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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Candidate Profile: Angela Kouvel

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Angela Kouvel is running for Smithtown Central School District’s (SCSD) board of education (BOE). She has two children. Like many newer BOE candidates, Kouvel was invigorated to run two years ago. She started her campaign as a candidate that would advocate for “fiscal responsibility,” “parent voice and choice,” as well as “curriculum transparency” if elected. Kouvel is the wife of a police officer. They moved to Smithtown from Deer Park for the School District.

In terms of programs, Kouvel expressed concern about what she alleges is a discontinuation of the honors and enrichment programs. “I’d want to see the honors program come back for the middle school and the enrichment programs come back at the elementary schools,” said Kouvel.

In her own daughter’s education, she expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of opportunities for accelerating her education as older children had experienced.

Additionally, she would like to see more opportunities for technical learning, such as woodshop and other hands-on learning.

Kouvel expressed concern over the curriculum, specifically the curriculum covering sexuality and potential legislation in Albany. The legislation Kouvel is referring to is senate bill S2584A, which seeks to add “comprehensive sexuality education” grade Kindergarten to twelfth grade.

 “… maybe at the end of middle school, early high school begin to introduce it (sexual education curriculum); but I don’t think fifth graders need to be introduced to much about sexuality,” stated Kouvel.

“Critical Race Theory” is another topic that concerns Kouvel as the wife of a police officer. She views it as interwoven with “DEI” (diversity, equity and inclusion) goals, now popular in public and private sector discourse. She expressed concern over its implementation in the classroom and how it might present topics.

When asked about Covid and how she would have handled the situation differently, given that her policy preferences would have been those implemented, Kouvel offered up many critiques for how the district responded to Covid, especially to later-Covid surges.

“I definitely would have made it a parent choice for masks,” said Kouvel, assuming the state would have allowed it. “I would’ve jumped on the lawsuits” that were filed against the various state orders, noted Kouvel.

In terms of virtual meetings, especially those of late 2021 and early 2022, Kouvel described them as “ridiculous.” “We are adults, and we are parents,” said Kouvel. “Every other school district across the island was going virtual, and we were going virtual.”

Responding to allegations that she is anti-teacher, Kouvel plainly stated that “I am not anti-teacher” before listing the many teachers she and her children had positive interactions with over the years in the district. “My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are teachers; they work very hard,” said Kouvel. “I’m the furthest thing from anti-teacher.”

[Editor’s note: This article does not constitute an endorsement. All interviewees are asked a standard set of questions, with their responses recorded and parceled through for relevant information. At times, additional questions are asked if a topic requires elaboration. Charles Fisher, another candidate, will have their candidate profile featured on April 22. Incumbents Michael Saidens and Michael Catalano will be featured on April 29, through a questionnaire.]

Brian R. Monahan
Brian R. Monahan
News Editor for The Messenger Papers.