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June 12, 2014

Schifano leaving board grateful for experience

By Meghan McCaffrey Contributing Writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — After 10 years of service on the Cooperstown Board of Education, Jean Schifano is moving on. 

At the May 20 election, Tim Hayes was voted in with 561 votes. Teresa Russo was re-elected with 392 votes while Jean Schifano was voted out by just 20 votes.

Schifano said she is not disappointed and she is ready to move forward with her life.

“It was great while it lasted and I’m ready to move on,” she said.

She was first elected to the Cooperstown BOE in 2003 for a five-year term. In 2008, she resigned because she was moving to Pennsylvania and ultimately she stayed there for about 18 months, she said. In 2009, she returned to Cooperstown and there was a vacancy on the board as someone else was leaving the area. Schifano took over that person’s spot for one year then she ran again for a three-year term.

It has been nearly a decade of service, and Schifano said she has enjoyed her time on the board.

“I like working with the teachers and the administration, and I love getting to know and working with the students,” she said. 

Schifano said she joined the board because she loves working with students.

“She is very sensitive to the circumstances of young people’s lives,” said Tony Scalici, a board member who has served with her for most of the past decade.

Superintendent of Cooperstown Central School, C.J. Hebert, who has worked with Schifano for three years, said that one of Schifano’s greatest strengths is her ability to listen to all Cooperstown residents and understand their unique viewpoints.  

“I appreciate her perspective and her willingness to consider all sides of an issue before coming to a decision,” he said.

Schifano said she tried to look at things from the various perspectives of the students, staff, administration and community members and be fair to all.

Scalici said she is unique because she is honest, compassionate and insightful about the needs of young people.

“She is and has always been an advocate for children,” Hebert said.

Scalici also said that in various situations Schifano had students stay with her and her family. He said he admires and respects Schifano and her relationships with the students. 

“She and her husband are just magnetic in terms of being trusted by young people,” Scalici said.

C.J. Hebert said Schifano could always be found at an athletic or academic event at the school.

“She was very much involved in all facets of the school community,” Hebert said.

Schifano said she would miss her role as a member of the board because she had the opportunity to meet so many students.

“We have some really bright, intelligent young people here,” Schifano said.

Both Hebert and Scalici said she would be missed on the board.

“She is the most genuine person that I have ever worked with on the school board,” Scalici said.

“While we look forward to a new voice from Tim Hayes, her wisdom will very much be missed,” Hebert said.

Schifano said it has been a pleasure and an honor serving and she is ready to move on.

“I’ve had a great time, and I wish everyone the best of luck moving forward,” Schifano said.