1. Why are you
running and what
qualifies you to be a school board trustee?
There are three reasons for me to run for the school board trustee
(1). I made a personal mandate of dedicating my retirement career to
education after having had satisfying careers with IBM Research, University
Professor/Administrator and Technology Entrepreneur.
(2). Offering my over 30 years of experience as a research scientist and an
educator to assist the school district in dealing with the crux of the
matter, that is, how to inspire our children to pursue academic excellence
and character development.
(3). My family has lived in Somers for 24 years witnessing the gradual
improvements made in Somers schools and the ever challenging environment
the schools have to operate in. Our four children have benefitted from
Somers schools, one graduated from Cornell last Fall, one a sophomore at
Duke and one entering either Brown or CMU this Fall and one a freshman in
SHS. I want the Somers schools to continue to improve its quality in
academics, arts and physical education for all of Somers children.
I volunteer for schools and Somers volunteer organizations. I offer
workshops and after school classes sharing creative educational games with
children. I produce public TV shows for children interested in developing
word and math as well as public speaking skills. I serve on the policy
board of Northern Westchester and Putnam Teacher Center helping teacher
Having served on the board, I have shown to our district that I bring
to the board with a positive attitude, an open mind, constructive ideas and
transparent and outspoken manner dealing with issues. I am a fast learner
and creative thinker in education matter. I am a conservative in fiscal
matter and a liberal in educational initiatives. I am confident that I am
qualified and capable of serving our school board. I believe serving the
school board is the most rewarding contribution to our community.
2. What do you see as the top three
challenges facing your school district?
(1). Safe and enticing environment for learning: Our schools should be
free of alcohol, drug and violence. We must focus on roots of the problems,
develop preventive measures, and implement incentives so that problems will
be avoided rather than merely contained and remedied. (Sandy Hook is a
lesson for us to ponder: What is the solution for dealing with the root of
the problem? We need to prevent violence and face its roots in social
issues. We need to direct our children’s attention and energy to learning)
(2). Continuous improvement of the quality of our school’s teaching
faculty: We have to provide more freedom and free time for teachers to take
on initiatives to stimulate students to develop good learning habit and to
cultivate their desire for achieving academic excellence. We need to
introduce technology into teacher skills and curriculum so students will be
better prepared for the future and have adequate level of technology
literacy so they will have a solid foundation to build a good career. We
must provide good working environment to school faculty and staff so they
will be motivated and have job satisfaction, an environment inducing good
teachers to join our school system and stay.
(3). Managing school budget prudently: We must anticipate the economic
changes in our state and in our country. We must be prudent in providing
education products and services under the do more for less challenge. Our student population is reducing; we
need to perform rigorous long-term planning beyond yearly school budget. We
must secure steady state funding consistent with validated long-term
Education is an important issue for local communities and it is a long-term
affair. We need to view education in a broader perspective along with other
issues such as global changes and competition, industry and job market
transformation, fluctuation in economy effecting state funding and local
tax roll, etc. Under the current tax cap law, we need to be creative in
finding and using resources and prudent in cutting waste and reducing cost
at the same time.
3. With respect to school finances, are
there any specific initiatives you would pursue to save money or reduce
As a board member, I keep an open mind towards school budge.
Philosophically, I don’t believe money is the only solution to education.
On the one hand, we know the annual per student cost of American public
school is much higher than many developed and developing countries in the
world yet American students are not ranked higher in basic skills
assessments. On the other hand, we know United States is still the most
innovative country where creativity flourishes mostly due to the fact that
our children are exposed to leading edge technologies. In terms of school
financing, I am fiscally conservative but liberal in education initiatives.
I believe in establishing a common goal – Effectively do the best for our
children. This goal should be shared by all our community constituents. We can not afford to short change the future of our
children. We have to spend every dollar smartly; prudently prepare every
program and evaluate them for effectiveness. The savings and spending must
be correlated with results of achievements. I think the most effective way
of finding cost reduction is to examine the effectiveness of a program or a
department under causality principle (cause and consequence in producing
goodness or badness)to find potential reductions, cost-saving initiatives
and deserving additional funding. Validate, prioritize and then execute
effectively across all areas, academic curriculum, arts and athletic
4. What changes would you make on the
I fully understand and support the whole child development concept, but
we must be effective in implementing new initiatives. We need to develop
meaningful teacher and student assessment measures to guide our progress.
Three important areas we need to focus on:
1. How to motivate our children to become a keen learner - Develop and
provide right incentives for teachers and students to accomplish this goal..
2. What is the children’s effective learning environment - Closely
integrate and coordinate school, family and public (library and town)
learning environments and learning activities, in recognition of the social
changes in families and communities as well as the availability of advanced
but inexpensive technologies for children’s benefits.
3. Where our community can participate and enhance our school academic
programs and extra-curriculum activities for the benefit of our children -
We should value the community’s views far higher than the so called
‘politically correct’ views from outside activists. We should also value
the community’s resources applicable to student learning such as community
services, business intern training and professional mentor relationship
such as science research mentors.
Teaching Material Prepared for SIS 4th Grade Science
Web Site for Northern Westchester Chinese Language School
Chang's Work at TLC Information Services and Its Public Web Sites