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F-M BOE candidates speak

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education; election day is May 20.

Mike Masse and John Cucinotta are seeking re-election; Valerie Clarke and Debi Belanger are seeking their first term.

Read each candidate's position below:

Debi Belanger

Community involvement:

I am currently co-president of the HSA at Wellwood. I am also a parent volunteer at F-M High School, Talk the Talk Toastmasters treasurer, a Merit Badge counselor for Boy Scout Troop 51, a member of F-M Safe, Smart and Sober Committee, and a board member of the Syracuse Opera. My past volunteer work includes a parent volunteer at Fayetteville Elementary, Syracuse Stage Guild Board, a member of Junior League of Syracuse and volunteering at Eastern Hills Bible Church.

Why are you running for the BOE?

I believe passionately that all our children deserve the best public education available. In order to achieve this, we must ensure that our district embraces a sense of balance and encourages students to aspire to become well-rounded, competent and caring members of the community.

We must focus on continuous improvement in our ability to equip students to meet ever-growing challenges in the world, even as today's trends continually make that world seem smaller. We have a responsibility to improve our awareness of diverse learning styles so that we are doing our best to stimulate and challenge students of all levels. Everyone has the ability to make a difference and the right to be both heard and respected. Feedback should be welcomed and recognized as a chance for growth and improvement.

We must carefully and proactively allocate resources, keeping a sharp focus on our mission and listening to those on the front lines while constantly demonstrating and improving fiscal responsibility to the residents of our district.

I have participated as a parent and volunteer in partnership with my children's teachers and administrators in the district for the last 11 years and plan to continue that privilege until our youngest son graduates in 2014. If given the opportunity by the district's voters, I believe that I can truly make a difference in helping the F-M school board accomplish its mission with a focus on partnership with and accountability to all district residents.

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