Three candidates running for the Stillwater Board of Education

Three candidates are running for three seats on the Stillwater Board of Education that are up for election for three-year terms. Two will commence on July 1, 2024 and expire on June 30, 2027, to succeed incumbents Jon Mueller and Jimel Williams, and one will begin immediately on May 22, 2024 to fill the vacated seat of Paul Lilac and expire on June 30, 2027. The annual Board of Education election and school budget vote is Tuesday, May 21, 2024, from 12-9 p.m. in the Stillwater Middle/High School auditorium.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are Melissa DeCota, Jon Mueller and Melissa Zdonick.

Melissa DeCota

Woman smiling.Melissa DeCota is seeking her first term on the board. She works as a program manager for a reputable consulting firm and brings over a decade of expertise in the field of energy efficiency and sustainability. She earned an associate’s degree in drafting and design from Ulster County Community College before transferring to Union College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in math and biology.

Melissa is proud to call Stillwater home, enjoying its rich community heritage and the small-town ambiance. It’s one of the reasons she moved back to the area four years ago with her husband Matt and their three children – Jackson, Dallas and Adelaide.

An involved parent, Melissa is a member of the Stillwater Elementary PTA and volunteers for school events and field trips as often as possible. She’s also a member of the shared decision-making committee.

As a board candidate, Melissa strives to provide Stillwater students with a robust education that prepares them to be future leaders. She’s dedicated to fostering a safe and welcoming learning environment, ensuring the community continues to provide the resources and support necessary for “our children’s growth, success and overall well-being.”

Jon Mueller

Jon Mueller is seeking his third term on the board. A graduate of Stillwater High School, Jon has lived in the district for 50 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Eckerd College, in addition to a master’s degree in secondary education at the College of Saint Rose. He currently serves as the head baseball coach at the University of Albany, where he has led the team for 25 seasons.

An active member of the Stillwater community, Jon has been involved with youth soccer, Halfmoon Youth Baseball, Battle Football and Stillwater girls varsity basketball. Jon and his wife Patricia have two children, Marley and Jaxon.

If elected, Jon hopes to continue his work of making the community a great place to live and “providing a safe and healthy atmosphere for learning.”

Melissa Zdonick

Woman smiling with a stone wall behind her.Melissa Zdonick is seeking her first term on the board. A lifelong resident of Stillwater, she graduated from the district in 1986 and is a member of Stillwater’s Athletic Hall of Fame. She’s been employed by Intact Insurance for 23 years and currently works as a senior claims manager.

Melissa is an involved member of the Stillwater community, having volunteered for several different organizations. She was a board member and coach for Mechanicville-Stillwater Youth Soccer League (MSYSL) and a volunteer coach for Stillwater Community Center Youth Basketball, Mechanicville-Stillwater Little League and Titans Travel Baseball. She has also volunteered for the Stillwater Soccer Booster Club. Melissa is married to her husband Henry Zdonick, and together they have two children, both of whom are Stillwater graduates.

Melissa sees serving on the school board “as an opportunity to contribute directly to the education of the youth in our community.” If elected, she looks forward to collaborating with teachers, administrators, students and community members “to create a positive impact on the school and community.”