Challenger Raymond “Mike” Maclary is a lifelong resident of Saugerties with four school-aged children. He has served on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club and on the Ulster County Planning Board. He currently works at the Ulster County Health Department. This is his first time running for a seat on the Board of Education.
What do you think of the current board and its priorities?
I think that’s really going to be up to the voters to decide. I think an effective board really has got to be proactive and actively seek out the opinions of the parents, the teachers and the administration, as well as the community. I think once you’ve got that information and you’ve facilitated that in a safe environment — I think that’s the key, people need to feel safe to talk about everything — then you take the information and collaborate and do what’s best for the children of Saugerties.
Do you feel your approach would be the same or different?
I just think that people need to feel safe to come out and speak. I think that’s key. I don’t know for sure, but I certainly don’t get the sense at the meetings I’ve been to that they’re really ready to listen to people as much as I feel a board should. The board should be part of the solution by promoting a culture of respect where leaders value the importance of team work and proactively work to support the success of all students.
Why are you running?
I’m a lifelong resident of Saugerties. I’ve got four children in the district, and I think parents want to be heard, more than be told what’s happening in Albany. They want to be able to speak out and be a part of the decision, or at least the options.
What are your areas of interest?
I’ve run a small business. I’ve been on several other boards, and I just feel that the communication climate has got to be different than what it is now. I don’t know what all the answers are, and I don’t say I do. I think people have to feel safe. That’s the common thing people say to me. They’re afraid to go and speak. Not okay.
What is the role of a good School Board trustee as you see it?
We’ve got to be actively participating in the needs of the community. We’ve got to listen, and take in all the information we can, and make decisions based on what’s best for the children in the district. Doing what the people that put you in that position want.