Coffin, Shillinglaw run to keep seats

NEW SCOTLAND — Two seats are up for election on Voorheesville’s school board and one on the library board.

Incumbents C. James Coffin is running to keep his school board seat, and, likewise, Janna Shillinglaw is running to stay on the library board. The other school board incumbent whose seat is up for election, Cheryl Dozier, did not return calls.

Petitions for challengers are available at the school district office and at the library. They must be returned by April 17 with at least 25 signatures. The posts are unpaid. Voters will have their say on Tuesday, May 16, when they also vote on school and library budgets.

Dozier, who was elected school board president in July, is completing her ninth year on the board, five of them as vice president.

Dozier is an associate professor in the department of literacy teaching and learning at the University at Albany. Teaching at the master’s level, she prepares students to be literacy specialists and teach literacy. Working with these prospective teachers, Dozier teaches practicing courses that often involve handling families and children. Dozier also taught in a Poughkeepsie elementary school and an Arlington middle school — both in Dutchess County.

C. James Coffin was first elected in the school board in 1989. He was beaten in one election but, when that candidate resigned, he was reappointed and has been re-elected ever since.

He and his wife have two grown children who are both Voorheesville graduates.

“I’ve got experience,” said Coffin, who at 74 has retired from a 32-year career with the State Education Department. He started his work for the education department in 1967 where, for two decades he was involved with school facilities — expertise he believes will be useful for Voorheesville as it plans a capital project. “We’ve been kicking it around the last several months,” he said.

“I’m familiar with construction, especially the financial side,” said Coffin.

He concluded of being on the board, “It’s something I enjoy, and I’m well qualified.”


At the Voorheesville Public Library, Janna Shillinglaw is up for re-election.

Shillinglaw is currently the president of the five-member board. She works for the state’s Department of Civil Service and is also a real estate broker/owner. She has leadership roles in the Kiwanis and the Voorheesville Community and School Foundation, and is on the board at Albany County Rural House Alliance.

“One of the accomplishments of the library that I am most proud of is the increase in STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] programming and digital resources for all ages at the library, including the addition of a laptop computer lab and 3D printer,” Shillinglaw wrote in an email, responding to Enterprise questions. “Additionally, I am proud of our Summer Reading program...I also love our teen volunteer program!”

She also said, “For the work on the board, the trustees have worked together to present voters with a lower budget the last two years while supporting much needed improvements at the library such as a roof, increased lighting and security, and sidewalk replacement.”

Asked about her goals if she were elected to another term, Shillinglaw said, “I am excited for VPL’s dynamic staff to continue to provide diversified, innovative and quality programs and services both inside and outside the library walls. We will continue to look for ways to improve our patrons’ experiences at the library and strengthen our community outreach by participating in events like the Voorheesville Family Bicycling Day.

“Additionally, the board will explore options on how to meet the high demand for our little space by creating a building committee. Lastly, we will be replacing the parking lot, a much needed improvement, and the cost will be supplemented in part by a grant.”


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