Jenkins is a 36-year Glen Cove resident and the current president of the Gribbin Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. This is her first time running for public office.
Jenkins, 41, previously served as treasurer for the Gribbin School PTA and as a cheerleading and softball coach in the Glen Cove Junior sports leagues. She also has more than 20 years of work experience in advertising and digital media.
Jenkins, a graduate of Glen Cove High School, is currently a board member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame as well as a marketing and committee member for the New York Metro Chapter of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. She holds a bachelor's degree in finance from SUNY Old Westbury.
She is married to David Jenkins and they have three children: Kylie, 7, Finn, 4, and Dylan, 3. Kylie is a second grader at Gribbin and Finn will attend kindergarten at Gribbin in the fall.
Patch: Why are you running for the school board?
Roni Jenkins: I'm running because I have an invested interest in this community. I went through the Glen Cove school system and I have three young children who will go through the school system here as well. I'm also running because I have the financial experience that is necessary to manage the school budget and I think will I bring a unique skill set, in terms of marketing and public relations expertise, to the school board, which I think is lacking on the board right now.
P: How can you help to improve the school board?
RJ: I think there's definitely a need for improvement in listening and transparency on the school board and I can help with that. The public needs to be informed properly about the decisions that the school board is making and a lot of the questions that come up about the budget each year are all related to transparency. I think educating the public about what's happening in the district is key and I would like to see more of that on the school board.
P: What programs or initiatives would you push for in the district?
RJ: At this point, this school district is facing a difficult economic climate and I know we are hindered in what our wish list would be versus what is actually possible. However, in addition to supporting the programs and activities that we have now, I would also push for advances in technology because that is the future. Continuing to make sure that our schools are ahead of the curve in technology would be a priority for me.
P: What are your thoughts about the proposed 2010-11 budget?
RJ: The board was faced with incredibly difficult decisions across the board with the budget this year and I wholeheartedly trust that the board members made the best decisions that they could given the current economic situation. However, this should have been communicated better to the public. A lot of the issues and emotional pleas that came out during the budget discussions at the school board meetings this year should have been addressed more clearly, and could have been addressed more clearly if an explanation was given to the public as to why certain decisions in the budget were made. Residents need to know what's going on.
P: You're a challenger, so why should voters opt for you?
RJ: I believe that the school board should be managed like a socially and fiscally responsible corporation. My professional, personal and community work experience demonstrates that I have the leadership, financial skills and dedication to be an effective board member. In addition, I want to help make sure that residents feel that they are being listened to and that their concerns are not falling on deaf ears.
For more information about Jenkins, visit her Web site.