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Meet The Irvington School Board Candidate: Seth Oster

Seth Oster is running for a seat on the Irvington Board of Education.
Seth Oster is running for a seat on the Irvington Board of Education. Photo Credit: Submitted

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- School board elections are coming up on May 21, and The Daily Voice wants to highlight candidates running for the Irvington Board of Education.

Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the Irvington Board of Education: incumbent Robert Grados, John Montgomery, Seth Oster and David Graeber.

Check back as Election Day draws closer to see more candidate questionnaires. See previous questionnaires from John Montgomery and Robert Grados.

Seth Oster has been an Irvington resident since 2011. He currently works as the chief communications officer for KPMG, having previously worked as a presidential appointee at the EPA, deputy national executive director of communications at the Screen Actors Guild and executive vice president and chief communications officer at the Motion Picture Association of America. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Bright Star Schools in Los Angeles. Oster has children at Dows Lane Elementary and the Main Street School.

What qualifies you to be a school board member? I am running for Irvington School Board as the parent of young children in Dows Lane and Main Street schools, because I want to ensure that our district remains strong and successful for our students and our community.  I believe strongly in public education and the important role it plays in our community.  Today, there is nothing more important than preparing our children for a 21st Century world that offers both tremendous opportunities and great challenges.

I have been dedicated to public service throughout my life.  For more than 20 years, I have been a senior corporate communications executive, both within the public and private sectors.  I was a longtime entertainment industry executive and today am Chief Communications Officer for the global company, KPMG.  I’ve worked in the U.S. Senate as an aide to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and, most recently, as a presidential appointee in the Obama administration.  I’ve been Chairman of the Board of Directors of one of the most successful and highest performing school organizations in Los Angeles, which today serves nearly 2,000 inner city students in multiple schools.  I’ve managed organizations, larges staffs and multi-million dollar budgets.  I will put all that experience to work for our schools and our community.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? There are critical issues facing Irvington’s schools.  We must keep our taxes under control and as low as possible, while ensuring our educational programs remain among the best in Westchester.  We must confront the issue of unfunded mandates—which have a disproportionate impact on smaller communities like ours—by being proactive at the State level and using the power of a well-respected and prominent community to have an impact on policy debates.  Our board must be transparent in its work and engage our community, in order to encourage greater participation and attendance at board meetings.  Finally, we must pass the proposed budget.

I grew up in the New York public school system.  My family and I have lived in Irvington since December 2011 and I’ve watched our schools perform up close.  I am committed to being an independent voice for the community and stand for good governance and a strong and stable board.  Irvington’s schools are strong.  I will use my extensive and broad experience to help keep them that way.

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