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2022 Board of Education Candidates

April 20, 2022

Community members are invited to a Meet the Board Candidates event on Monday, May 9, at 6:00 PM in the Knickerbacker Middle School Auditorium, which will be immediately followed by the Annual Budget Hearing at 6:30 PM.

You can find more information below about the six (6) individuals running for three (3) seats on the Board of Education. Two of these seats are for a 5-year term (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2027) and will go to the two candidates with the highest number of votes. The third seat is for a 2-year term (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2024) and will go to the candidate with the third-highest number of votes.

Scroll down to learn more about the 2022 candidates in their own words (candidate responses have not been edited). The names of board candidates will appear on the ballot as follows:

  1. Jessica Vartigian
  2. Catherine Curtis
  3. Jami Briggs
  4. Tina Rysedorph
  5. Thomas Zakrzewski
  6. Talia Pallozzi

The Lansingburgh Board Election and Budget Vote both take place on Tuesday, May 17, from 12:00 - 9:00 PM. Find information about voting for the 2022-2023 Budget and Board Election here. 


Jessica Vartigian

Jessica VartiganI have 2 children in the district. Kendall and Ryder. Our family is very involved in all aspects of Lansingburgh. We strongly believe in the power of community. I am a Hairdresser and bartender by trade, but have made being a stay at home mother/youth advocate my full time occupation. I've served in many organizations including: VFW Auxiliary, TES, RPES & KMS PTA,  Lansingburgh little league, Burgh Basketball Association and Troy Patriots.

Why would you like to be on the Lansingburgh Board of Education?  

I will continually push for excellence in all areas of our district. Not only academically, but recreationally as well, with a STRONG focus on communication. I excel in my ability to open up communication lines. I would also like to work on implementing better solutions to topics such as bullying, lack of family involvement and integrating more programs that help prepare our children for the world after school. 

What do you see as the challenges in US education today and in the future?

Bullying, Lack of family involvement, social media influences, financial challenges, and keeping kids motivated to want to succeed in school. 

What changes would you like to see in the Lansingburgh School District?

Stronger and more clear lines of communication. More Family involvement. The execution of more programs that set children up to succeed in the “real world” after graduating high school. 


Catherine Curtis

Catherine CurtisI am an educator of 21 years.  I hold my BA in Psychology/Elementary Education and my MS in Elementary Education.  My two children currently attend school in the district. I have a depth of educational knowledge and hands-on experience. 

Why would you like to be on the Lansingburgh Board of Education?  

I am passionate about children, education, and our community.  I would like to be a contributor on the team that works with our school community to help ensure our district is forward-thinking, where students thrive, staff feels supported, and parents can engage as partners in their child’s education.  I want to make sure we are keeping all parties in mind as decisions are made that improve student achievement.  I am looking forward to bringing some creative and efficient ways to meet district and state goals.

What do you see as the challenges in US education today and in the future?

I feel that educating the increasing diverse population for an unseen and rapidly changing future is a challenge districts face.  Students need to be good decision makers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, informative evaluators, and excellent communicators.   Today’s students are the future of our community and tomorrow’s leaders.  Districts are struggling that students have lost academic, social, and emotional growth during the pandemic and are grappling with ways to make up these differences to ensure to meet the needs of every student as well as state standards.  We need to allow equal opportunities for all students to be successful in their academic careers.

What changes would you like to see in the Lansingburgh School District?

If elected to our school board, I would like to encourage a culture of empathy, where no student experiences school as an environment of exclusion.  I also believe that we need more transparency between the board, district, and community.  I am open to collaboration, compromise, and increased community involvement to help our district move forward.


Jami Briggs

Jami BriggsMy name is Jami Briggs and I have been a resident of the Lansingburgh school district for the past 8 and a half years. Following graduation from High School, I attended Elmira College obtaining a degree in Educational Studies while being a 4-year member of the Elmira College Field Hockey team. From there I spent two years at the University of Buffalo obtaining my Master's Degree in Social Work. My first 5 years post-graduation I worked with at risk youth at a residential facility in Bennington, Vermont. For the last 11 years, I have been working in health care with a focus on mental health and substance abuse. During that time, I met and married my husband of 8 years and together we have 3 beautiful children, Cameron 5, and my twins Sidney and Shea 3. Since moving to the area 8 years ago my husband and I have become fond of the Lansingburgh community and are invested in being supportive and involved members of the district. 

Why would you like to be on the Lansingburgh Board of Education?

As a mother of young children, I am deeply invested in the future of the district. I think it is important to have well rounded members of the board who can represent all of the important aspects in the education of our children. As a Licensed Master Social Worker, I feel I can offer a fresh prospective on the mental health and social emotional needs of the youth in the district, which has been a growing issue the last few years and has begun to rise faster since the onset of the pandemic. 

What do you see as the challenges in US education today and in the future?

There are several issues facing our public schools at this time. To me some of the biggest challenges are the continued cuts to budgets, school safety, the rise in mental health issues among today's youth and chronic absenteeism.  

What changes would you like to see in the Lansingburgh School District?

Some changes I would like to help promote, as a member of the school board, would be to improve communication and relations with the community, improve teacher/staff retention, and continue to focus on the safety of our children.


Tina Rysedorph

Tina RysedorphI am a graduate and lifelong resident of Lansingburgh.  My husband and I have three children attending LHS.  We also have older children that are previous graduates in the classes of 2006 and 2008.  I’ve worked in Law Enforcement for more than 30 years and have a degree in Criminal Justice.  I have previously held board seats for Lansingburgh Youth Soccer and the Speigletown Fire Department.

Why would you like to be on the Lansingburgh Board of Education?

Last spring, I was appointed to the Board to fill a vacancy.  I would love the opportunity to continue in the position, bringing fresh ideas to the team.  Collaborating with the administration and the board to provide the best possible resources for parents, children and community members is an exciting and fulfilling opportunity.  I am a hardworking, thoughtful, and passionate individual who is committed to help make Lansingburgh schools the best they can be for our students.  I will place a high value on being part of a team that ensures the children in our district are provided with the tools they need to have a solid educational foundation for their future success. 

What do you see as the challenges in US education today and in the future?

The biggest challenges in education today are poverty and absenteeism.  School administrators work hard to bridge these gaps in our district, and I feel my personal and professional experiences can lend some positive input toward working on these and other issues. 
Additionally, government overreach is taking away parents’ voices in their children’s education.  From the COVID mandates that shut down our schools and masked our children for far too long, to the critical race and gender theories that are making their way into our schools. Parents need to be aware of and stand together in opposition of the curriculum being implemented by NYS Department of Education.

What changes would you like to see in the Lansingburgh School District?

I would like to see transparency within the district in curriculum and policy.  I would like for the curriculum to be posted on the school website so that parents have easy access to what is being taught to our children.  

Additionally, teacher retention needs to be addressed immediately. We are losing good teachers on a weekly basis; we need to know why they are leaving so that we can provide them with the support they need to stay. 

I would also like to see the administration, the staff, and the community engage in open and honest dialogue to strengthen student and parent engagement.  Parents need to feel that their concerns or issues are understood and will be addressed in a timely manner. This is imperative to moving in a positive direction.


Thomas Zakrzewski

Thomas ZakrzewskiHi, my name is Thomas Zakrzewski I have been married to my wife Kristin for 22 years and have three sons: Tommy who is 21 years old, Jacob who is 18 years old and Christopher who will be 15 in April, Christopher is a current student at Lansingburgh High School.  I am a graduate of Lansingburgh High School class of 1991, I currently work as a Registered Nurse/Case manager with the Eddy Visiting Nurses and Rehab Association, where I bring health care and health education into patients homes, I have held this position for the last ten years, my Nursing Degree is from Albany Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, which is now Part of St. Peter's Hospital School of Nursing, 

Why would you like to be on the Lansingburgh Board of Education?

I feel that I can bring my own perspective and ideas to the Board of Education and would love to assist with advancing the education and safety of the children in the district. 

What do you see as the challenges in US education today and in the future?

There are many hurdles facing education in the United States today and looking toward the future, including health and safety of students as well as social and cognitive challenges, schools are being testing on a daily basis to provide good, safe and quality education to its students and have to quickly adapt to stay ahead of issues that arise. 

What changes would you like to see in the Lansingburgh School District?

I would like to see more availability for hybrid courses that include college credits and steps toward trade jobs as well as increased safety and support including councilors and social workers to assist with students social and mental well-being.


Talia Pallozzi

Talia PallozziI was born in Israel, raised in New Jersey, and happily call the Capital Region my home.  I came to the region to attend the University at Albany, where I earned a Bachelors and Masters in Psychology, and also where I met my husband Marc (a Lansingburgh native and LHS graduate). Over 8 years ago, we purchased our home in Lansingburgh, and we now have 2 children that attend TPES.  I am an active part of this community, having coached youth soccer and t-ball, and enjoy getting to know all of the families and children that also call Lansingburgh home.  I also currently serve on the Lansingburgh Board of Education.  I work as an RN at St Peter's Health Partners. My hobbies and interests include reading, traveling, horseback riding, and endlessly scrolling through Netflix or Hulu for something to watch.

Why would you like to be on the Lansingburgh Board of Education?

I have had the privilege to serve as a member of the Lansingburgh Board of Education over this past year, and I feel like my work advocating for our families and children has just begun. This past year has allowed me to develop positive working relationships with the other Board Members and Administrators, as well as gain a solid understanding and foundation of the role of the Board. I also understand the challenges we face as a community - I talk with parents and neighbors daily, and understand their concerns and desires for our school district and its direction moving forward. It is my hope to be elected so that I can continue the work I have already put into this position, and continue to advocate for our community.

What do you see as the challenges in US education today and in the future?

While there is a lot of hope for education here in the US, there are also challenges. Some include moving forward from the pandemic into a more endemic atmosphere and addressing the issues that have resulted from these unprecedented times. Other issues facing education include funding and budget concerns, safety, equity and inclusion, and helping students and their families understand education pathways and career options.

What changes would you like to see in the Lansingburgh School District?

I would like to see a higher level of participation from our Lansingburgh families. I would like to see an atmosphere where all members of the community feel that they have a voice and that they have a good understanding of where to find resources and information, as well as where to go with questions or concerns.