School board challenger touts experiences in Nassau

04/29/2013 3:00 PM |
Chris Dorr and Riverhead School Board

COURTESY PHOTO | Chris Dorr is running against two incumbent school board members in this month’s at-large election for two seats.

Baiting Hollow parent Christopher Dorr, the challenger running against two incumbents for a seat on the Riverhead school board, says he knows all too well about the ins and outs of state-mandated student assessments.

He’s a Nassau BOCES data coordinator who analyzes student tests, staff evaluations and handles state reporting for schools in Nassau. In the midst of new assessment and teacher evaluation mandates coming from Albany, Mr. Dorr believes his skills would be a great asset to the Riverhead School District.

“I do believe some testing is needed, because sometimes students may fly under radar in the classroom,” he said. “These tests help to pick them out.”

The downside to the current state-assessment model, Mr. Dorr said, is it involves “over testing” students and is tied to teacher evaluations.

He believes the best way to gauge how teachers are performing is to have them evaluated solely by “the people that know them best,” such as their principals, peers and students.

The parent of a senior high school student and 10-year-old twins said he’s thought about running for school board for awhile and decided to jump in the race now because he wants to make sure quality education is maintained.

“I don’t think budget constraints should be the reason to cut programs,” he said. “We have to find a way around that.”

Mr. Dorr will face incumbents Jeff Falisi of Calverton and Amelia Lantz of Riverhead. There are two seats carrying three-year terms up for grabs on the seven-member board.

While he understands challenging current school board members is difficult, he believes he has a good chance of winning the race.

“I know it’s tough running against incumbents, but that could be plus for me,” he said. “I’ll be able to provide a fresh set of eyes.”

The 2013-14 school board and budget vote is scheduled for May 21.

jennifer@timesreview.com