The Scarsdale League of Women Voters President Leah Dembitzer and her colleagues made history Sunday, May 31. For the first time in Scarsdale’s history, Ms. Dembitzer and her colleagues held a candidate forum online using the Zoom platform without glitches. They showed us that democracy and civic engagement in Scarsdale can thrive, even in a pandemic.

Several weeks ago, I leaned in to run for trustee of the Scarsdale Board of Education during the most significant recession since the Great Depression.

Why? While I am not a scientist, once I had enough information from that field I realized that our economy would be devasted. While deciding to run as an independent candidate in the middle of a pandemic may not rank as everyone’s favorite pastime, I realized that if I did not lean in now, when would I do so? My whole life has been about living in uncertainty, overcoming adversity, and identifying, measuring and solving risks. 

In the coming months and years, our Scarsdale community must find solutions for the following three challenges:

How will adults support our children’s academic and wellness development, when parents, teachers, administrators, janitors, bus drivers and caretakers may be enduring health problems, income declines or even the death of a loved one?

Will the school district’s curriculum development, safety, capital projects and maintenance, and long-term financial plans be redesigned, because the world has changed?

How will we integrate empty nesters into our school community?

I started volunteering while I was in elementary school, teaching English to preschoolers, later to immigrants and to Soviet Jewish émigrés. My husband, Brice, and I have full-time careers. Our son and daughter at Fox Meadow School are navigating the joys and challenges of e-learning. I have engaged Scarsdale residents to create reports about school budgets, long-term financial planning, global education, world languages and traffic safety.

For 25 years, I have had national security and background checks to work for government and financial clients who repeatedly hire me. I have consulted many clients during the Mexican, Asian, Russian, technology, and 2008-09 financial crises. In Scarsdale, I am vetted by the people with whom I volunteer in multicultural and education committees.

The pandemic crisis is so overwhelming that a lot of the world is looking inward, but Scarsdale children’s future challenges know no borders. In Scarsdale, we will be reimagining what a world-class education can be. I believe our students must be leaders in global economic, education, and public health initiatives, and they must lead to end centuries of racism and marginalization of those less fortunate. To me non sibi, not for oneself, is teaching our children that non sibi really means helping anyone here in Scarsdale, in a nearby town, or even in another country. I believe in teaching our children gratitude, because there are millions of people around the world who cannot even imagine, much less have, such a great school system like we do.

Please come join me in this vision.


Trustee candidate

Scarsdale Board of Education

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