Donald Tucker, a lifelong resident of Saugerties, has worked on the Saugerties Police Department for the past 38 years. He is married with one grown daughter who attended Saugerties schools. He has served on the board for 12 years, including a stint as president.
What do you think of the current board and its priorities?
The current board overall is a hardworking board. I would say that to any board member, even a board member coming on for the first time. You work hard. It’s something you have to jump into, you have to do a lot of reading to educate yourself. There’s so much going on between the meetings to bring you up to speed.
There’s a lot to do and I think this board does a very good job at getting the job done.
Do you feel your approach would be the same or different?
I think that we can always do a better job. I think we do a good job, but I don’t close my mind to the fact that we’re doing a good job and that’s all there is. I think you’ve got to keep an open mind. I think the parents are a tremendous asset that we need to look into working with more.
I’ll only speak for myself; have we been lax in that area? Yes, we have. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say that because it’s the truth. They’re a tremendous asset. They’re hard workers, they’re very well informed, and why shouldn’t we have them on board with us? I think it’s a plus. I think if this Common Core changes, it is going to be because the parents directly changed it.
Why are you running?
I care very deeply about this community. I always have, I always will, until the day I die. I have a responsibility to give back for what I’ve been given. I wish that you would interview me when there’s no election because I’d be saying the exact same thing. I sincerely mean it. I’ve been given a tremendous benefit working in this community and I enjoy it very, very much. There is a need to give back to the community, and that’s what I do. It’s very rewarding.
What are your particular areas of interest?
To see that we do the best we can for the kids with the money that we have available. Money is tight. I enjoy very much working with the budget. I chair the audit committee, which I absolutely love. I find it very interesting. We have good auditors, external and internal, and they do a very good job. It’s a continuous job because it’s never perfect, there’s always things found that need to be cleaned up.
What is the role of a good School Board trustee as you see it?
To be the best you can be because you are a role model within the district, within the community. I think that there is a reason that we are there, to protect the children and educate the children as best we can. It’s a continual learning process for any board member. Things change month to month.
We don’t always agree, but at some point you have to come to an understanding and conclusion that gets the job done in the end. Personality’s out of it, you’ve got to get the job done. People have their argument, it might not be your argument. I think it’s healthy, but in the end you’ve got to get to where you come together to get it done.