CORTLANDT, N.Y. -- Joshua Diamond is one of five candidates running for two open seats on the Croton-Harmon Board of Education.
The 46-year-old has lived in the Croton-Harmon school district since 2001. Diamond has two sons in Croton schools – a 6th grader at Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School and an 11th grader at Croton-Harmon High School.
Diamond was born in Baltimore, Maryland, attended the Beth Tfiloh Day School, and later, Pikesville High School. He studied at the University of Rochester, earning a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, with an additional concentration in Theater Arts.
He has spent most of hiscareer doing software development and managing IT teams at various firms in the investment industry. Most recently he is at UBS Securities, where he manages a team which develops software supporting equity options market making.
Apart from his professional career, he chaired the education committee at Congregation Sons of Israel (prior to its merger with 1stHebrew Congregation of Peekskill), setting educational policy and hiring faculty. After the merger, he became a trustee of Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff Manor – a much larger institution, involving not only the synagogue and its physical plant, but also a K-12 religious school, a nursery school and a summer camp program (http://csibriarcliff.org).
Additionally, he is a member of the board of trustees of Destination Imagination of New York (http://www.nydi.org), a not-for-profit organization providing educational program.
Why did you choose to run for the board of education this year?
I believe that we must support each and every child with an education appropriate to their talents, needs, desires and aspirations. Beyond providing basic knowledge, we must teach them to be creative problem solvers, effective team members, compassionate friends, and critical thinkers. We must build in them a foundation for strong careers that will allow them to affect their families, community, nation, and the world for good.
Given the crosswinds of external mandates and limited funding buffeting our district, now is the time to get involved. There is much at stake, and I stand ready to meet the challenge.
What issues in particular would you like see addressed?
The common core standards have advantages, in that they set challenging goals, but compliance is expensive, and heavy reliance on tests can have undesired effects. Are we failing our kids in our excessive focus on testing?
Careful attention should be paid to non-educational and administrative areas in which expenses could be reduced, improving our budget situation.
The school board must become a more effective check and balance, insisting that new programs are tested before widespread adoption. It must ensure greater transparency; so that parents know what is going on with their kids, and taxpayers understand how their dollars are spent.
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