POUGHKEEPSIE – Voters in the Poughkeepsie City School District will select two candidates to fill expiring terms on the board during a mail-in election being held on June. Three candidates have declared their candidacy; incumbent Debra Long whose term expires at the end of June, Robert (Bob) Creedon, the district’s crew coach, and former City Court Judge Thomas O’Neill.
The two open seats are due to the expiration of the terms of Debra Long and Doreen Clifford. The successful two candidates will each be appointed to a three-year term, beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2023.
Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis, Governor Cuomo ordered school districts to hold their annual elections on June 9, 2020, solely via absentee ballot, and further eliminated the requirement that candidates for the Board of Education obtain 100 signatures on their nominating petitions in order to be placed on the ballot.
The Executive Order issued by Cuomo directed the district to accept any nominating petition that contained the name and address of a qualified candidate for the Board of Education.
Based on the new timelines set by the Governor, the District accepted all petitions that were filed on behalf of all qualified candidates in the office of the District Clerk before 5:00 p.m. on May 11, 2020. When the ballots are mailed to qualified voters, the candidates’ names will appear in alphabetical order.
Thomas O’Neill is a lifelong resident of Poughkeepsie. Both of his children attended Poughkeepsie schools. O’Neill served as a City of Poughkeepsie Councilman as well as other service positions. He also served as a City of Poughkeepsie Court Judge. He currently serves as the Administrator of the Dutchess County Assigned Counsel Program. “I believe our School District is the very heart and soul of this city and its success or failure has far-reaching consequences, not only for our children but the local economy and real estate market as well,” said O’Neill, adding ” I love this city and its people, and I am hoping my experience, intelligence, integrity and problem-solving abilities can be utilized to make a real difference in our community.” On July 24, 2019, O’Neill was one of the leaders that welcomed Dr. Eric Rosser as the district’s new superintendent. In his remarks, the retired judge said “He comes to the city at a time when we don’t just need a superintendent but we need a hero. We need someone who will stand on the tracks and do the right thing each and every day.”
Incumbent Debra Long was raised in Dutchess County, moving to Poughkeepsie at the age of 7 and is a graduate of both Poughkeepsie High School and Dutchess Community College. Long also attended upward bound for three years.
As a single parent working full-time, Long says she managed to return to school and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Marist College, followed by three Master’s Degrees, two from Mercy College, and one from Concordia University-Portland. She is currently a Doctoral candidate (ABD), in preparation for Dissertation Completeness, PhD in Human & Social Services at Walden University, and is also pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Education in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis in Adult Learning at Grand Canyon University.
Incumbent Long has held different director positions throughout the Hudson Valley, including currently serving as Vice-President of the Board of Education. Ms. Long says she is running again because she believes that her education, personal goals, and self-efficacy all emerge as important variables contributing to her ability to help the District be successful.
Robert (Bob) Creedon graduated from Marist College in 1974 and has made the City of Poughkeepsie his home for over 35 years. All four of his children are third generation Poughkeepsie City School District students.
Mr. Creedon served as the tenant relations assistance for the Poughkeepsie Housing Authority before starting a 30-year career at IBM. Upon retiring, he has been working part-time in his family business. He has served as the Crew coach for Poughkeepsie City School District since 1982. Creedon previously served one term on the school board and said he is running again “Because the people and schools I love are in a fight of this generation. The Poughkeepsie School District has to reimagine themselves.”