Statement: Trustee candidate Miller’s focuses include return to high standards, student mental health, public dialogue at meetings

Eileen Miller

Editor’s note: This statement was provided by school board candidate Eileen Miller. The Pelham Examiner publishes statements in the form received as a service to the community.

I’m Eileen Miller, and I’m thrilled to announce that I will be running for Pelham Board of Education again, having served on the Board from 2018-2021.  I’m running again because I had a great experience in my prior term on the BOE. I found it interesting and challenging, and I learned a tremendous amount, and I know I have more to give. I’m a tested community builder—I’ve dedicated my 10 years in Pelham to building a community that positively impacts how our kids grow up.  I value cooperation, opportunity to succeed for all our children, open communication between parents, students, the District, and the Board, and I value trust.

I look forward to talking with as many Pelham neighbors in the next two months as I can. Having been through the budget process as part of the BOE, I can answer questions and give you my thoughts—the current budget is responsible, and will enable the District to make foundational investments and I think everyone should be fully informed.

Of course, I’m also excited to share my priorities with you. There’s sure to be much more discussion about this in the coming weeks, but these are my three top priorities:

1. Academic success among all our students.

It’s devastating to hear about the students who have fallen behind in these last few years. We must make their return to our high-performance standards job #1. Students who have been able to keep up must be challenged with rigorous work. Further, we need to support all types of learners. While the support we currently offer in Pelham is impressive, the challenges of the last couple of years make it especially imperative that we continue to innovate in order to meet the needs of students across the continuum of need and ensure every student achieves success.

2. Support the mental health and social/emotional wellness of all students and staff.

Prior to the pandemic, we were facing a growing youth mental health crisis, and the pandemic only made things worse. Now that we are returning to normalcy, we are facing increasing rates of substance use and mental health struggles—at the same time that there are very few professionals available to help. No child succeeds academically if they are not okay emotionally—investment in human and programmatic resources at all grade levels is critical to our children’s overall success.

3. Create a long-term plan that addresses the needs of our facilities, prioritizing quality of life concerns.

Pelham Schools has been financially lucky with some big wins in the last few years around state funding and cost savings due to the pandemic. As a Board member, I will balance the funding of future projects with the immediate interests of all Pelham taxpayers, specifically, managing the tax levy. The community deserves a clear and specific plan for 5 years, as well as a thoughtful outline for an additional 5 years beyond that. Plans should address long-term projects such as those that affect critical systems including boilers and air conditioning, with rigorously projected costs associated for each.

Improved communication will be the hallmark of my Board service—it is the basis of an effective Board. Communication drives engagement from our community, and will lead to the greatest results. We can always communicate more frequently and more clearly with families regarding daily concerns. I will work with the District to review their approach to communicating issues that arise and crises that occur, and will encourage the PTAs to be involved as well. Further, I know there has been a lack of alignment on how the Board handles public comment during Board meetings. I believe there should be more open dialogue during these sessions, and I will advocate for changes in this area. In order to be more responsive and productive, the Board must be more willing to listen to and communicate with families. In doing so, we can hope to build more trust from the community.

About Me

My family and I have lived in Pelham for 10 years this August. Both our children attended Pelham schools; our son, Josh, is a sophomore at Northeastern University, and our daughter, Ella, is currently a PMHS senior. I grew up on Long Island, the only child of two immigrant parents. I attended the Bellmore-Merrick School District and graduated from the Hotel School at Cornell University. After graduation, I worked in Las Vegas—I was part of the opening of the Mirage Hotel—and then returned to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania for an MBA. After grad school, I pursued a career in consumer products marketing, and worked at Kraft Foods and then Godiva Chocolatier.

I spent many years as an active volunteer at all the schools my kids have attended, and the communities where we have lived, including:

  • Class parent at Colonial
  • Overseen the Welcome Back Picnic at Colonial
  • Member of Middle School Site-Based Council
  • Board Member of the Pelham Education Foundation
  • Co-President of the Friends of the Pelham Public Library
  • Trustee on the Pelham Board of Education

I have worked at Pelham Together for the last four years.  A common thread in all my endeavors is that I choose student-centered work, and I love to work as part of a team. I’m a consensus builder, and I cooperate; I want to find solutions; I’m energized by working with others, particularly when we come from different points of view. I truly believe the best ideas come from a group who are diverse in thinking, committed to professionalism, hard work, and have the best interests and success of students and the staff at the center of everything.

More info will be coming about events where we can speak personally, but please feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions, or if you’d like to help out.

Find me on social!

FB: Eileen Miller For Pelham BOE

Insta:  EileenMiller4BOE

Or refer to my website for info:

Election Day: May 17th. . .  Please vote for me!  I am committed to continue my work to build our community and to serve our children.