School board elections in the Bridgehampton School District have largely been uncontested in recent years. That is not the case this year, as five candidates have stepped forward to run for two open seats.
Those candidates are Randy Davis, Michael Gomberg, Carla Lillie, Jennifer Vinski and Angela Chmielewski.
Ms. Chmielewski, who has two children at the Bridgehampton School, is the vice president of the district’s Parent Teacher Organization. She has also served on the board of the Children’s Museum of the East End and the Parrish Art Museum’s Business Council. She works in real estate for Corcoran, and previously worked in financial services in New York. She was educated at Catholic and private schools in the city.
“I definitely have a different perspective and experience,” Ms. Chmielewski said. “I am a huge advocate for the school and an active parent. It seems like a natural progression for me to get even more involved and give back. This is a really exciting time for our district with enrollment increasing and the expansion underway. I want to part of the team that is charged with making sure our students have all the opportunities imaginable.”
Mr. Gomberg, a parent of two children at the school, said he is running for a second term because he feels “there’s more to do.” He said he has advocated for more technology programs and resources for the students as well as for the hiring of the special education administrator. He began his board service by first joining the audit and budget committees.
“With any kind of administration, government or public sector, it takes time to get things done,” he said. “I’m excited with what the school is doing in terms of moving forward. I want to be a part of it.”
Mr. Gomberg studied accounting and finance and worked for Bear Stearns, then left to start his own financial services firm, which he ran for 14 years before selling it. He currently works for Edward Jones.
Ms. Lillie is a Bridgehampton native whose father, James Spooner, was a past school board trustee. She has three children who attend the school and attended Bridgehampton herself for several years before going to the Ross School, where she was part of the first graduating class in 2001. She works as the medical biller and bookkeeper at East End Pediatrics.
She said she thinks the school does a good job of giving students individual attention, but can do a better job of expanding class options at the secondary school level as well as adding athletics and other programs.
“I grew up here and I really believe in the Bridgehampton School and the future of the school,” Ms. Lillie said. “It’s important that everyone knows I have the school’s interests at heart.”
Ms. Vinski, seeking her third term, said she hopes to keep consistency on the board, saying “it’s crucial to where we are.” She is an elementary school special education teacher in the Southampton School District and has two sons at the Bridgehampton School. A resident of Bridgehampton since 2001, she joined the district’s audit committee before she ran for her first term in 2013.
“I feel pretty strongly that you don’t have to have all educators on a school board, but it’s pretty important to have at least one educator on a school board because ultimately a lot of our decisions are based on educational needs of students,” Ms. Vinski said. “I have the experience, the understanding and the knowledge of the inner workings of a school.”
Mr. Davis is a lifelong resident of Bridgehampton who has two children at the school. He has served as an elementary school basketball coach and Police Athletic League football coach for more than three years and has worked as a custodian for the Sag Harbor School District since 2006. He said he supports the direction the Bridgehampton School is heading in and hopes to “bridge gaps.”
“You learn things working for the schools and I wanted to do more,” Mr. Davis said. “I understand my community. I understand that we are also trying to grow. No board members are perfect, but we have a common goal of trying to grow and build and teach. I think that’s the biggest part. Trying to join the board is my duty in trying to give back to the community.”
Board petitions are due in to the district clerk by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 22.