On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, residents of the Schodack Central School District will vote for three (3) seats opening on the Schodack Board of Education. Each seat is for a 3-year term (July 1, 2023-June 30, 2026). Voters will also decide whether to approve a proposed budget for the 2023-2024 School Year. See the district’s budget page for more information on the budget, where to vote and absentee/military ballots.

Meet the Candidates Event

There will be a Meet the Candidates event on Thursday, May 4, 2023, during the board of education workshop meeting starting at 6:00 PM.

2023 Board of Education Candidates

The names of the four (4) candidates running for the board are listed below in the order they will appear on the ballot along with a short statement from each.

Blake Kush

I’m Blake Kush and I would be honored to represent you on the Schodack Board of Education. District residents since 2011, my wife Danielle and I chose to live here because of the intimate community and quality of public education offered. Together, we are raising two future glass ceiling breaking daughters who are proud to wear the Wildcat red and blue. Committed to serving the underserved, I have fifteen years of professional experience running training and economic development programs for low-income families and victims of crime in both the non-profit sector and state government. I also have a master’s degree in social work, own a small business, and have the title of “coach” for many of your kiddos in our youth soccer and softball leagues. With your support, I will be an advocate for all our children. A better individual makes a better family. A better family makes a better community.

Mary Yurista

Schodack is a special place. As a member of this community for over 35 years, I’m privileged to have served on the Board of Education for 9 years as a member and recently, as Vice-President. We’ve carefully transformed our facilities into a 21st-century learning environment and enhanced our educational model during that time. With the support of the Schodack BOE, I also serve on the Board of our educational partner, Questar III. In my professional life (BS-SUNY Oswego, MBA-SUNY Albany), I have served in various technical capacities leading and participating in projects that have brought innovation and improvement. The private sector offers beneficial guidance and progressive ideas that allow us to sustain and improve the quality of education and everyday life for all. As a parent and grandparent, I want the same success for every student that my children (three Maple Hill graduates) have been able to enjoy. I would be honored to be able to continue to help the BOE meet the challenges we face in our schools to facilitate the well-being and future success of our students in this new uncertain environment and economy.

Shelley Palmer

My name is Shelley Palmer and for about ten years, my husband Zac and I have been proud to call Schodack home. Our two children, Vivienne and Andrew, are members of the Class of 2028. I have had the honor to serve our community as a member of the Board of Education for the past 4 years and have been elected by my peers on the Board to serve as President for the past 2 years. This period of time has been filled with many challenges but school has been dedicated to preparing the students of our community for the challenges of the future. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Seton Hall University and a Master’s degree in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven. I have 10+ years of experience in education and currently work for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. I have been involved in community activities including: Girl Scouts, youth sports, and church activities. It would be a great honor to be re-elected to the Board of Education to continue to support and advocate for the students of Schodack Schools.

Ashley Palmer

Born and raised in neighboring East Greenbush, my husband and I chose Schodack to raise our children based on the tight knit community and quality education. We have 3 children, James (LSI ’20), Abby (7th grade), and Brody (2nd grade). I was elected last year to a one year board seat, and am grateful for this opportunity to serve our district. I would be honored to remain on the board to continue providing a safe and effective learning environment for all of the children in the district. I am committed to our youth through the Schodack school board, Greenbush Soccer, CYO basketball, and volunteering where and whenever I can. Our strong community base truly shines and they are proud to hear that Schodack is a district that people choose to bring their children to. I would be honored to continue to serve in the position of school board member to continue as an advocate for every child.