Janice Powers sets school board run to ‘put students and their needs’ at center, not allow ‘rigid ideology’ to narrow board’s gaze

Editor’s note: This statement and photo was provided by Janice Powers.

Dear Neighbors,

Janice Powers (Deborah Lowery)

I am honored to announce my candidacy for election to the Pelham Board of Education (BOE). I run to make meaningful contributions to the future of public education in our district, and as a reflection of my long standing service to and love for our Town and its families.

Our school system faces the mighty challenge of implementing a complex strategic plan, formulated through a multi-year process shaped by community feedback and insights, designed to deliver outstanding public education for ALL Pelham students. The BOE deserves a non-partisan, visionary leader who possesses a keen understanding of public education policy and practice in Pelham.

If elected, I will bring much-needed and relevant experience from my career as a public servant to this role, as well as an abiding commitment to consensus-building and compassion for the betterment of our district and community.

As a NY State Assistant Attorney General, and previously as an Assistant District Attorney, I use critical skills and competencies that are essential to being an effective BOE member each and every day. I am privileged to work closely with both student and senior community members across Westchester County, advocating for and protecting their rights. I will also utilize the knowledge of our community’s public education policy and practice gained through my longstanding volunteerism with the Pelham Education Foundation, Bridges of Pelham, and Siwanoy Elementary School to help advance the BOE’s agenda.

My professional background also includes eight years in private practice, where I learned to master fluencies that are vital to carrying out the difficult but necessary responsibilities public school BOE members must tackle. These include balancing state mandated regulations and provisions with strategic goals that are shaped by the district leadership in consultation with the community. It involves careful fiscal and budgetary management, effective and inclusive communications planning and execution, and nurturing strong relationships with teachers and staff whose professional development complements the strategic priorities of our district. It also includes embracing non-partisan approaches to public education that are built on collaborative engagement with one another, and our fellow neighbors and residents. And, I firmly believe that BOE members must always put students and their needs at the center of their work, rather than permitting rigid ideology or partisan priorities to channel or narrow their gaze. Through these ways of partnering, we are able to create a shared vision and realize a public education model that advances equity and is anchored in promoting excellence in all its forms.

Like many of my friends and neighbors from all corners of our Town, my husband and I fell in love with Pelham on our first visit in 2013. We moved here a few months later, just one month before the birth of my only child who is now a Siwanoy second grader and the absolute love of our lives. Since that time, I have shown up to serve Pelham in multiple capacities while being a wife, working mother, and struggling gardener. I am a proud graduate of Rutgers University School of Law, an institution rooted in public service (JD ‘05), and Brandeis University (BA cum laude ‘99). I have also enjoyed years of volunteerism to Pelham, through my lived and learned journey in a range of community initiatives:

  • Board Member, Pelham Education Foundation
  • Co-Founder, Bridges of Pelham
  • Chair, Siwanoy Elementary School Diversity Committee
  • Founder, Bridges of Pelham Middle School Scholarship Award
  • Newsletter Editor, Siwanoy Elementary School PTA
  • Speaker, Pelham Memorial High School Career Day
  • Building Bridges Program Volunteer, Siwanoy Elementary School
  • Spelling Bee Volunteer, Siwanoy Elementary School and Hutchinson Elementary School
  • Sunday School Teacher, Union Baptist Church, Greenburgh, NY

Friends, I think we can all agree that the past year has challenged, stretched, and stressed us in ways we could never have imagined. It appears we are now turning a corner on the Covid-19 pandemic. But there is much that lies ahead as we undertake the next phase of strategic plan implementation, and continue to unify our Town while simultaneously uplifting the voices of all Pelham families.

I am confident that Pelham and the BOE will continue its exemplary leadership to make our community whole again. There are reasons for optimism and even celebration. With increased state and federal funding, a new elementary school facility, and the wisdom gained from a year of pivoting and innovating, Pelham Schools are well positioned to fulfill the District’s mission of “Inspiring a Standard of Excellence for All.”

Bottom line: I am ready to roll up my sleeves to carry forward this important work as a new BOE member, and humbly ask for your vote on May 18th!

Respectfully and in service,


p.s. I want to hear from you about the issues that most concern you and your families. Please visit often on Facebook Janice4BOE (https://www.facebook.com/Janice4BOE) and email me at janice4boe@gmail.com.