Citizens Nominating Committee seeks school board candidates after two-year pandemic hiatus

The Citizens Nominating Committee has returned after a two-year pandemic hiatus and is seeking school board candidates to interview for the three open seats on the May 17 ballot.

The CNC was set up in 1954 to identify candidates who meet a set of state and local criteria for the post of board of education trustee. This year, the deadline for candidates to turn in an application for a CNC interview is Friday at 8 p.m.

Despite its name, the CNC doesn’t nominate people to run for the school board—that’s done by individual candidates collecting 25 signatures on a petition. The CNC can give its “nomination” to more candidates than there are available seats, and a candidate is not required to interview with the committee to run for the board.

The panel has been rebuilding after the Covid-19 pandemic. “By 2020-2021, active members on Pelham CNC drastically fell in light of the pandemic widely sweeping through communities,” said CNC Chairwoman Romina Levy.

This year, all three incumbents on the school board whose terms are up have chosen not to seek reelection. That means that there will be three new members of the community welcomed onto the board July 1. 

“The CNC is a non-political organization, the purpose of which is to recruit, interview and nominate highly qualified candidates for the board of education,” said the committee’s website.

The volunteer members of the CNC are dedicated to providing information to anyone considering running for the board. “From the moment an interested party makes contact with the committee up until that interested party attends the interview, they have the full committee at their disposal to answer general or specific questions and set up appointments or meetings requested for further fact finding,” Levy said. 

The CNC considers and assesses each candidate, ensuring they meet the qualifications of both the New York State School Boards Association and those that are specific to Pelham.

As for the specific local requirements, “the Pelham CNC is looking for candidates who exhibit general interest in education and support the public school system, demonstrate an ability to work well with others, have knowledge of current local community issues as they affect the Pelham public education system, and showcase an ability and willingness to execute faithfully the duties of a member of the board of education,” according to the CNC’s letter to the community.

Pelham CNC is a remarkable resource for both the community at large and for anyone potentially interested in running but unsure what it might entail,” said Levy. 

Candidate applications for CNC interviews are available on the committee’s website and through any CNC member.