Dr. Tanya Dragic
Board Vice President
I moved to Hartsdale in 2009 because I wanted to live in a diverse community. My two older children are in college and my youngest attends a neighboring public high school due to a shared custody arrangement. Some of the most important years of my childhood were spent in Greenburgh, where I thrived in its schools.
I received an International Baccalaureate from the American School of Paris, and eventually a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Paris. The fi rst 12 years of my career were dedicated to research and teaching graduate and medical students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY). For the past eight years, I have worked as a grant consultant for private and nonprofit research institutions. I bring a fresh and unobstructed outlook to GCSD. Moreover, I believe that the best groups meld diverse expertise and viewpoints. My competence is in the fi eld of preparedness for higher learning. My main strength is that I quickly form an integrated picture of problems and possible solutions. I am also a good listener and a consensus builder.
As a result of my father’s work in the United Nations, I have lived in four countries across three continents, including Africa and Europe. It is through my travels and my family values that I learned the importance of contributing to community. For that reason, I joined the Hartsdale Neighbors Association, where I was drawn to education-related issues. I made a significant effort to learn about the challenges GCSD has faced over the decades. For a variety of reasons, I was not in favor of the consolidation bond. However, I want to spearhead a future effort to provide our children with safe, reliable buildings that are conducive to modern learning.
What are the top three challenges facing our school district?
In my view, the top three challenges facing our school district are:
- Enabling students to succeed at all levels: I know well the skills that are required for academic and career success. Students at all levels should develop these skills. For that, we need programs that maximally engage children and the support of their parents. We should aim for outstanding educational outcomes, as determined by rigorous national metrics. GCSD is already making strides in implementing such programs, and I would like to maintain and build that momentum. I would also like to aid the development of a fi rst-rate science research program in Woodlands High School, including participation in state and national science fairs.
- Comprehensive community education and engagement: Schools are the heart and soul of a community. Yet, families with children are not moving into the District in signifi cant numbers, while many in the District opt for private schools. The only way for GCSD to bridge these divides is by developing more robust community outreach that would also galvanize residents without children. This would mean openly addressing successes as well as challenges and inviting input from the community. To that end, BOE meetings should be more “user-friendly”, GCSD news-letters should reach every household, residents should be invited to join e-mailing lists and social media outlets. Let’s also get more volunteers and businesses to help our schools!
- Fiscal transparency and accountability: It’s important to learn from experience. The recent bond failure says that many Greenburgh residents have lost faith in their school district. A trust-building initiative is in order! Future budgets and bonds need to be presented in informative, transparent ways. For example, the District should go the extra mile to explain the 2019/20 proposed budget. How do we compare to other districts? What specifi c programs are we funding? How well are they working? What staff are we supporting and why? Such efforts will go a long way in bringing the community on board regarding school spending.
How would you like to address those challenges?
I care deeply about public education because it is the only road to social justice and to ensuring the economic success of our children. I would like to improve GCSD by bringing a fresh outlook, new expertise and alternative viewpoints to its Board of Education. I am a higher education expert, and a problemsolver by training. The nature of my work provides fl exibility in my schedule, giving me time for meetings and community outreach. My goal is to see Greenburgh become a vibrant, suburban destination for young families as a result of its diverse and successful school system, one that is supported and used by the whole community.