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  7. Reminder: Meet the Candidates...

Reminder: The Averill Park Central School District invites residents to hear from the candidates running for the Board of Education during a Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:00 PM. On the same night, the District will hold a Budget Hearing at 6:30 PM and a Board of Education Meeting at 7:45 PM. The community is invited to attend all of these events.

There are three (3) candidates seeking two (2) open seats on the Board of Education this year. Each carries a new three-year term beginning July 1, 2024.


Candidates and their biographies (in order listed on the ballot as determined by a random drawing):

Thomas Cooley: 

I’m a 35-year resident of Averill Park School District, married to Christine (Castle) with three now adult children.   All of our children were educated in the Averill Park Central School District from Poestenkill Elementary through Averill Park High School.  I know the system well as an involved parent.

Professionally, I’m a Senior Manager at Philips Medical Systems in Latham, certified as an ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt, and have over 40 years of experience in engineering, large capital project management, and spending waste elimination.  I’m also certified as a Lean Manufacturing professional.  

Regarding my experience within educational environments, I hold a master’s level coach certification through USA Hockey and 12 years of experience coaching at RPI where I was honored by the Student Association with an ”Honorary Phalanx” award for contributions to the student experience.  

I’m incredibly proud of my children and the education that APCSD afforded them.  They have grown to become contributing members of society, and most importantly, wonderful parents.  

As a board member, I would carefully listen to the many stakeholders of our school system, ensuring that we protect the interests of the students, parents, teachers and employees by focusing our tax dollars where value is added and applying proper logic and business acumen. My goal is to put my experience as a parent, coach, and professional to work serving our school district through cost management while creating a values-based environment that leads to the best outcomes for our future.


Jessica Zweig:

I am pleased, once again, to be a candidate for the Averill Park Central School Board of Education. I am proud the district continues to diligently work at “meeting the needs of and creating opportunities for every student every day”.  Recognizing that resources and state-imposed mandates will continue to be a challenge, I remain committed to addressing these challenges using my strengths of careful research, review of the facts and data, and consideration of constructive input from the community.  Our students are our future and they deserve to have sustainable opportunities for their individual growth and achievement.  With 15 years of Board experience, I am still invested in the success of our District and will continue to collaborate with respectful input, productive dialog, and creative thinking to prepare our students for their futures, including college and career success.  

Lauren Jacobs:

I am a parent of two children in the district and have lived in West Sand Lake for almost 10 years. Professionally, I am a clinical social worker and have had first-hand experience supporting the social welfare needs of kids and families and navigating the special education system. I’m running for this position as I think my personal and professional experience would make me a useful team member to the school board as we move through the work of supporting our district with the unique challenges to the development and education of this current generation. My experiences as an educator and a therapist will also be an asset in bridging communication and understanding when our community needs to make decisions that are difficult and require collaboration from multiple viewpoints. Aside from being a small business owner, and carting our kids to sports, music, and arts events, I keep myself busy with gardening, yoga, and art. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the community in this position.

The Meet the Candidates Night will include a question-and-answer period. To submit a question, email submitquestions@apcsd.org by 8 AM on Sunday, May 5. Questions should be general and addressed to all candidates. Due to time constraints, all questions may not be answered. The District may compile and edit questions based on popular themes.