Open Letter To The Manhasset Community


As a Manhasset resident for more than 22 years and the mother of three children who went through our excellent public schools, I decided to run for the Manhasset Board of Education because I cared about our children and because I knew I could make a meaningful contribution. These remain the driving reasons why I decided to run again this year.

During my tenure on the Board, I’ve enjoyed and benefited from listening to the thoughts, ideas, and concerns of my fellow community members of all ages and across all parts of our community. We actively engaged in the important dialogue about the educational issues we all care about. Our common bond has been our values, which are at the heart of our hopes and aspirations for our community and our children, and the quality of education we provide to them through the Manhasset Public Schools.

I am proud of our many accomplishments, including:

  • A collaboration that firmly laid the foundation for our district’s top ranking among our nation’s schools – the highest ranked district in our Nassau quadrant, ranked 13th in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) in New York State and 23rd
  • The overall academic excellence of our Secondary School earned it recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Our graduates attend the best schools in the country that meet their interests and needs in higher education.
  • Our strong core administrative team, led by our superintendent who is now in his third year at Manhasset, with key skills and knowledge in both the business and curricular aspects of running our schools.
  • Fiscal prudence and responsibility, underscored by tax levy increases that averaged 2.1% over the past 12 years, among the lowest in Nassau County.

I first ran for the Board during another challenging and turbulent time in our community.  My message then is just as relevant now during today’s uncertainty: we must balance competing demands, collaborate among all stakeholders, and strive to ensure a high-quality education for all students, all within the framework of fiscal prudence. Times like this require wisdom, creativity, and leadership to navigate the unchartered territory that lies ahead. Proven leaders with integrity, without a separate agenda, who are good listeners, who are fair and honest, and who apply their common sense and good judgment to unforeseen issues as they arise.

In seeking re-election, I pledge to you that I’m as committed, passionate and focused on this important responsibility as ever. I love this community. I value the education my three children received in our schools. I’m proud and humbled to be an advocate for public education as a member of the Manhasset School Board, most recently as President. And I’m proud of my strong record of maintaining and improving an excellent education for our children, and engaging transparently with community stakeholders to build consensus, all while exercising fiscal responsibility.

My extensive experience and knowledge of the school district will be particularly important as we navigate the challenging educational and budgetary issues that lie ahead. My professional skills in banking, finance, and in managing financially troubled businesses, along with my belief in fiscal responsibility, are only part of the equation. The impetus to initially become involved on the school board was my commitment to bring about positive change, my sincere motivation to do what’s right for all our students, and to serve our community and our children. Today, that remains my motivation to stay involved.

In asking for your vote, I ask you to consider my demonstrated abilities as an objective board member who works collaboratively through consensus, and my commitment to continue bringing about positive change while guided by fiscal responsibility. I ask for your support and, as always, I welcome your questions or comments.

-Pat Aitken

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