Supporting Shir Filler for school board

To the editor:

I am writing in support of the candidacy of Shir Filler for a position on the Saranac Lake Central School Board. Why? Because I firmly believe Shir would be a first class addition to the school board, and an asset to the community.

I have known Shir Filler for 12 years. She is one of the most thoughtful, sincere, and articulate people I have ever met. Shir has a Bachelor of Arts degree from MIT, and a Masters of Arts from NYU. She presently is Associate Professor of English with NCCC, where she has served since 1998. Shir is an experienced, committed educator who would like to be given the opportunity to put some of her ideas to work for the betterment of the Saranac Lake School District. She and her husband have a daughter in 4th grade at Bloomingdale Elementary School, and have been actively involved district-wide in promoting parent initiatives aimed at positive educational change. In short, Shir has already worked with numerous parents, staff, and elected officials in the District and would bring a parent’s perspective to the Board as well.

As a frequent attendant at school board meetings, Shir has often come away with the feeling that the District is suffering from, as she puts it, “death by a thousand paper cuts.” When the time comes to address the District’s annual budget, the usual approach is to cut a position or two here, or a program or two there, and, painful as that may be, the problem is solved. That is, at least until the following year, when the process of “cutting” typically starts all over again.

Shir believes it is time to start thinking out of the box. To that end, she wants to bring together teachers, administrators, parents, and community members to “re-imagine” how we go about the business of educating our children. She believes that one way to do this is by looking at what innovative schools statewide, nationwide, and worldwide are doing, and to adopt some of their methods here. Shir believes that we can, in fact, give students a sound education for less money, but that we can’t achieve this simply by continuing to cut positions and programs. In short, Shir wants us to have a new and different conversation about the education of our children.

Let’s give Shir a chance to jump-start that conversation by electing her to the Saranac Lake School Board.

Joe Mercurio

Saranac Lake