Why I Back Christine Monterosso For BOE


I am proud to endorse Christine Monterosso to continue her six-year record of excellence as a member of the Manhasset Board of Education. During that time Christine has supported many significant improvements to Manhasset schools, including the creation of a broadcast journalism studio, an engineering curriculum, and the addition of counselors and social workers.

Christine brings a proven record of intellectual accomplishment to the BOE—she graduated from Cornell and was ranked number 2 in her Duke Law School class—but she is also that rare leader whose great intellect is leavened with empathic kindness. She brings to my mind Gandhi’s quote, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” Christine will consider all Manhasset students and families when making BOE decisions, not just the loudest but also, and especially, those who struggle to find their voice.

My work as a secondary school psychologist brings me into firsthand contact with the mental health struggles of our youth, and I have discussed such matters with Christine. Her thoughtful questions and openness demonstrated to me a willingness to dig deep into this difficult and fraught area with sensitivity and empathy, to really get to understand the mental health challenges students and their families face and how best to meet their needs.

The district I am employed by has a partnership with Northwell Health and Christine wanted to understand the process and hear how it benefited the most at-risk students. She genuinely cares and wants to ensure Manhasset students have access to this very important and life-saving support. It is a program that has been criticized by some parents, but as a psychologist its importance is clear to me. Christine’s support for the program despite the criticism convinces me that she will act on principle, not popular appeal.

The pandemic period during which Christine has served for the last two years presented enormous hurdles for all of us, but the BOE was particularly hard pressed. The world faced challenges unseen in a century, not the least of which the education of our children was suddenly at great risk. Nothing had prepared the board, educational professionals, or for that matter, parents of school age children, for its many damaging impacts. Yet Christine and the other board members did an admirable job in the face of often harsh criticism from an understandably concerned community. At the end of the day, Manhasset did an amazing job of keeping our students in school safely and I applaud her and the rest of the board for being a critical part of that process.

As a parent, I am excited to hear of Christine’s plans to research robotics programs and implement one here in our schools as well as to bring back second language instruction at the elementary level. As a parent of two secondary students I am interested to hear more of her ideas for passion projects and making our students more competitive in the college market.

I hope you will join me on May 17 in supporting Christine Monterosso for Manhasset BOE! She will continue a standard of excellence for our schools with a big dose of kindness!

—Jennifer Johnston

Parent of two Manhasset secondary students, a school psychologist and Manhasset resident for 16 years.

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