Valerie Phillips & Mauri Zemachson

Scarsdale Inquirer April 10, 2021


Dugan, Resnick-Ault have traits and skills needed for BOE


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To the Editor:


It is with great pleasure that we endorse Jim Dugan and Jessica Resnick-Ault, the Scarsdale School Board Nominating Committee’s (SBNC) slated candidates, for election to the Scarsdale School District’s Board of Education.


After evaluating candidate presentations, conducting and reviewing due diligence, and much discussion, the duly elected SBNC selected Jessica and Jim. As elected members of the SBNC, we proudly stand by the thoughtful work of our committee. So convinced are we of Jessica’s and Jim’s qualifications that we are delighted to announce our commitment, as private citizens, to co-chair the campaign to elect the SBNC slate to the school board.


We believe that many traits have the potential to make a candidate a strong addition to a board — and, in particular, to our school district board of education. Among them are leadership experience, temperament, skills born of professional experience, demonstrated commitment to volunteerism, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, collaborative spirit and the ability to be an active listener. Especially in a year that has been so fraught due to the broad-reaching effects of a global pandemic, the ability to gather data from diverse stakeholders with varied (and sometimes diametrically opposed) interests and use that information to rebuild trust and consensus is particularly critical.


Jim is a longstanding volunteer in our community, an accomplished litigation partner at a top firm who has always made time to champion worthy pro bono causes, and a father to three Scarsdale students.


Jessica is an award-winning journalist and author with 20 years’ experience, the founder of Bake Back America’s Grant a Wish List program, and a single mother to a current student in the district. And those descriptions barely scratch the surface; we are confident that you will hear in the coming weeks numerous testaments to their character and the attributes that make them valuable and much-needed voices to have on the school board.


A hot debate in the recruiting profession is whether it’s better to hire for the skills or to hire for the attitude and teach the skills. In Jim’s and Jessica’s case, we do not have to choose between attitude and skills. They are individuals of character — both leaders in their profession (with résumés that complement one another and the other five board members) with demonstrated commitment to community voluntarism. They are both keenly intelligent, kind, thoughtful, curious, respectful, fiercely honest and tremendously hardworking. All of these attributes (and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list) would make them tremendous assets to the Scarsdale Board of Education.


Please mark your calendars to elect Jim and Jessica to the Scarsdale Board of Education on Tuesday, May 18.


Valerie Phillips

Mauri Zemachson


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