An overview of serving as a Board of Education member

The Menands Union Free School District Board of Education is made up of five volunteer citizens who are each elected on the third Tuesday in May each year to serve four-year terms. 

This year there is one seat up for election. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes will fill a full term of four (4) years commencing July 1, 2024 and expiring on June 30, 2028.

A school board member takes on one of the most important citizen responsibilities: overseeing the education of the community’s youth. School boards are composed of volunteers within the community who dedicate their time to better public education. The Board of Education oversees and manages the community’s public school system. It ensures the public schools are flexible and responsive to the needs of the community. Election to the Board of Education is an extremely important responsibility.


In order to qualify to run for a seat on the Board of Education, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be able to read and write.
  • Must be a qualified voter of the District:
    • You are a citizen of the United States
    • You are at least 18 years of age
    • You are not adjudged by a Court to be mentally incompetent
    • You are not a convicted felon (Election Law 2012, Section 5-106)
  • Must be and have been a resident of the Menands Union Free School District for a continuous and uninterrupted period of at least one year immediately before the election.
  • Must live in the Menands Union Free School District.
  • Cannot be employed by the Board on which they will serve or live in the same household with a family member who is also a member of the same school board.


Qualified residents who are interested in running for the Board of Education may contact our District Clerk, Trish O’Connell, at Nominating petitions must include signatures of 25 qualified voters who reside in the district.


Although the legal requirements for becoming a board member in New York State are not difficult, possessing the characteristics that make someone a functioning and productive member of a legislative body is very important. According to the New York State School Boards Association, the following attributes are helpful:

  • Effective Communicator – Can describe what he or she wants and describe what others want; a good listener.
  • Consensus Builder – Capable of working toward decisions that all can support and willing to compromise to achieve that goal.
  • Community Participant – Enjoys meeting a variety of people, can identify the community’s key communicators and reaches out to fellow citizens.
  • Decision Maker – Knows his or her own decision-making style and that of others, supports group decision-making.
  • Information Processor – Can organize priorities and schedules to handle large quantities of verbal and written information.
  • Leader – Willing to take risks, supportive of board colleagues, district staff and community.
  • Team Player – Helps promote the board’s vision and goals.


The Board of Education usually meets once per month, on the second Monday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. From time to time, additional special meetings or study sessions may be scheduled, such as during budget development. Consistent board member attendance at meetings is important.


All newly elected board members are required by New York State Law to participate in fiscal oversight and governance skills training. Board members have one year to complete this training and generally have the option of attending a full day, two part-days, or participating online to fulfill this requirement. There is no cost to the board members for this training.


  • Annually evaluate the performance of the superintendent
  • Participate in and help establish goals and initiatives for the school district regarding student and district performance and ways to measure and monitor progress
  • Help formulate and support a shared vision of the school district
  • Provide oversight of fiscal management, documentation and adequate fiscal security and integrity
  • Review, develop and adopt the annual budget
  • Regularly review, update and adopt Board policies that help guide the school district
  • Adequately review and prepare in advance for each Board meeting
  • Notify and direct all questions and concerns about the school district to the superintendent
  • Continuously read, study and understand the many aspects of public schools.
  • Participate in confidential discussions regarding staffing and students and maintain confidentiality at all times
  • Attend school events and evening activities to best understand the district and needs
  • Demonstrate integrity and a high degree of ethics


Anyone interested in running for a Board of Education seat is encouraged to contact our district clerk or the superintendent for more information. 

Trish O’Connell | District Clerk |

Jennifer Cannavo | Superintendent | 

More information is also available on the New York State School Boards Association website.