The Members of the Board of Education
Keith Gamache, BOE President
284-7771 (term expires 6/20)
Keith Gamache is a dedicated member of the East Rockaway Board of Education and is now serving as president. A New York University graduate, Mr. Gamache holds a Bachelor of Arts in art education, a Master of Fine Arts from Johnson State College in Vermont and his school administrative certification from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Raised in Massachusetts, Mr. Gamache found his way to South Side High School, where he has been sharing his passion for art with students for 24 years. Mr. Gamache is excited to participate in such a tightknit community that reminds him so much of his hometown. He has concerns about the implementation and motives of education reform in New York, especially regarding the impact of high stakes testing on teaching and learning. Determined to be an “advocate for our children,” Mr. Gamache supports “de-tracking” and the new middle school philosophy, allowing every student an equal opportunity to participate in our best programs.
While splitting his time between his career and helping improve East Rockaway’s schools, Mr. Gamache finds time to be a diligent member of Boy Scouts with his sons, pursues his own art making and is the Art Department facilitator at South Side High School. Hoping to expand learning opportunities in the classroom, he is excited about the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) for All program at the elementary schools, as well as the success of the Robotics Club at the high school, and encourages more students to participate in our expanding offerings of after-school clubs. Mr. Gamache lives in East Rockaway with his wife and two sons, who both attend East Rockaway schools.
Kristin Ochtera, BOE Vice President
593-5499 (term expires 6/19)
Kristin Ochtera has been a board member since 2010 and currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Education. Mrs. Ochtera holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Hofstra University and a Professional Certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has been a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, managed a Day Care Center and co-owned a children’s activity center in her vast career. She is currently the Coordinator for Education, Formation and Youth Ministry at a church. Mrs. Ochtera is an active member of the New York State School Board Association and has served as a presider at the annual conference for many years. Mrs. Ochtera considers herself a “professional volunteer” being an active member of many organizations such as the Education Foundation, Coalition for Youth in East Rockaway and the East Rockaway High School PTA. She is also the troop leader of a Girl Scout troop and volunteers her limited free time to being a Youth Group Mentor and coaching many sports. Mrs. Ochtera’s ability to manage her time wisely and be passionate for the issues she supports has earned her the Girl Scout Outstanding Leader Award, Honorary Lifetime Membership in the NY State PTA and the NY School Board Association’s Mastery Award. Mrs. Ochtera lives in Bay Park with her husband and two children.
Neil Schloth, BOE Trustee
812-0164 (term expires 6/20)
Neil Schloth has been an avid member of the East Rockaway Board of Education. Beyond his work in our school district, Neil actively devotes his time to the East Rockaway Fire Department where he serves as a volunteer fireman and an active member of the Fire Prevention program, which visits schools to educate students on fire safety. He also is involved with St. Raymond’s parish where he serves as a lector. Neil has many goals for the district. He would like to see improvement in the middle school. Neil wants to better the transition and promote success in a greater number of students. Mr. Schloth also hopes to see more parental involvement, which he feels will have a direct correlation with student achievements. Neil feels that the school is headed in a new direction, and despite the hardships faced through Hurricane Sandy, East Rockaway has truly risen with “positive optimism.” There is now a “new approach at problems we’ve always had.” He looks forward to working with our new superintendent Mrs. Ruiz, and continuing to make gradual changes. Neil Schloth feels a good Board of Education trustee should have a pure agenda and listen to everyone. Personally he feels that he brings, “a broad outlook, an ability to: listen to everyone, to believe in fairness and to pursue a fair position even if it is not popular.” Currently, Neil resides in the district with his wife and two children, who have both attended East Rockaway schools, and works in the District Court, Criminal Division.
Patricia Nicoletti, BOE Trustee
887-0743 (term expires 6/19)
Patti Nicoletti has been a devoted member of the Board of Education for several years. Mrs. Nicoletti holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Hearing Handicapped Education from SUNY Plattsburgh and a Master of Science degree in Speech Pathology from C.W. Post University, enabling her to work as a Speech Pathologist for over thirty years. Mrs. Nicoletti believes that to be an effective Board of Education member, one should be a good listener, fair minded, willing to put in time and effort, able to work with a team, and exercise due diligence by researching all possible options to make an educated decision. Mrs. Nicoletti is open to new ideas, yet is traditional in thought. She values a good education as one of the most important things an individual can possess and is a strong defender of public education. In the long term, Mrs. Nicoletti hopes to maintain the character and integrity of the school district, while making academics more challenging to keep pace with the 21st century. Since her election, the board has been able to maintain academics, introduce more AP courses and expand new programs while conforming to the difficult restraints of the tax cap. Mrs. Nicoletti enjoys reading, animals and nature and resides with her three children and husband in Lynbrook.
Dominick Vulpis, BOE Trustee
516-650-9644 (term expires 6/21)
Dominick Vulpis is the newest member of the East Rockaway Board of Education. He holds a certificate in education administration from the College of Staten Island, a Master of Science degree in physiology of exercise from Queens College and a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Brooklyn College.
Mr. Vulpis is assistant executive director for Section VIII Athletics servicing all Nassau County school districts. Prior to retaining that position, he was as an educator for 39 years, including serving as the East Rockaway School District athletic director for 22 years. In his role as a Board member, Mr. Vulpis looks forward to continuing to increase opportunities that foster academic, social and emotional achievement for all students. He realizes the importance of the continued use of technology inside and outside the classroom to propel student learning. He is also committed to working with community stakeholders in a transparent environment that will foster family and community engagement and promote social and emotional learning.
Mr. Vulpis is very active in the East Rockaway community. He’s a member of East Rockaway Recreation, Kiwanis Club and Knights of Columbus. In addition, he is a parishioner at St. Raymond’s Church and serves as a eucharistic minister. He also participates in the district’s Prevention Task Force, Health & Safety Committee and helped author its NARCAN policy.
Mr. Vuplis and his wife Kathleen have lived in East Rockaway since 2002. The pair has been married for 36 years. They have three children, Dominick, Kerrianne and Marykate, all of whom graduated from the East Rockaway School District.
Tina Fazi, District Clerk
887-8300 ext. 553