By Rich Bockmann
Community District Education Council 26 held its first meeting of the year at MS 172ï»¿ in Floral Park last week, where members elected Douglaston resident Jeannette Segal as council president.
Segal has been a member of the council for the past four years and served as vice president last year. She replaces Robert Caloras, who had been president since 2005.
The architect and mother of three said she began getting involved in education issues as a member of the PTA.
“I believe DC 26 is one of the more effective councils. I hear that in a lot of training sessions I go to,” she said. “In our district, we have very high-performing students and lots of parent involvement. That helps us.”
The other officers elected were Ricky Chan, first vice president; Lucy Vieco, second vice president; Susan Shiroma, recording secretary; and Vijayalaxmi Hegde, treasurer.
During the council’s business meeting, members were assigned schools to visit throughout the year in order to raise their profile with parentsï»¿. Segal warned that some principals may not want CDEC members in their schools and suggested contacting PTAs as well.
“Last year, a lot of council members didn’t visit schools,” Segal said. “I think we can do better than last year. It’s a good way to get out there.”
Segal said she was also hopeful that the relationship between the CDEC and the city Department of Education would be better with new city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
“We have to take it just short of suing the DOE to get our voices heard,” she said. “We’re hoping that with a new chancellor they’ll be a little more open and listen.”
The council is seeking the parent of an English language learning student to be a member in order to be in compliance with a state mandate.
The next meeting will be Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at MS 172, 81-14 257th St. in Floral Park.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.