$ID/[None]0000LightBlue@text1:A field of six challengers are vying for two open seats on the Niagara Falls Board of Education on Tuesday.
Polls are open noon to 9 p.m on Tuesday.
Here are bios from each candidate as provided by the Niagara Falls School District. In some cases, they have been edited for content or space restrictions.
• BRUCE E. BRUNDIDGE: He was born in and still resides in the city of Niagara Falls. He is married to Dorothy Brundidge and they have a daughter, Shereta and a grandson Willie III.
Brundidge is a graduate of St. Lawrence University where he earned a Bachelors of Arts degree and was a member of the basketball team. He also attended Niagara University where he received a Master of Science Degree in Education and a Professional Diploma with specialization in School Counseling.
He is a retired employee of the Niagara Falls School District, providing 34 years of service as a school counselor. He has also served as a boy’s basketball coach at the middle, freshmen, and junior varsity and varsity levels. He was the first individual at Niagara Falls High School to serve as coordinator for the college readiness program with Niagara University known as Big Eagle/Little Eagle.
He is a member of the following organizations: Deacon Fellowship of Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls Chapter of the NAACP. LaSalle Sportsmen’s Club Inc. As a member of New Hope Baptist Church he serves on the Board of Deacons, Usher Board and serves as church treasure where he oversees the financial operations for the church. He is a past Board Member of the former Family YMCA and Niagara Community Center and Girls Club INC.
• CLARA DUNN: A native of Niagara Falls, she worked for the city’s Department of Economic Development as Minority Business/Grant Coordinator for over 25 years.
She graduated from LaSalle Senior High School and went on to pursue an education in business administration from NCCC, along with a certificate of education in Management Development for Women from D’Youville College.
Clara currently, is a board member of the NFC Development Corporation and served faithfully on several community organizations such as:
N.F. Human Rights Commission; Occupation Educational Advisory Council for the N.F. School Board and School Quality Council for Maple Avenue School.
In addition to what she called her unwavering commitment to our community, Dunn is passionate about playing a significant role in the lives of our children by providing solutions that will ensure equal opportunities in education that will prepare our children for the future while pursuing their dreams with a resolve to make our city the best it can be.
Clara strongly believes that if we invest in our community, it will richly give back to you and your family.
She and her husband Willie, are devoted parents and role models for their two children; Rashad, Erica and three grand children; Jaylen, Zariah and Morey.
• MICHAEL GAWEL: The former city councilman graduated from Niagara Falls High School as well as NIagara University and UB, where he graduated from the School of Law in 1984.
A lifetime resident of Niagara Falls, Gawel grew up on 27th Street. His parents Chester and Mary Gawel still live in the same home on 27th Street. Children Michael, Sarah and Patrick grew up in Niagara Falls. Married to Michelle Cloutier.
Gawel said he has a vested interest in the city as a long-term property owner and taxpayer, with home, commercial and rental property in Niagara Falls.
Gawel served on the Niagara Falls City Council from 1990 to 1993. He’s been a certified public accountant since 1980. He also served as president of Riverside Condo Association 2007 through 2016 and is the owner and president of Niagara Bookkeeping & Accounting.
• PAUL KUDELA: A life-long resident of Niagara Falls and a product of the Niagara Falls School District, he has attended Niagara Street Elementary, Gaskill Middle and the “Old” Niagara Falls High School. As a former teacher in the district and a current law enforcement officer for the Niagara Falls Police Department, he said he witnesses the daily struggles our students and teachers face.
“Many have asked why I am running for the School Board and what I wish to accomplish. Here is what I tell them:
“I am committed to bringing clinical mental health professionals to every school so that our students can cope with their very deep rooted and personal struggles.
“I am committed to bringing School Resource Officers to every school in the district so that parents can rest assured that their child is safe while at school.
“I am committed to bringing back a local based skilled trades program to provide professional development and entrepreneurial opportunities to students that wish to pursue a trades-based career.
I” am committed to be an advocate for our educators to ensure fair and equitable school district policies.
“I love Niagara Falls and the people that live here. I am a husband, a father, a detective and a business owner. I have qualities that are unique to the school board and I believe those qualities would serve the best interests of our students, teachers and taxpayers.”
He and his wife Danielle have a son, Ryan, a dog Maglie and live in DeVeaux.
• VINCENT ORSI: He has served his country and local community for the past 19-plus years as a U.S. Navy veteran and Niagara Falls firefighter. He is a graduate of Niagara University, with a bachelors degree in International Business. He is husband to Ashley and father to two beautiASSET_IS_LOCKEDTRUEnexus.model.Asset:assignedTo361nexus.model.Asset:creator361nexus.model.Asset:currentVersionNumber2nexus.model.Asset:fileCreatedDateMay 19, 2019 6:36:49 PMnexus.model.Asset:lastContentChangeDateMay 19, 2019 6:54:59 PMnexus.model.Asset:lastModifiedDateMay 19, 2019 6:54:58 PMnexus.model.Asset:status2nexus.model.Asset:tagCaptionnexus.model.Asset:titleNIA Orsinexus.model.Asset:type1nexus.model.Asset:workflowId7nexus.model.Asset:workflowStage3nexus.model.AssetStory:abstractVincent Orsinexus.model.IssueInfo:publication27nexus.model.IssueInfo:publicationDateMay 20, 2019 12:00:00 AMnexus.model.IssueInfo:publicationZone26nexus.model.Version:binaryFileMD5HashSOf1uyNgMswLUKV2qlMk2Q==nexus.model.Version:fileExtensionxtgnexus.model.Version:lastEditedBy361nexus.model.Version:mimeTypeimage/jpegnexus.model.Version:textFileMD5HashiFmPugntQO8bW4iNZb63/A==nexus.model.Version:versionNumber2ful young girls, Abigail and Vailyn, both of whom are students in the District.
Vincent said he has spent considerable time volunteering to help less fortunate children in his community. He is currently serving his 10th year as the toy purchasing and distribution chair for the Niagara Falls Firefighters Christmas Toy Fund. Vincent has also served on the scholarship committee of the Niagara Falls Uniformed Fire Fighters Association over the past decade, awarding scholarships to high school seniors, mostly from Niagara Falls High School.
Vincent is focused on empowering teachers, inspiring students, and educating families in an effort to positively affect the social and educational development of our children. He is passionate about proactively addressing short-term and developing long-term resolutions to child safety.
• BARBARA RODGERS: She said it’s time we put educators back in charge of education. “2I’m a product of this district, took my first professional job in August 1980, and retired in 2015 from NFHS. Once a teacher, always a teacher.
I’m laserfocused on providing your children with a world-class, sound educational experience, not one based on the latest trends. Good, old-fashioned teaching. To do that, we must lobby our elected state officials to introduce legislation in Albany to rectify the discrepancies in the Foundation Aid formulas which hurt your children. A “sound basic education” looks much different in richer districts.
As a district, we must regain control of the skilled trades curriculum, by inviting the local labor unions to the table, and starting students on this track in 9th grade. I’m concerned about the safety of everyone in every building. We need to be proactive, by adding more safety and resource officers, installing bullet resistant film on first floor windows, and alarms when doors are propped open.
• NICK VILARDO: Retired from the Niagara Falls vffFire Department after 34 years of service; 12 as a captain; 12 as Battalion Chief and six as the Chief of Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement. He conducted school safety inspections and was active in J-FIRE, a juvenile fire intervention education program. Vilardo is a Niagara Falls High School graduate with business coursework at Niagara County Community College, Bryant and Stratton and the New York State Fire Academy. Vilardo and his wife Barbara have two children: Michael, who graduated from LaSalle Prep School and Canisius College and holds a master’s degree in education from Niagara University; and Maria, a graduate of Fredonia and Niagara Falls High School. Maria holds master’s degree in higher education administration from Buffalo State College. Vilardo also has one grandchild, Miranda. He served on the Family YMCA Board and the Board of New York State Fire Investigators. In addition to working on school safety issues, Vilardo wants to emphasize early reading programs, 3 and 4 year old preschool programs and achieving a 100% graduation rate.
Vilardo also coached girls little league baseball for LaSalle Prep and coached a travel softball team for girls age 16 and under.@photoCutline:Vincent Orsi