On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in addition to voting on the proposed 2022-23 school year budget, Stillwater Central School District residents will elect three members to serve on the Board of Education. The “at-large” Board seats are for three-year terms to run from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2025, to fill seats for which terms expire June 30, 2022.
Voting will take place from 12-9 p.m. in the auditorium. The candidates in ballot order are Valerie Masterson, Amanda Cocozzo, William Callanan, Robert McCoy and Alaine Wood. Their information follows below.
Valerie Masterson has been involved in the Stillwater community and its school system for over 40 years. She has three grown children, Michael, Matthew and Meaghan, all of whom graduated from the Stillwater Central School District. When her children were in school, Valerie served as the PTA vice president and president. She was also involved in the Odyssey of the Mind program as a coach for student teams. “My involvement only increased from there, as I have been serving as an active, dedicated, and reliable member for the school board for 27 years now,” Valerie said. “I am seeking re-election because I care deeply about the educational programs that our students are receiving as well as the financial responsibility that comes with it.
“My commitment as a Board member can be seen through the time and effort that I have put into it over the years. As educational and financial matters are presented to the board, I do my utmost due diligence to ensure the research and information presented are reliable and will best serve the community and its students. As a Board member, I have been involved in three major capital projects and the hiring of three superintendents. I have also been part of the leadership team that negotiated successful contracts with our teachers and staff.”
During Valerie’s tenure on the Board, she has served as president, vice president, Finance chairperson of the Finance and Policy committees, and member of the Program, Facilities School Safety, and Website committees.
In the community, she has served as a Trustee and Elder of the Stillwater United Church and was elected three years ago to serve as Town Councilwoman on the Stillwater Town Board.
Valerie said, “I have been very active and involved in the community, and I feel that I have the qualities and leadership experience to continue to ensure Stillwater is a school of excellence.
“Stillwater deserves the best, and I will continually push for excellence, ask the tough questions and demand thorough and transparent answers. The Stillwater community supports its schools, and in return we need a Board that will provide that support and give clear and transparent answers to the community. I will continue to respect, value and encourage the involvement of Stillwater’s parents, students and community. I will seek the knowledge and expertise of our district’s employees and employee groups whose services are essential to Stillwater.
“I believe the children of Stillwater are our most precious asset. The world they will grow up in will most certainly be challenging in ways that we cannot even conceive at this point in time. It is our job to give them a solid educational base, fostering the very best in all of them and contributing to their continued success. Sometimes there are difficult questions that need to be asked and problems that need to be solved but I believe that working together is how we find solutions.
“It has been an honor to serve the community for the past 27 years and I am proud of the work that this Board and community has accomplished.”
Amanda Cocozzo was first elected to the Board of Education in May 2019. She is a graduate of Mechanicville High School and Daemen College, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy. Amanda and her husband, Joe, live in the Town of Stillwater with their two sons, Anthony and James.
Amanda currently works as a physical therapist for Capital Area Physical Therapy and Wellness in Malta, NY.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve our community, teachers and students, as a member of the Stillwater Board of Education,” Amanda said. “My children have had such great experiences thus far as students in the Stillwater School District.
“The teachers and staff have been extremely supportive and have gone above and beyond making their experience fun as well.
“I feel the best way I can give back is by being a voice for them and our community, so as to help assure the same experience for those to come.”
William (Bill) Callanan previously served for four years on the Stillwater Board of Education. He lives in Stillwater with his wife, Renee, who has been a teacher at Stillwater for the past 20 years, and their children Aidan and Madelyn. Aidan is a current 8th grader and Madelyn is a 7th grader.
Bill is the Assistant Superintendent of the Albany terminal for Global Companies, where he oversees the facilities budget and everyday operations. “I feel that this gives me a great background to bring to the table when helping to make wise financial decisions for the district,” Bill said.
He has proudly coached football for many years at the modified level as well as the youth Battle program. He currently volunteers his time as an assistant with the varsity football program.
“It is my pleasure to be involved in the betterment of the Stillwater Central School District,” Bill said. “We are very proud Warriors! I am very committed to helping this community in any way possible.”
As a previous Board member, Bill served on the Facilities and Planning committees. He was actively involved in overseeing all projects and improvements made to the Stillwater campus at large. He was involved in looking at proposed curriculum and other important ideas brought to the table to make our school better for students. Bill believes in open and clear communication and community involvement.
“I feel that after getting rolling in the first few years, I am really settling into a groove to do even more as a member of the Board of Education,” Bill said. “I am hopeful that I will be re-elected so that I can continue to help create an even better Stillwater.”
Robert McCoy is running for a seat on the Stillwater Board of Education. Rob lives in Stillwater with his wife, Shelby, and two children, who both attend Stillwater Schools.
Rob is a small business owner and stay-at-home dad who said he “is looking to bring back community communication to our school board.”
Rob said, “Your child, your choice: I believe we need to get the students back to learning and thriving in Stillwater, and in a close sense of community that supports teachers and staff throughout the district. I believe in a safe school environment for all, with smart planning for the future as Stillwater schools grow in numbers.
“I stand for educational growth for teachers to excel and advance with excellent pay and benefits.”
Alaine Wood is a lifelong resident of the Mechanicville/Stillwater communities. She’s been active as a member of the Stillwater PTA, lifelong parishioner of All Saints Along the Hudson Church, and member of the Rosary Society. Proudly achieving the Sacrament of Confirmation on June 9, 2022, she will become a Catechist this fall. Alaine is a pre-black belt student and instructor at Pentjak Karate, located in the Stillwater Community Center. She resides in the Town of Stillwater with her beloved grandson Michael Torturo IV, who is a third generation Stillwater Warrior.
Alaine was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Society and is a graduate of Hudson Valley Community College, State University of New York, with an Associate in Science degree with academic honors in Business/Business Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Siena College. Alaine is also a New York State-licensed cosmetologist. She has been a successful hair designer in Clifton Park for over 30 years, owning Amotional Rescue Day Spa as well as Amotional Rescue Hair Studio, and is currently employed at Panache Hair Studio.
“As a member of the Board of Education,” Alaine said, “I will accept the most important citizen’s responsibilities to advocate for children’s best interests while striving to continue being a strong voice regarding their safety and concerns. Fifty-four years I am rooted within our great community and have been listening to the concerns of its people. My vision is to join the Finance Committee, Audit Committee, and Curriculum and Program Committee.
“The areas of concern will lead me to implement solutions with a commitment to improve the quality of education during these clearly challenging times. Not only have I been listening, but am willing to support and defend our students, have the confidence to make decisions on issues at times which can be difficult, and will effectively communicate parent and student concerns.
“I advocate for the value of a strong public education system at every chance and at every level of government and create strategic partnerships with the community stakeholders while maintaining strong ethical standards.”