Board of Education candidates in your area

Budget and BOE vote on May 21

Grace Mercurio
Posted 5/16/24

East Islip

The district will be holding its annual budget vote and board of education election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Stephen Ruland - unopposed …

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Board of Education candidates in your area

Budget and BOE vote on May 21


East Islip

The district will be holding its annual budget vote and board of education election on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Stephen Ruland - unopposed incumbent

Ruland, who currently serves as vice president, is running for his second term on the board of education. Ruland is a lifelong resident of East Islip and a practicing attorney for over 34 years with an office in Islip. Prior to law school, he worked for the Planning Department for the Town of East Hampton. Ruland also served proudly in the Air National Guard for seven years being honorably discharged with the rank of staff sergeant.

Ruland is proud to be involved in approving a Unified Sports Program, along with flag football. He was also involved in the Military Wall of Honor project, which honors past graduates who were or currently are in the military. He aims to focus on the trades and getting students ready to enter the workforce right out of high school, or to enter trade school. He also believes that the military is a great option for students who want to serve our country and learn a trade.

Michael Dorgan - unopposed incumbent

A lifelong resident of Islip Terrace, Dorgan is the current president of the board of education. Dorgan has worked in the New York State government for the last 25 years, working with groups from all levels of government, including external stakeholders to serve the people of the State of New York.

Dorgan serves on various district committees, maintains working partnerships with stakeholders, meets with PTA and SEPTO groups, and supports students in their academic and athletic achievements. He has worked with the members of the board of education and the district’s administration to ensure fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer while maintaining programs and services to meet the needs for all students of the district.


The budget vote and board of education election will take place on May 21 in the Islip High School gymnasium from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Tom Leggio - unopposed incumbent

Leggio has been a resident and homeowner in Islip for over 40 years. Professionally, Leggio worked at Entenmann’s Bakery for 49 years, where he developed skills in labor negotiations and budget management. He has over 35 years of service in the Islip Fire Department, including his role as commissioner of the Islip Fire District since 2008, overseeing significant budgets and operations.

As the current vice president of the Islip School Board of Education, Leggio collaborates closely with the superintendent to ensure that educational outcomes meet community standards. In education, Leggio remains steadfast in advocating for student-focused initiatives and resource allocation to address evolving challenges.

Eric Buehler - unopposed incumbent

A lifelong Islip resident, Buehler was first elected to the Islip School Board in 2018 and re-elected in 2021. Buehler is the managing director of his family-owned Overton Funeral Home, an Islip business of more than 100 years, and served 10 years as a commissioner of the Islip Fire District.

Buehler shares that his priority is to continue to offer and provide the best education for Islip students to enable them to succeed, whether that be in college, the military, or a career. Along with the rest of the school board, the superintendent and administrative team, educators, and the community, Buehler recognizes the importance of all stakeholders working together.

Paul Austin - unopposed incumbent

Paul Austin, who has been a homeowner in the Islip School District for over 45 years, was first elected to the board of education in 2018 and re-elected in 2021. Austin owns a small business, which he and his brother have successfully run for 20 years.

Austin believes the high school college trips are giving students the opportunity to see what college and career opportunities are possible, and Austin also hopes to continue working on career days.

Austin hopes to see an expansion of the Cosmetology Program, which is an in-house program that ensures students are career ready by graduation. He also prioritizes the board’s efforts to work with administration and the community to reopen the high school greenhouse, which will expand the science program and other educational opportunities.

Bay Shore

The annual budget vote and board of education election will be held on Tuesday, May 21, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Bay Shore High School gym lobby.

Susan Gargan - unopposed incumbent

Susan Gargan is a lifelong resident of Bay Shore. Gargan has worked at Eastern Suffolk BOCES since 1991, first as a special education teacher for 10 years, and then as an assistant principal for her remaining time.

Gargan is finishing her third term as a member of the Bay Shore Board of Education and is hoping to get re-elected for a fourth. She believes that her strong community ties and educational experience are valuable assets to the board. Gargan shared that she does not have a specific platform or agenda; rather, her agenda is what is good for students.

Jennifer Brownyard - unopposed incumbent

Jennfier Brownyard has lived in the Bay Shore area for over 19 years and is seeking a second term. For the past 14 years, she has been the marketing manager and database systems coordinator at Brownyard Group, a commercial insurance company in Bay Shore.

Brownyard has previously served as vice president of the board, and currently serves as president. Brownyard has also accepted a position on the Executive Committee of the Nassau/Suffolk School Board Association to give the Bay Shore School District a bigger voice.

Brownyard believes the board can further improve how they communicate with the Bay Shore community who do not have school-aged children, yet continue to support the district each year. Brownyard prioritizes focusing on early intervention of younger students to help them get to their grade-level in math and English will continue.

West Islip

The district will be holding their budget vote and trustee election on Tuesday, May 21, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the West Islip High School gymnasium.

Debbie Brown - unopposed incumbent

A 43-year West Islip resident, Brown also has been a registered nurse for 27 years. Brown recently attained her NYS real estate license and is now serving her community in a new capacity.

Brown feels one of the greatest opportunities in her first term was to be part of the superintendent search process. Brown is proud to have been a part of numerous other accomplishments, including districtwide air conditioning, armed guards, revamping elementary literacy, investments in mental health, improvements in delivery of special education services, and a community win on the Masera property that includes a 10-year lease with BOCES while preserving field use for the district.

Richard Antoniello - unopposed incumbent

Antoniello, who moved to West Islip in 2007, currently teaches history in Plainview, where he has worked since 1996.

Antoniello was elected to the West Islip Board of Education in 2018 and again in 2021. Throughout his years as a member of the board of education, Antoniello played a key role in helping facilitate air conditioning and armed guards for the district. In seeking reelection, Antoniello’s top priorities lie in including age-appropriate science and math scheduling and stabilizing student attendance. 


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