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Meet Oxford’s school board hopefuls

OXFORD – Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Oxford Academy and Central School Board. The positions up for grabs are those of incumbents Gene Rood and Mary Branham, both of whom are running for re-election. They face opposition, however, by way of challenger Julie Gates.

In the order they will appear on the ballot, those candidates are:

Gene Rood

Gene Rood is seeking his third term on the Oxford’s Board of Education.

“I’d like to continue providing my time, energy and talent towards keeping Oxford Academy & Central School vital and academically strong,” the Oxford native said.

During his tenure on the board, Rood says he’s learned the position is time consuming, frustrating, complicated, challenging and interesting.”

“Being a board member is balancing resources, while still trying to maintain quality programs for students; academically, socially and morally,” he explained. “Being a board member is supporting (and) attending the sports, National Honor Society, Class plays, music and arts programs.”

His favorite part? Shaking the hands of graduating seniors as they receive their diplomas.

In addition to serving on the Oxford Board of Education, Rood sits on the board of directors of the Norwich Family YMCA and serves on the Village of Oxford’s Wastewater Commission.

A professional engineer by trade, Rood is treasurer of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Ithaca Section. Through the group’s student chapter, he occasionally works with civil and environmental engineering students at Cornell.

In the budget issue of the Blackhawk Bulletin, Oxford’s district newsletter, the veteran school board member talks about the “fun” parts of the job, and all that he has learned over the last six years. He also describes his frustrations with the state’s laws and policies concerning education and Albany’s “inability to provide solid fiscal guidance” for schools.

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