PTA ELECTION REMINDER
Date: Wednesday, May 17th 8:40am
Location: PS/IS 217 Cafeteria
Introducing the nominees for the 2017-18 PS/IS PTA Executive Board:
Nominee for President: Erin Olavesen
This year I have two children enrolled at PS/IS 217, Freddie in 2nd grade and Hans in Kindergarten. I served as PTA president this year, 2016-17. I have enjoyed working with our 217 community and representing our school. In my time at 217 I have seen tremendous growth and I look forward to being part of this continued journey.
Joint Nominees for Secretary: Taryn Merkl & Kelly Turner
My name is Taryn Merkl and I am running for Co-Secretary. I have two children at 217 - a rising 1st grader (Xia Torrance) and a rising 4th grader (Zev Torrance). I have been involved in the PTA since Zev's K year, when I served as the Class Parent Liaison and as a class parent. After that, I served as PTA Treasurer from 2014-2016 and Vice-President from 2016-2017. As VP this past year, I have been the primary individual responsible for the PTA's email communications - including the weekly e-newsletter Hawks' Happenings, emails from the PTA, email blasts, and various other written correspondence. In addition, I have worked daily to assist the President, Treasurer & Newsletter Officer in the day-to-day operations of the PTA, as well as helping many of our event chairs in the promotion, planning and management of PTA events. I have also served as the PTA's Silent Auction Chairperson since the 2014 Silent Auction; the Auction has consistently raised substantial funds for our school's enrichment programs. It has been an honor to serve on the PTA Executive Board for the last 4 years. During my time on the board, I pushed hard to reopen the school library, while also building strong relationships of trust with the administration, teachers and staff. We have also worked to increase family engagement opportunities at 217, and to improve communications between families and the school. I would like to continue the progress we have made, while also hosting fun events and working to ensure that we are able to raise sufficient funds to support 217's rich and diverse enrichment programs. Thank you in advance for your vote!
Kelly Turner is the mother of three PS/IS 217 students spanning pre-K to 2nd grades. She is also a freelance editor, as well as Managing Editor of the Main Street WIRE, Roosevelt Island’s community newspaper.
Joint Nominees for Treasurer: Jenny Bartlett & Ben Torrance
My name is Jenny Bartlett, and my son Alex Jena is currently in 1st Grade. This is our third year at the school, my third year as a class parent, and my first year as a Learning Leader assisting in a fifth grade math class. I look forward to continuing my service to the school as PTA Treasurer. I anticipate the PTA will continue to improve its fundraising capacity as it has done over the past several years, thus continuing its excellence in providing 217 with crucial additions to its curriculum. These PTA additions are a large part of what make 217 uniquely valuable, and I am excited to join the PTA leadership to help provide these opportunities for our children.
My name is Ben Torrance. I am currently PTA Treasurer and on the School Leadership Team, and am running for reelection to both positions. My two children will be in 1st grade and 4th grade next year. It's been an honor to serve the parents and teachers of our school community. Over the four years I've been involved in the school, the PTA has made huge progress. We contribute more to the school than ever before ---more enrichments, more programs, more events, more involvement. The officers of the recent PTA boards have put in an enormous amount of work and built a strong relationship with the school's administration to achieve all this. I hope to serve another term on the board to help the PTA continue to build on that progress. As Treasurer, it's been my responsibility to keep income and expenses regular and transparent, and to complete the organization's reporting and tax returns; I also have begun to modernize our financial systems, a project I hope to continue and complete in the coming year. As an SLT parent representative, I have worked to build bridges between the administration and the PTA, in particular to help clarify school policies, reform SLT procedures, and improve parent-school communication. For both positions, I hope to have your support for a new term. Thanks very much.
Joint Nominees for Vice President: Dimaura Cole & Will Sweeney
Dimaura Cole was born in Costa Rica and grew up on Roosevelt Island. She is the proud mother of Dakota H. 2nd grader and Dleanna H. 3rd grader. She is currently the PTA Co- Vice President. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from New York University. Dimaura has been a Flight Attendant for 17 years. In this role, she has traveled the world and been introduced to its different cultures. As an Airline Ambassador Dimaura had the opportunity to participate in the Medical Escort Program, escorting children for medical procedures and treatments. Dimaura is an active member of the Roosevelt Island community, where she is a soccer and basketball coach. She currently serves as Common Council Member and Housing Chair for the Roosevelt Island Residents Association. She is also the Troop Leader for the Brownie Girl Scouts, which has 23 members. The girls in this program made Valentines Day cards for patients at Coler Memorial Hospital. For Black History Month, the girls performed the Funga Alafia song and dance for the Roosevelt Island Seniors and Disabled Association. They also planted three Cherry Trees at the Lighthouse. Dimaura is a team player and has excellent interpersonal skills which helps parents feel welcome and included. Dimaura believes PS/IS 217 is a unique gem to our diverse community and its success depends on listening and acknowledging the concerns of parents and students alike. Dimaura believes that it’s critical to empower, encourage and engage parents in the school’s activities by creating opportunities for parents to support the school through volunteerism. She believes in respecting views and voicing the concerns of parents honestly regardless of how unpopular the issue may be. Last fall she introduced the First Talent Showcase which was a success. It was well received by parents and students. She organized the FREE movie nights. Her events don’t raise thousands of dollars but they are fun and create community building and inclusiveness. As a member of the School Leadership Team, Dimaura wants to continue to work proactively and collaboratively with the leadership and parents to elevate the experience at PS/IS 217. She is looking forward to another year of learning and growing.
Will Sweeney has two sons at 217. He is an active member of the PTA and helped oversee improving communications with families including redesigning the website and social media, establishing online calendars for parents, and rebranding school presentations. Will is deeply engaged with developing 217's relationship with Cornell Tech as the PTA liaison.
Nominee for Vice President of Membership: Josie Chamla
I am a new parent at PS IS 217 this year and have two children at our school. My family is multicultural, multiracial, and we’ve lived in several different countries including China, Uganda, New Zealand, and my home, Australia. With a background in community psychology and sponsorship recruitment, the position of Vice-President of Membership, with its focus on parent outreach and participation, feels like a great fit for me. There are so many ways for parents to get involved at 217 - whether it be baking cupcakes for a bake sale, assisting a teacher for an hour each week, finding a donation for auction, overseeing a game at the Fall Festival, attending a PTA meeting, selling pizza at a movie night, designing a flyer, or popping popcorn. I’d love the opportunity to assist and support more parents to be engaged and involved in any way that they're able. The more parents who join in, the stronger our school community becomes – and ALL our children benefit from that!
Nominee for Vice President of Public Relations and Events: Tracey de Benedictis
I was a member at large on the PTA Executive Board last year and chaired the Fall Festival event. For the past 12 years I have served on the Advisory Board of the non-profit Gotham Girls Roller Derby and I bring that experience to the PTA board. The PTA's work building community and funding enrichment programs for all of our students has been a big part of our family's positive experience at 217. I look forward to contributing to that work next year.
Nominees for Student Leadership Team (SLT):
All parents are eligible to hold office, unless they are an employee of this school. All parents and teachers are eligible to vote in the election unless they are supervisory staff (principals, assistant principals, and supervisors at this school).
All parents are eligible to become nominees. All parents are eligible to vote in the SLT election. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.