Readers Write: Smith, Block and Renna represent the voice of parents in Port school board election

The Island Now

To Our Community:
Like many parents in our school district, I did not pay much attention to the machinations of our Board of Education nor the school administration until the pandemic forced us to rethink everything.

Shame on me, because the decisions they make and the influence they wield have a profound impact on the lives of our children.

With rising 5th and 2nd graders in our district, my wife (a local pediatrician) and I spent the past year learning as much as possible, and getting involved wherever we could. Having listened to, and studied, the candidates in next week’s Port Washington Board of Education election, we are proud to support Adam Smith, Adam Block, and Justin Renna.

I have been personally inspired by the commitment, passion, integrity, knowledge and sacrifices made by Adam, Adam and Justin.

Each of the three will bring different insight, experience and expertise to the Board. Adam Block is an educator, a local business owner and has a Ph.D in Health Policy and Economics from Harvard.

Adam Smith is a real estate and financial leader, volunteer at the Bed Stuy Volunteer Ambulance Corp, and board member of a local house of worship.

Justin Renna is a facilities expert and high school and youth sports coach. They have been advocates for change and transparency.

They have proven that they possess the collective skills and tools to add much-needed wisdom to our Board far beyond a single issue.

But more than anything, they are parents with children currently in our schools.

They represent those of us who are impacted by the Board’s influence every single day for years to come. Adam, Adam, and Justin know our schools, teachers, principals, and building staff. They know our coaches and local leaders. They know health and medical experts. Most importantly, they know our kids.

I watched all of the Board meetings this year (“watched” being the operative term as there was no forum for discussion) as well as several public debates this campaign season and have been quite dismayed at what I have learned.

The lack of inspiration, preparation, transparency and responsiveness on display this past year has been more than disappointing. It has been detrimental and damaging for Port students and families.

None of the three incumbents running in this election has a child in school. They are long-time insiders in the school district over a period (30 plus combined years on the Board) that has seen alarming declines in national rankings.

Ultimately, the most important thing that you can do is vote Port Washington out of complacency. Parents deserve a Board that represents them. Even if you don’t have a child still in the school district, you should be concerned about what’s happening here.

The future of our school district MUST be better than its recent past.

Matthew Wurst
Port Washington

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