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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 23, 2009

At BKW, Anderson Challenges Harlow

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — As the May 19 school-board election approaches, incumbent John “Jack” Harlow will be challenged by long-time Berne resident and Berne-Knox-Westerlo budget advisor, Carolyn Anderson.

Harlow, 66, a retired mechanical engineer who got his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, has served on the school board since 2000, though he left the board for the 2005-06 school year. He reclaimed his seat on the board in 2006, for a three-year term that expires on June 30.

Harlow told The Enterprise earlier this month that he is an “advocate for educational excellence,” and that he believes his presence on the school board is a benefit to the district.

His goals on the school board, should he be re-elected, “relate primarily to the hiring of administrative personnel,” he said. “That includes hiring an excellent secondary-school principal.”

[For more information on John “Jack” Harlow, go to www.altamontenterprise.com, and look under archives for April 2, 2009.]


Carolyn Anderson, 58, of Berne, calls herself “an exceptional communicator,” and “a highly effective mediator.” These attributes, coupled with her background in management of employee benefits, make her a well-rounded candidate for the school board, she said.

“As a retiree, I am keenly aware of the burden of taxes and the impact on our residents, particularly those on a fixed income,” Anderson told The Enterprise in an e-mail this week. “The board of education must ensure that every penny is used wisely, while providing the best education.”

Anderson attended Utah State University, and has continued her studies in accounting at The College of St. Rose, where she is an advisory board member for the certified employee benefit specialist program.

Before retiring, Anderson was vice president and manager of Banknorth’s employee benefit trust division for 15 years, was chairperson of the New York Cooperative Insurance Association Defined Benefit Trust, was director of the New York Employee Benefit Conference for 20 years, and was chairperson of an insurance plan covering over 300 companies within the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, she said. She is also treasurer of the Berne library.

Anderson, her husband, Boyd, and their two sons, Steve and Doug, moved to Berne in 1982. Her sons are both BKW graduates, and two of her grandsons are currently students at BKW.

For the past year, she has worked as a volunteer on the district’s budget advisory committee.

“Since joining the committee, I have gained a sound appreciation of the district's accomplishments and challenges,” she said. “I made significant contributions in the development of a zero-percent tax-levy increase for the 2009-10 budget. I knew, upon conclusion of this session, that I would provide a unique perspective and skill set to the school board if given the opportunity.”

One of Anderson’s goals, if elected to the school board, would be to solve the district’s problem with bullying among students, she said.

“Violence and bullying in the school must be dealt with more effectively, to ensure that our students and staff are safe and secure,” Anderson said. “Our students and staff need the tools necessary to eliminate inappropriate behavior. Although I believe the [school] board has made headway in the area of communication, I will strive to ensure that communication with parents, and with the community as a whole, is more timely and comprehensive. No parent should be asking, “Why didn't I know about this event when it happened?” she said.

Anderson sees this election as the next step in being a positive influence on her community.

“For quite some time, I have wished to more actively contribute to our community and to our schools,” Anderson said. “We need to quickly identify problems, develop solutions, and implement corrective plans. I will definitely be part of the solution.”

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