By Peter Jovanovich
The Rye City School Board Election is Tuesday, May 15 and three candidates are running for the three open seats. Chris Repetto is running for a third term, Kelly-Smith-Powers a second, and Callie Erickson for a first.
With all three of her children at Osborn School this year, where she has served for four years as co-treasurer of the Executive Board, Erickson has deep appreciation for Rye City schools. “All children are different and have different approaches to learning, as my children do,” she said this week in an interview with the paper. “The Osborn teachers have taught each of them in a way that makes sense for them. They go above and beyond ordinary expectations.”
Seven years ago, Callie and her husband, Stuart, and the first two of their three children, moved from the city to Rye, where she quickly became engaged in the community. She joined the Auxiliary Board of The Rye Free Reading Room, and for four years served on the Advisory Board of Rye Presbyterian Nursery School, three of those years as chairperson.
Why run for the School Board?
“I was inspired after meeting Dr. Eric Byrne at one of the many interviews he was conducting with the community,” she recalls. “I didn’t know what to expect, but quickly was impressed by his energy and his vision for improving the District. I walked out thinking: I want to be a part of this and help accomplish his main goals: school capacity, instructional improvement, and financial sustainability.”
During the same interview, Erickson raised the issue of providing a more challenging level of math instruction for those students, including one of her own, who are ahead of the curve. “He responded thoughtfully,” she recalls, “emphasizing that his goal was to ensure that every class was at the same high level in every one of the three elementary schools.”
What does financial sustainability mean to you?
“It means looking at every line item in the budget to make sure it is vital to the mission of the schools and focusing on the long-term implications of decisions over a five- or ten-year time span. One shouldn’t look at a budget as a one-year event.” (The 2018-2019 budget — $82.9 million — is also up for a vote on May 15.)
Erikson already has some experience with the high expectations of the Rye educational community. “While chairperson of Rye Presbyterian Nursery School Advisory Board, we had to deal with finding a successor to longtime director Cheryl Flood. There was a great deal of anxiety among parents and teachers that we make the right choice. We worked to make the process transparent, including having the two finalists meet with the teachers. We kept our eye on the ball during what was a year with a lot of pressure.”
A Princeton undergraduate who has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Erickson currently serves on the City of Rye Finance Committee.
<All voting takes place at Rye Middle School on May 15. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.>