Incumbent Shi drops out of Great Neck BOE race

Incumbent Shi drops out of Great Neck BOE race
Great Neck Board of Education Trustee Jeff Shi. (Photo courtesy of Shi)

Great Neck Board of Education Trustee Jeff Shi withdrew his petitions to run for re-election to the board Friday and said he wants to be able to spend more time with his family.

“It has been my tremendous honor to serve as a trustee for the Great Neck Public Schools and support the education of all the students, from toddlers to teenagers, from adults who continue to seek self-improvement to the students in our Special Dd programs with the greatest needs,” Shi said in a statement to Blank Slate Media.

Shi was running for a third term on the board before making his decision to withdraw petitions to run. District officials said petitions to run for Shi’s seat on the board can be submitted until May 1 by 5 p.m.

District resident Joanne Chan has already filed to run for Shi’s vacant seat.

Board of Education President Rebecca Sassouni reflected on her time serving the public with Shi and said he is an asset the district will greatly miss going forward.

“The number of ideas that Jeff shared with the board; the perspectives he brought to the board, and more than anything else, his decency and his kindness which he always brought to the board in every interaction, in public in private, he is truly a gentleman among gentlemen and he will truly be missed,” Sassouni told Blank Slate Media.

Sassouni faces a challenger in district resident Niloufar Tabari. 

Sassouni, who was first elected to the board in 2017, announced she will be running for re-election as a trustee in March. The Board of Education elects a trustee to the post of president each year. Being re-elected to the board, she said, would give her a continuing opportunity to serve the school district that her own children have attended.

“I have abiding love and gratitude to this community and also to this school district,” Sassouni told Blank Slate Media last month. “And I’m very appreciative that my family enjoys the pluralism here.”

Sassouni said she was pleased with some of the practices adopted by the board since she took over as president in 2021. These include the live-streaming of board meetings to make them more easily accessible. The board’s decision-making and collaborative work, she said, is something she lauded during the interview.

“I think that our decision-making has become much more deliberative and more process-oriented, which I’m very proud of,” Sassouni said. “We are working together very collaboratively and very collegially in executive session and in public.”

The election will take place on May 16. The terms will be for three years and will begin on July 1.

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