Although nominating petitions for school board candidates aren't due for another week and a half, two candidates have handed in paperwork to run for the East Hampton Board of Education.
J.P. Foster, a parent of two students in the district and a member of the town planning board, and Rich Wilson, who has grandchildren who attend East Hampton schools, have handed in nominating petitions, according to Kerri Stevens, the district clerk.
There are three positions up for grabs this year. A total of eight people picked up petitions, she said.
Foster is already a longtime public servant. Foster has worked as a public safety dispatcher for the Village of East Hampton for 23 years. He is currently a communication supervisor. He is also a former police officer.
In 2012, he was appointed to the East Hampton Town Planning Board. If elected in May, Foster said he doesn't plan on stepping down from that position. "I enjoy being on the planning board. It is a lot of time, but it's doable," he said.
Having run for a seat on the school board in 2005, Foster said he has been considering running again for several years. His daughter is approaching her freshman year at East Hampton High School, and his son is an East Hampton Middle School.
"I figured, 'What am I waiting for?'," he said. He's grown frustrated with what's been happening at the board level the past few months, namely the situation regarding . Instead she was asked to return to the classroom.
His children attended John M. Marshall Elementary School, as well. "We had a great experience. I just don't want to see us lose sight of the kids," he said.
A native of Sag Harbor, Foster has lived in East Hampton since 1990. He is also a real estate agent for 12 years, and is currently a vice president of sales for Town & Country Real Estate.
Among some of the aspects he'd like to focus on if elected, Foster said, "I want the district to follow their own policies. I want to make sure we have valid evaluations — of course we don't get to see that, because it's confidential. I'd just like to see a little bit more transparency than we've seen."
"I'm really concerned with the direction the elementary school is going to go in hiring a new principal. I really want to see them hire somebody from within the district," he said, adding he is a proponent of keeping administrations and teachers local. He would like to see the board create some kind of a program to help develop teachers to become administrators.
He also said he thinks it is important for the board to foster a better relationship with the public.
Nominating petitions are due on April 22. The election and budget vote are held on May 21.