By Christine Sampson
An uncontested board of education race in the Bridgehampton School District will result in one new face on the school board when it reorganizes in July, after school board member Jeff Mansfield, whose term is expiring, opted not to seek reelection. The candidates are incumbent trustee Kathleen McCleland, who is seeking her second term, and newcomer Markanthony Verzosa, who is seeking his first term.
Kathleen McCleland was born and raised in Bridgehampton, and returned in 2004 after college and several years living in New York City. Ms. McCleland is a parent of two Bridgehampton School children. She works as the pastry chef at the restaurants Beacon and the Bell and Anchor, which are co-owned by her husband, and prior to that was a corporate event planner at Goldman Sachs.
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.”
She has served on the Parent Teacher Organization and worked alongside students, teachers and other parents in the school garden. She is the president of the Bridgehampton School Foundation, which supports projects and initiatives outside the scope of the official school budget.
As a current board member, Ms. McCleland serves on the policy and wellness committees, saying she is passionate about students’ emotional health as well as their physical health. She is also committed to rigorous academics. “I personally am very interested in making sure that we’re mindful of their college and career readiness,” she said in an interview. “In this constantly changing world that continues to evolve, that means something different to each individual student.”
Markanthony Verzosa owns his own contracting firm, MACV Construction, and said in an interview that he hopes to lend his expertise in construction to the Bridgehampton School’s upcoming renovation and expansion project.
“I’m an architecturally trained general contractor out here, and I have a daughter at the school,” he said in an interview. “I look forward to helping her with her education as much as possible, and I thought one of the ways I could do that was help the school figure out its expansion and be part of that process.”
Mr. Verzosa also has experience in higher education, having served has an associate professor at the University of Tennessee. He also ran programs for inner-city youth to help them learn design concepts and understand the industry.
He is a parent of two and is the vice president of the PTO. Mr. Verzosa has owned a house in Bridgehampton since 2005 and has lived here full-time for the last three-and-a-half years.
He said he believes in approaching problem-solving with creativity, and believes in transparency and communication.
“Any involvement the community can have in the decision making process is good involvement,” he said. “… I’m 100 percent transparent when it comes to that. I think everyone should be really informed when it comes to the school.”