Voters will elect three members to the Pine Bush Board of Education from the six candidates seeking office on May 21. These are unpaid positions and carry a three-year term, running from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022.
The candidates, in the order in which they will appear on the ballot, are:
- Dori Johnson
- Matthew Watkins
- Gretchen Meier
- Erik Buckley
- Jillian Caci
- Nancy Vinella
Dori Johnson (Incumbent)
- Teacher – Monroe-Woodbury School District
- Lives in Wallkill; District resident for 15 years
Dori Johnson is currently completing her first term on the Pine Bush Central School District Board of Education. In these past three years she has served as both vice president and acting president. Johnson has been a member of the Circleville Middle School PTA and the district’s Audit Committee. She and her husband Eric have two children in the district, a seventh-grade student at CVMS and a sophomore at Pine Bush High School. Johnson is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz with both a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and a Master of Science degree in education. She has been a teacher at Monroe-Woodbury for the past 25 years and is an adjunct professor at SUNY Orange. Prior to her teaching career, Johnson was a geologist for in the private sector. She was a member of the City of Middletown Shade Tree Committee and also has worked with Cub Scouts as they work on their “Earth Rocks” elective.
- Self-employed – GOALS Development Company
- Lives in Shawangunk, Lifelong resident of the district
Matthew Watkins received an associate’s degree in marketing from SUNY Delhi and a bachelor’s degree in general business from Penn State University. Watkins serves as a councilman in the Town of Shawangunk and a trustee for the Pine Bush Area Public Library. He and his wife have three children in the district, two in high school and one in middle school. He previously served on the Pine Bush School Board from May 2016 to June 2017.
Gretchen Meier (Incumbent)
- Physical Therapist, owner of Pine Bush Physical Therapy
- Lives in Town of Crawford; District resident for 25 years
Gretchen Meier has served the Pine Bush Central School District for six years on the board of education, including the current one as vice president and acting president. Her two children are graduates of Pine Bush High School, as is her husband, Fritz. Meier is a physical therapist and owner of Pine Bush Physical Therapy. She graduated from Quinnipiac University with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy. Meier’s community service includes assisting with the Town of Crawford Tractor Parade, serving as a volunteer for the students in the Excelsior Medical Academy at Pine Bush High School, actively supporting the Odyssey of the Mind program and helping community members in need through her business on a daily basis. She has been honored by the Pine Bush Relay for Life and the Sarah Wells Girl Scout Council.
- Rockland BOCES employee
- Lives in Wallkill; District resident for 8 years
Erik Buckley is a graduate of SUNY Orange and has worked for Rockland BOCES for the past 17 years. He works with students in grades kindergarten through 8 with emotional and behavioral disabilities as well as students with autism and developmental disabilities. He has lived in the Town of Wallkill and has been a resident of the Pine Bush Central School district since 2011. Buckley and his wife have two children, ages 6 and 2. His son attends kindergarten in the district.
- Teacher – Newburgh City School District
- Lives in Hamlet of Pine Bush; District resident for 38 years
Jillian Caci is a music educator in the Newburgh City School District, teaching on all grade levels in a variety of music positions in her 30 years there. She is currently the choral director at Newburgh Free Academy. Caci attended Crispell Middle School and graduated from Pine Bush High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree of music from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a Master of Arts degree in educational psychology from Marist College. She has a level 2B certification from the Technology Institute for Music Educators. Caci has a son in sixth grade at Crispell Middle School. Her volunteer work includes various positions with the Orange County Music Educators’ Association, secretary of the Newburgh Teachers’ Association previously and currently sits on the NTA Board of Directors. She is the regional delegate for the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union and volunteers with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Horse Leaders Board and the Newburgh Chamber Music Society.
- Administrative Professional
- Lives in Wallkill; District resident for 12 years
Nancy Vinella and her husband have two children who currently attend Pine Bush Central Schools – a graduating senior at PBHS and a third grader at Pakanasink. Vinella is a very active member of the Pakanasink PTA, currently serving her third year as PTA treasurer. She is also in her second year as Troop Treasurer and Co-Leader for two active Girl Scout troops based in Circleville. Vinella earned a bachelor of arts from the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, with a major in Communications. Professionally, she has more than 24 years of administrative support experience, including 11 years inclusive of bookkeeping and accounting support.