The upcoming election for the District 96 school board will have an enormous impact on the future of our schools and our community. The decisions coming up in the next few months — including the selection of a new superintendent and the negotiation of a teacher’s contract — will lay the groundwork for the direction of our school district for the foreseeable future.

 While some of the candidates are running as a slate, I believe that the voters will be best served by examining the candidates on their individual merits, and voting accordingly. To my mind, the best candidates in the race are Shari Klyber, Lynda Murphy, Richard Regan and Jeffrey Miller.

 As the only candidate (or board member) who has been employed as a teacher, Ms. Klyber will bring a much-needed perspective to a board which occasionally seems to forget that the primary function of a school district is to provide an optimal education experience for the students. Her experience as an educator should prove valuable as the board embarks on the selection of a new superintendent.

 Like other candidates in the race, Ms. Murphy has an advanced academic degree and children in District 96. She also has a record of community service, most recently as the president of the Central School PTO. But more importantly, Ms. Murphy brings a solid commitment to public education to the table and will serve as a strong advocate for the students of District 96.

 While Mr. Regan is running as part of a slate, he has demonstrated through his board service that he is independent and able to put the needs of the community first. His role in negotiating the upcoming teacher’s contract has already started and his election should ensure continuity in these important negotiations.

 Mr. Miller’s resume is impressive enough in itself — it is not often that a school board has the opportunity to add a member with a doctorate in theoretical physics. But beyond his academic and professional accomplishments, Mr. Miller has demonstrated (in his candidate statements in this paper and elsewhere) that he has not only thought deeply about the current issues facing our school district, but has a vision for the future.

 Relevant experience, a commitment to the community and a vision for the future — these are the keys to a strong and effective school board. Ms. Klyber, Ms. Murphy, Mr. Regan and Mr. Miller have the experience, have the commitment and have the vision.

John Mathews