Three newcomers will be vying for seats on the School Board in the Suffern Central School District, May 15. The importance of school board positions has become manifestly clear to the residents of the East Ramapo Central School District, and Suffern voters should pay attention to this election and get out and vote.
Here are the candidates—their experience and thoughts on the election:
BIO for Melissa B. Reimer
Graduated from University of San Diego with a 4.0 GPA overall.
Certified Public Accountant
Supervisor of Fiscal Services at the Town of Ramapo
Worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Known as the “Town of Ramapo Whistleblower.”
Has lived in the district for 21 years.
Mother of two children
Member of the AICPA
Member of Government Finance Officers’ Association
Rockland County Notary Public
Attends Chabad of Suffern
Elected Positions Held:
Why are you running?
The Suffern Central School District faces critical challenges, most notably declining student enrollment. As a result, government funding has been reduced. I have watched my two children go from kindergarten to high school in this amazing school district. I am grateful to SCSD for the top-notch education that my children received. I want to ensure that future generations of students are offered the same.
In elementary school, it was discovered that I had a learning disability. I felt inferior to my peers. As a board member, I will foster an environment that will help each child reach their potential, especially the children that differ from the norm. Every child deserves the best education.
I look forward to working with the amazing faculty, staff, parents and students in order to accomplish these goals.
DONALD W. CAIRNS
Suffern, NY 10901
1964-1966: University of Maryland, College Park, MD M.A. Degree – History.
1960-1964: Rider College, Trenton NJ B.A. Degree – History.
1999-2017: Executive Director, Rockland Community College Foundation.
1967-1998: Director, Town of Ramapo Parks & Recreation Teen Center Program and
Coordinator of Parks & Recreation Summer Playground Programs.
1966-1999: Social Studies Teacher, East Ramapo School District Spring Valley, NY.
1982-1994: Coordinator of Blood Drives at Ramapo High School.
1986-2007: Chair of Ramapo High School Children of Chernobyl Project.
1972-2007: Organized student tours to the former Soviet Union/Russia/Belarus.
1972-1982: Chairman of the Village of Suffern Recreation Committee.
- Raised over $25 million in humanitarian aid for the Ramapo Children of Chernobyl Project.
- Coordinated East Ramapo blood drive program, collecting over 1,000 pints annually.
- Raised over $5,000 for the Save the Children African Relief Program.
- Raised over $2,000 for March of Dimes Project.
- Implemented and chaired three scholarship awards.
- Coordinated Naturalization Ceremony.
- Coordinated “Fore the Children Golf Tournament.”
- Coordinated “Taste of Rockland” Chernobyl Fund-Raising Programs.
- Increased scholarships at Rockland Community College from 75 to over 150.
- Initiated Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon.
- Coordinated annual Rockland Community College golf outing.
- Raised millions of dollars on behalf of Rockland Community College.
AWARDS & HONORS
2017: United Nations honoree for humanitarian aid to the former Soviet Union/Russia/Belarus.
2011: Rockland Development Council, Sr. Peggy Scaranno Award – Outstanding Fundraising Professional.
2001: Class Leader of Leadership Rockland.
1998: Francis Skaryna Medal, awarded by the government of Belarus.
1998: Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Molloy College for humanitarian endeavors.
1998: Knights of Pythias Humanitarian Award.
1991: United Nations Certificate of Appreciation.
1985: Rockland County Youth Bureau Youth Service Award.
Airmont New York
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: Graduated from Suffern High School and received a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Administration from St. John’s University. Went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an advanced certificate in police leadership from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
PROFESSION: Retired. Previous positions include Narcotics Detective with the New York City Police Department, and Deputy Sheriff with the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department.
RESIDENT: Born and raised in Suffern
FAMILY: Married to Amy (also a Suffern High School graduate), with three sons, Angus, grade 6, James, grade 4, and Rory, kindergarten, all in the Suffern Central Schools
COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: Has served as a volunteer football coach for Suffern Midget Mounties, Ramapo PAL Flag Football and Suffern Middle School Football. Has served as Treasurer of the Cherry Lane PTA.
ELECTED POSITIONS HELD: Union Delegate, New York City Police Department Detectives Endowment Association
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING? My youngest son, who is third generation Suffern Central Schools, entered Kindergarten in the fall. My wife and I are products of the Suffern Central Schools, as were our fathers. There is nothing like the education and experience of attending the schools in Suffern Central. I want to ensure that the experience that my family has enjoyed will be enhanced for future generations. I would like to work collaboratively with experienced board members to expand and improve special education services for our students, maintain the district’s high level of education by increasing the use of new technologies in classrooms and to achieve optimal results for our students.