Three GCS Board of Education candidates up for vote on May 16
by Jessyca Cardinell
There are three enthusiastic candidates this year for the Gouverneur Central School Board of Education Election to be held on May 16. Be sure to take a moment of your time to get out and vote.
David Fenlong, who attended and graduated from Gouverneur Central School, has been very active in the community and has had a twenty-five-year career as the customer experience manager for the drug store division of KPH Healthcare Services.
He and his wife Susan have two Middle School sons, Griffin in seventh grade and Ethan in sixth grade.
As Mr. Fenlong's three-year term on the Board of Education is coming to a close, he has chosen to run for election once again. Mr. Fenlong took a moment to reflect on his experience of being on the school board.
“Being on the school board the last three years has been rewarding,” he said. “I feel active and involved in a community that needs volunteers. I get amazed at the depth and breadth of the teaching and learning occurring in our public school today. At the end of the day students are smarter, more sophisticated and better prepared for tomorrow than ever before. This makes an impact in the community we serve and why I ran in the first place.
“Even with tight budgets and situations beyond our regional control, we are still able to work together to meet the district's needs. Everyone has a common goal that is centered on the success of our students. There will always be work to do and tough decisions to get there. We just need to remain student-focused.”
When it comes to running for school board again, Mr. Fenlong said the following: “I enjoy being part of the change that can positively affect a child, but most of my motivation is seeing our students and staff succeed and providing reassurance and support toward that success.
“The district is reaching new heights and with all of the achievements, I believe their best days lie ahead. I want to be a part of accomplishing those goals. I definitely want to see the capital project finish and see the positive effects of the vision that went into it.
“I also want to remain a conduit for our education community to be sure information is flowing out to public and back to the school to create an open communication line for everyone.
“Public education is about caring, teaching and promoting education for all students. I intend to ensure we stay focused on those goals. I am proud to be a member of a group of dedicated volunteers.”
Mr. Fenlong was able to share a story of how being on the Board of Education has positively affected him, as well as others.
“There is always something, a story or memory that remains with me from my Board of Education experiences so far,” Mr. Fenlong said. “There truly are many. The one that sticks out the most is the rewarding smile. The smiles from the students, the teachers, administration or a parent as you witness their experiences from another angle.
“But I will have to say when I volunteered to read to an unknown group of fifth graders for an hour I was truly moved. Though difficult, I wanted to make an impact.
“A couple of weeks later I was at the school for the spring musical and as I was sitting down with my family, I heard a voice say, “Hi Mr. Fenlong.” A little voice. I don't hear this that often. I looked around and it was said again, a waving hand and smile joined in and I recognized the student from that day I read to the group of fifth graders. I smiled and graciously acknowledged him. He remembered me and I made an impact. It was all worth it.”
Roland Roderick is a very involved community member, parent and has been active in the military for the last 19 years, currently stationed at Fort Drum. He has been interested in being on the Board of Education, and is currently in the running.
“I would like to serve on the Gouverneur Central Board of Education because as a member of this community and a parent I have a vested interest in the success of our school district,” Mr. Roderick said. “I want my child and all of the children of GCSD to be able to get the highest quality education possible. I would like to maintain a good relationship between the Board and the community especially with all of the ongoing building projects taking place within the district.”
Mr. Roderick, originally from Maine, has been married to wife Bridget for 13 years and the pair, along with daughter Hannah, age 9, have resided in Gouverneur for the last nine years.
Mr. Roderick plans to retire from the military in June of 2018 and the family plans to continue to live in Gouverneur, of which Bridget is a native.
Mr. Roderick is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Gouverneur, a lifetime member of the VFW in Gouverneur and a member of the American Legion Post in Maine.
The family enjoys sports and activities. Mr. Roderick serves in the summer as AYSO soccer coach. His daughter Hannah enjoys gymnastics, cheerleading, karate and AYSO soccer. They also enjoy traveling and visiting Maine, as well as the outdoors in general.
James Delity, who was active in the United States Army for 24 years as a Chief Warrant Officer Five, is now retired and currently residing in Gouverneur with his family, including wife Heather, the Middle School STEM teacher at Gouverneur Central.
Mr. Delity currently works as a Training Center Manager on Fort Drum.
“I enjoy serving in volunteer and community roles,” said Mr. Delity.
Mr. Delity is currently the President of the Board for Fowler Baptist Church and volunteers ten to fifteen hours a week at the Fort Drum USO.
The pair have two sons, Stefan, a freshman at Gouverneur High School, and Evan, a recent graduate of Baylor University with a Masters of Divinity and is currently serving as a pastor in Temple Texas.
“Both of my sons have very different interests, strengths and weaknesses, but both have shared a desire for the best education that could possibly for the best education that could be provided to them,” Mr. Delity said. “They inspire me to participate in any way I can to improve their educational opportunities, as well as the opportunities of all the students of Gouverneur.
“I believe that serving on the Gouverneur Central School Board is the greatest way to accomplish this goal. I believe that it is an investment into the future of Gouverneur and its students.
“As part of a military family, our sons have attended schools in several states and overseas. While that presented wonderful opportunities for our sons, what our family missed was a lasting community in which to join. My wife and I are very happy to get to settle in a place like Gouverneur, where we will be able to build lasting, meaningful relationships with people in the community. We are proud and honored to call Gouverneur home.”