Teachers’ union chief Finegan apologizes to Rowe, Owen-Michaane for his letter on trustee candidates

To the editor:

To Ian Rowe, Dr. Michael Owen-Michaane and the Pelham community: I would like to apologize to Ian Rowe, Dr. Michael Owen-Michaane and their families for the letter written by me last week. The tone and tenor of the letter was negative and hurtful. Words matter, especially in a small town like ours, and I could have spoken to the positives of the candidates. For the pain that was caused to anyone as a result of my words, I am sorry. The words were mine, and the misused “we” instead of “I” was unintentional. The letter came from me and not from any other member of the Pelham Teachers’ Association, even though it was on our letterhead.

To a person, the teachers in the Pelham schools got into teaching to positively impact the lives of children. All children should feel welcome in our schools, and all parents should feel safe sending their kids to school each day. This is a sacred bond between teachers and parents, one which I nor any teacher would ever intentionally break. For the words that may have made some feel otherwise, I apologize. That is not the case. Our most joyous moments are those spent with our students. We cherish them and feel it is our duty to nurture, educate and protect them.

In my 30-plus years in Pelham, the teachers have enjoyed a very positive relationship with the superintendent and board of education. Never has there been a member who has had any motives other than what are in the best interests of our children. While we have had  disagreements, we never doubted their passion for educational excellence. Owen-Michaane and Rowe have shown a strong desire to continue that tradition in Pelham and have bold, positive ideas to move our schools forward. I again apologize for the negative influence I had on the campaign, and the impact it had on Owen-Michaane, Rowe and their families. Congratulations to you both on a hard fought victory. The teachers’ association looks forward to working with you, Dr. Cheryl Champ and the entire board in a continued partnership to make the Pelham schools the best they can be.

Mark Finegan

President, Pelham Teachers’ Association

425 Wolfs Lane