Letters to the Editor: 4/27/17
Running for School Board
Hello Sag Harbor,
My name is January Kerr, and I am extremely pleased to tell you that I am running for election to the Sag Harbor Board of Education.
For those of you who don’t know me, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and briefly explain why I hope you will consider voting for me.
My husband Brian and I live on Harrison Street in Sag Harbor with our two daughters, Poppy (7) and Willa (20 months old). We also have two adorably large Alaskan Malamutes, Lucia and Fergus.
I grew up in Middletown, N.J. and attended public schools from kindergarten through high school graduation.
In 1998, I earned a B.A. degree in Government and Law from Lafayette College.
From there, I went to New York Law School, where I clerked with US District Judge Kevin Duffy and worked at the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.
After graduating law school, cum laude, in 2001, I worked for the next eight years representing the victims of securities fraud, where I spent many late nights managing complicated issues … and personalities.
I decided to stop practicing law in 2009 after Poppy was born, which also gave me the opportunity to pursue my passion for writing and philosophy. I am currently working on my first novel (a work of historical fiction), which I was fortunate to workshop this past summer at the Southampton Writers Conference at Stony Brook Southampton.
It was also in 2009 that Brian and I decided to move full-time to the East End. We lived in East Hampton to start but ultimately settled in Sag Harbor — largely because of the reputation of the school system, and our long-held love for this community. While Brian still spends much of the work week in NYC, it’s very important for us to raise our daughters in this town that we are extremely fortunate to call home. It is undoubtedly the best decision we ever made.
Now, I’ve decided to take a more active role in the community and our school district. Here are three reasons why:
Building Consensus. It’s important for our school board to work together as a cohesive group. I am well versed in dealing with different viewpoints and working through difficult issues to a mutually agreeable consensus — my lawyering and mothering skills probably contribute equally in this regard.
Transparency. The decisions made by our school board have tremendous impact on the lives of our children. It’s crucial that these decisions be discussed and debated in a public forum, not behind closed doors.
Understanding. A school board should understand and support the community in which it serves. That starts with a strong relationship with the public, and a respect for all views. I think I can be an effective conduit in making that happen. In order for the meetings to be more ‘public friendly,’ the issues of most concern to the public should be prioritized on the agenda. And most importantly, we should be sure that the needs of our students are prioritized, not overlooked.
There will be a Meet the Candidates Night on May 1st in the Pierson Auditorium. I would welcome the chance to meet with you and listen to your hopes and concerns for our school district.
Finally, please be sure to vote on May 16th – this election is very important for us all.
Safety on Horseback
As head of Southampton Trails Preservation Society’s equestrian division, Horses on Trails (HOT), I am happy to see local equestrians featured in the article, “Flaunting a Different Kind of Horsepower,” April 13, Sag Harbor Express.
While these two women bring awareness that our roads are to be shared by motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and horseback riders, safety and mutual consideration must be emphasized. Riders on our sponsored events are required to wear helmets, abide by rules of the road and maintain trail etiquette. In Southampton we are indeed fortunate to have 300 +/- miles of multi-use trails.
Southampton Trails Preservation Society
Saving Long Wharf
Though we have lived out here (in nearby Noyac) for only five years, it has become evident to us that Sag Harbor has many treasures, among them, Long Wharf. In all weather, one can take a brusque walk to the end, along the outside of the short fence around where the parking spots are and feel the thrilling nearness of the water! And there are fewer choice prizes to us long-time inland Brooklynites than strolling over after an evening of first-class entertainment at Bay Street Theatre to one of the lovely benches positioned there and to sit looking out upon the flickering reflection of lights on the water.
Please do not destroy this precious landmark in a village already ravaged by the fire that took our movie theatre and Sagtown. Renovate, improve upon, and surely fix up the Wharf — Gigi Morris offered some marvelous suggestions for doing this in her April 20th letter to the editor — but please, please don’t turn it into a parking lot. Preserve the historical treasure that the Long Wharf represents — and I am sure I am not alone in asking this. Please save Long Wharf!
Heidi Rain Oleszczuk