Debbie Gordon has proven that the old adage about the third time being a charm is not always true. Instead, even newcomers can place near the top. And the novice candidate is thankful that her neighbors have elected her to a three-year term on the Niskayuna school board at a time when the suburban district is facing a string of critical decisions.
I was surprised by the number of votes I received, Gordon said during the Memorial Day holiday as she reflected on her second- place finish in the election two weeks ago. "I was hopeful about being elected to the board but I didn't expect to almost take first place. A bunch of people came out who don't normally vote in school board races and I would really like to thank everyone for taking the time to come to the polls."
Gordon's election with 1,587 votes was a first-time affair for the eight-year Niskayuna resident and it put her ahead of three other candidates for seats on the board. Only incumbent David Hudson, garnering 1,601 votes, beat Gordon for top honors in the field of five.
Despite the strong showing, the mother of two said it is too early for her to make a lot of promises about the direction the district will take when she is sworn into her new position in July.
"Initially, I am just going to do a lot of listening and learning so that I can get up to speed," she said. "I would like to look into the possibility of making foreign language classes available in the elementary grades but that is not something that will be done overnight. Instead, I want to spend some time seeing where the district is at before we go forward with any major new plans."
While she has never run for office before, Gordon has developed a record of activism in Niskayuna including her current position as the district PTO Council's co-president. Prior to that she was co-president of the Craig Elementary School's PTO and spent a year as the group's recording secretary. Her volunteer activities go beyond the school district as well with seven years of involvement on the Schenectady Community Hospice Gala Committee and five years as treasurer of the Medical Alliance of Schenectady County. Gordon is also a member of the Temple Gates of Heaven board of directors.
"I attended a couple of board meetings when I was considering whether to run for a position so I have some familiarity with how it operates," Gordon said. "Now it is time for me to learn as much as a I can." ""