VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Newly elected Valhalla School Board member Anthony C. Amiano is just two years removed from being a student in the district he will now help lead.
Amiano, 20, a 2011 Valhalla High School graduate who just completed his junior year at Manhattan College, was elected Tuesday over incumbent Alan Higgs.
"My hope is to that I can offer a fresh prospective on the Valhalla School District from someone who is a recent product of the system," said Amiano, who is studying communications and political science at Manhattan. "I have always been interested in politics -- attended local board meetings growing up -- and I know it is important to have a variety of viewpoints on boards."
Valhalla Schools Superintendent Dr. Brenda Myers said Amiano can connect with students as a board member.
"Anthony shares the Board’s commitment to 'putting students first.'," Myers said. "His experience as a recent Valhalla graduate will give him an interesting window into the needs of our students."
Amiano may be the youngest elected official in Westchester County, and is among the youngest in all New York State.
County Executive Rob Astorino was first elected to the neighboring Mount Pleasant School Board of Education at the age of 21. Astorino is now the Republican Party nominee and will oppose Governor Andrew Cuomo in the November election.
Amiano said he is most concerned with the fiscal stress on public schools and how to offer excellent education in a changing world.
"The budgets are stretched with salaries, benefits and other costs (up to 75 percent) and the Common Core and other mandates can leave a district with less money to spend in other areas," Amiano said. "I hope I can add some input on how we can deal with these challenges as one of seven members on the board."
The newest Valhalla School Board Trustee is also a Legislative Aide at the Westchester County Board of Legislators for county Legislator Michael Smith.
"In Westchester County, it is very unusual to see School Board members younger than 40 years old," Legislaro Smith said. "With all the dynamic changes in education such as the roll out of Common Core, the voice of someone who has recently been directly impacted by these changes is extraordinarily important."
Smith said Amiano can relate to the practical aspects of school operations, administration and execution in a way significantly different than someone older than 40 years old.
"A true diversity of respectful voices and community based visions on a school board is something that should just about always be sought after," Smith said. "I expect that Anthony's passion will be a welcome addition to the Valhalla School Board. "