Four candidates are seeking election to three (3) seats on the Board of Education on the May 17 ballot—each carrying new three-year terms beginning July 1. A "Meet the Candidates Night" will be held on Tuesday, May 10 from 6-6:30 p.m. in the Averill Park High School Large Group Instruction Room (LGI) prior to the public budget hearing. A regular meeting of the Board of Education follows both beginning at 7 p.m.

The following biographies are written by the candidates and the candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot:

Steven Keller

I moved to Poestenkill 23 years ago with my wife Susanne and children Steven and Peter. The quality of educational opportunities was among the most important criteria we used when considering where in the Capital District to put down roots. The reputation of the Averill Park School District strongly influenced our decision. Our sons, Steven and Peter, were well served by the district both scholastically and in terms of personal development, the latter as a result of participation in the theater, music and sports programs.
Last year I retired from the NYS Department of Public Service, after 37 years, as a Chief of Special Initiatives. My main areas of responsibility had been utility cost and revenue analysis, and in recent years the development and oversight of cost effective energy efficiency programs, and electric market development.

I currently serve on the Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Poestenkill and have done so during eight of the past nine years. I also enjoy performing as a musician at local venues and charity events and volunteer at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts.

I want to make sure that children coming through the system now and in the future continue to be served well. That said, I realize there is not an endless supply of funding and I believe my career background has equipped me to achieve balanced decisions.

Peter A. Schaefer

My family and I moved to Averill Park thirteen years ago because of the excellent reputation of the school district. Our daughters have attended West Sand Lake Elementary School, Algonquin Middle School, and Averill Park High School and participated in academics, sports, theater, and the arts. One is now graduating from college with honors, in part because of the high quality of education she received here. As an educator for over thirty years, I know the importance of a well-rounded academic curriculum for workplace preparation and career and college readiness. I support a balance between academics and extracurricular activities to keep our students engaged. For the past thirteen years, I’ve worked as the Science Chair at Hudson Valley Community College and helped to make connections between higher education, local industry, and public schools.
I’ve served on the Averill Park BOE for over six years and have been disheartened by the state aid cuts that affected our children’s educational development and opportunities. In an effort to advocate for the district, I’ve met with legislators and attended regional district conferences about budget issues. Gradually, we are able to restore programs through state budget restorations, but the advocacy efforts must continue and involve our entire community.

Should I be re-elected, I will continue to work for quality education, to fight for elimination of unfunded mandates and restoration of equitable state aid, and to promote a respectful, open dialogue among the school board, administration, teachers, and community.

Stuart Nippes

I grew up in Poestenkill and attended the Averill Park School District. My experiences include but not limited to management positions and business owner. I have had a 20 year career with UPS Freight; with job descriptions of driver, chairperson safety committee, and shop steward. Currently I am a real estate agent with Alani Realty. I am an active member of the Sand Lake Kiwanis.

I believe in giving back to my community. The community where I was raised; the community I call home. I have been an advocate for education, reasonable taxes, and responsible school spending. I am asking you re-elect me to the Board of Education of the Averill Park Schools. I believe I can continue to contribute to the success of the school board district. It’s time to give true meaning to “Do it for the Kids.”

Caren Rosch

I moved to Averill Park over 40 years ago as a child with my family and chose to stay here with my husband to raise my children. I worked in the Averill Park school district for approximately 14 years, first as a substitute in a variety of positions and then permanently in the Buildings and Grounds department.

The experience I’ve attained by working and living in the district has given me valuable insight into the issues I will face and how my decisions will affect parents, taxpayers, the employees and especially the children. I will try to be fair in my decisions and see all sides of the issues.

My children have graduated and although I no longer work for the district, my goal is to help make this district the best learning environment for the children and staff while being fiscally responsible to everyone in the community.