LAKE PLACID - Three people are running for two open seats on the Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education.
John Hopkinson, Jennifer Tufano and Richard Preston are seeking three-year terms on the school board. Two seats expire this year: those of Janet Smith, the board's vice president, and Hopkinson, who was appointed to the board last summer after Gerald Blair stepped down to become interim superintendent of the Northeastern Clinton Central School District.
The school board election is May 21; the polls will be open from 2 to 9 p.m. In addition to selecting new board members, voters will also decide whether to approve a $17,264,976 budget that would raise the tax levy by 3 percent, meeting the state's property tax cap. The board is also seeking voter approval of an approximately $731,000 energy project; the district will implement the project regardless of the vote, but if voters approve the ballot initiative, the school will be eligible for an additional 10 percent in state aid.
Brief candidate profiles are listed here in alphabetical order. In the coming weeks, the News will ask candidates to answer more detailed questions.
In his early campaign materials, Hopkinson is asking voters to give him another term because he's "an experienced, independent advocate for students, staff and citizens."
Hopkinson has degrees from the College of William and Mary and Syracuse University. He did his post-doctoral research at the Medical College of Georgia, and he taught and researched at Williams College.
From 1996 to 2005 he was vice president and general manager of Upstate Biotechnology in Lake Placid. He's been active on community boards, serving on the Lake Placid/North Elba Joint Planning Commission from 2001 to 2010 and the Adirondack Health Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2012. He currently serves on the Lake Placid-North Elba Zoning Board of Appeals and the Community Development Board's Environment and Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Preston is a graduate of Lake Placid High School who has followed the district closely for many years.
"Over the past few years, my interest has been piqued and now seems like the appropriate time to become involved with the Lake Placid Board of Education," he said. "Personally and professionally, I am ready to make a commitment to such an important position. The Lake Placid Central School gave me an excellent education; I would like to now give back to the district."
Since 1991, Preston has worked as director of rehabilitation and sports medicine at Adirondack Health. He holds degrees in education and physical therapy, including a doctorate in physical therapy that he earned in 2010.
Preston is co-organizer of the Lake Placid/North Elba Half-Marathon and helps run the Thursday night summer fun runs in Saranac Lake.
Tufano has two young girls who attend Lake Placid Elementary School. The older daughter will enter middle school next year, and Tufano said there is "time to encourage and implement improvements in our district from which they can benefit.
"I'm passionate about initiatives which seek to educate the whole child with a focus on nutrition and exposing youth to all the opportunities available to them after graduation, college or otherwise," she said. "With new leadership coming to the board this year, the time just felt right to get involved."
Tufano has worked at the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society for the last four years; she's been director for the last three. Tufano has also worked as director of admissions at Paul Smith's College.
This year, she joined the Lake Placid Sinfonietta Education Committee, and she's also a member of FRIENDS, a parent-teacher group at the elementary school.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or cmorris@