By Christine Sampson
The Bridgehampton School Board will have a new face when it reorganizes in July, after one board member whose term is expiring opted not to seek reelection, a second board member declared her intention to run again and one newcomer stepped up to serve.
Jeffrey D. Mansfield, who was first elected in 2014, said in an email to the Express he has decided not to run for another term because his wife is due to give birth to their family’s fifth child soon.
“I will be on full daddy duty!” Mr. Mansfield wrote.
Kathleen McCleland, who was also elected to her first term in 2014, will seek reelection, and Markanthony Verzosa has stepped up to run for Mr. Mansfield’s seat.
A school district representative said Tuesday no one else has picked up the mandatory paperwork required to run for the board. This year would mark the district’s fourth uncontested race in five years.
While only two candidates so far have stepped forward to run for the two seats, there is still time for anyone interested in serving on the board to hand in a nominating petition. They are due in to the district clerk by Monday, April 17. The election and budget vote is May 16.
In an interview, Ms. McCleland said she is running again to continue the momentum of “making really positive change within the school and also within our relationships in the community.”
A parent of two Bridgehampton students, Ms. McCleland was born and raised in the community, and returned here in 2004 after college and living in New York City for several years. She serves on the Parent Teacher Organization and is also the president of the Bridgehampton School Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the school district from the outside.
Ms. McCleland said she finds serving on the board to be very rewarding.
“I’m very proud of the way our board interacts with one another,” she said. “I think there’s a level of respect among our team members that allows us to be highly effective, and I feel a great sense of pride in being involved in the success of our school district. As a parent, it applies to me on a personal level, but that sense of pride I feel for any of our students, not just my own children who are in the school.”
She said she feels community interaction and outreach are important parts of the school board members’ role.
“I think the board is important for the survival of the public school system within a community,” she said. “We’re educating the future citizens of this community, so for them to become successful citizens of the world, we need to make sure that we are paying very close attention to not just the academics but their social development, making sure we’re getting them ready to go out into the world.”
Mr. Verzosa was not available for comment this week.