Rye Neck Voters to Decide Last School Board Seat in Historic Run-Off Election

Rye Neck school district voters will head to the polls on July 1 for a first-in-history run-off election for the Board of Education. 

Published June 28, 2024 8:55 AM
2 min read

0:00

-By Chris Urban

Rye Neck voters will head to the polls on July 1 for a first-in-history run-off election for the Rye Neck Board of Education as two out of three trustee candidates received the exact same number of votes. 

The unprecedented May 21 election resulted in a victory for Nikki Barker with 628 votes. Candidates Halli Gatenio and Martin O’Reilly each received 429 votes for the second available seat.

Originally, the run-off election between Gatenio and O’Reilly was going to take place on June 20, but the district legal counsel recommended rescheduling to July 1, ensuring that all New York State Election Laws were met. This change was approved by the board on May 31.

Gatenio, an active member of the Rye Neck community with three children in the school district, began her career as a corporate meeting and event planning manager. “My deep involvement in our community and schools gives me the understanding of student needs across different learning styles,” she said. “With children spanning from third to tenth grade, I am dedicated to advocating for every child in our district, showing up daily for our kids and community.”

Being involved with the Rye Neck PTSA as vice president for two schools, the Rye Neck Booster Club, and sitting in on several Principal Advisory Meetings has developed in Gatenio a “passion to ensure students receive a high-quality education and to advocate for policies that support their growth and well-being.” She added, “Transparency and accountability are important to me, and I believe serving on the board would allow me to make a meaningful impact, helping to create a supportive and enriching environment for all students and educators in our district.”

O’Reilly, who has lived in Rye Neck for 14 years, has one child who graduated from Rye Neck High and one still attending. “My 25 years of experience in large global companies equip me for a board position, allowing me to solve complex problems and align strategies with district goals,” he said. 

Working at C-suite level positions for several technology and operations teams across global public relations and marketing companies, O’Reilly said, has given him the necessary skills to be a good board member. “I’ve led large teams to meet performance goals and aim to make our great school district the best for every student and community member,” he said.

O’Reilly said, “Stronger partnerships with the superintendent, fiscal responsibility, and improved school safety are key; my expertise in cyber and physical security, along with 28 years in communications, can enhance community involvement. A board member’s role is distinct from other parent groups; I bring unique skills to execute the school’s strategic plan effectively.” 

Voting for the special run-off election will take place on July 1 at the Rye Neck HS/MS Community room between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

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