million budget for the 2022-23 school year that the board adopted earlier this month.