I am writing to publicly add my support for Irin Israel in the upcoming Scarsdale School Board election.

I am the product of Scarsdale public schools, and I have one child at Heathcote and one child at Scarsdale Middle School. I care deeply about the schools. I also am a corporate governance expert, and part of my job involves advising board members and senior management on corporate governance best practices.

What is missing from our current board is a culture of candor — and this is critical for a well-functioning board. A board must be willing to seek out and share information — even when it is disappointing, complicated or contentious — and then challenge one another’s conclusions coherently.

I believe Irin Israel is the right candidate to provide this candor to our school board. I believe he can improve transparency and provide stronger oversight by speaking up and asking the right questions. I have known Irin within the community for many years but, over the course of this year, he has gained my trust and respect. At the school board meetings that I have listened to, I could always count on Irin to ask the important questions.

When his questions were seemingly deflected by our board and senior administration — similar to my own experience — he did not give up. Instead, he continued to independently research the issues and engaged the community over email and social media. He worked tirelessly to understand the rules applicable to our schools, locate architectural plans and come up with a workable solution to get all of K-5 students into school at 6 feet apart. I know there have been counter-arguments to some of his proposals (and I am not qualified to resolve them), but I have no doubt that he contributed greatly to the dialogue, pushed us to think outside the box and generated concrete proposals and potential solutions for the benefit of the entire community.

I have great respect for our board of education and recognize the magnitude of the challenge this pandemic posed. However, I think the overall process has caused unnecessary divisions within our district through its failure to publicly respond to valid questions and a general lack of transparency. I believe Irin Israel is the right person to join the board and help move us past these issues. Irin is inclusive, open-minded, goal-oriented and hard working. I believe he will go the extra mile for our children.

I hope you join me and the many others who enthusiastically support his candidacy.

Jennifer Meschewski

Richbell Road

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