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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Candidate Profile: Anthony Mangione & Alexis Fliller

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Anthony Mangione and Alexis Fliller

Anthony Mangione and Alexis Fliller are running for the Mt. Sinai School District Board of Education.

 He is a certified public accountant of 15 years, attending NYIT and graduating from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. He played two winter ball seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies in the Dominican Republic. Mangione has volunteered for the ‘Challenger Division’ in the local Little League, helping to bring it to his town. The organization, which he aided in the formation of locally, helps handicapped youths play baseball by providing them a mentor and volunteer.

Mangione has one son in second grade and another son entering Pre-K through the district next year.

Alexis Fliller spent most of her career in hospitality as a hotel manager. Eventually, her career took a different route, becoming a property manager before taking on her current role as a business manager for the Diocese of Rockville Center. The career change afforded her a more favorable work-life balance.

Fliller has one son in second grade.

They are running for seats currently held by Lisa Pfeffer and AnnMarie Henninger, who they will most likely face during the election. However, candidates have until April 18 to submit petitions, meaning additional candidates could be vying for the same seats.

Like many candidates, they were both prompted to run following the past two years of Covid. Referring to board meetings that happened in 2021, they noticed “seeing that there was this large group of parents,” but “it seemed that their voices weren’t being heard.”

“It seemed like the votes happening in the district were all unanimous,” said Mangione. “There was never really one holdout or someone that seemed to be fighting for the children with these mandates.”

“We know you can’t change what’s happening in Albany,” he added, “but you can show a little more effort as a local board.“

Fliller expressed the same sentiment, a thematic link shared amongst many other school board campaigns throughout Suffolk County: “We felt like no one was fighting for us.”

“Even if it was only one (board member), we would’ve known we had a voice on the board,” said Fliller.

“I know, for myself, that that’s what motivated me to run.” In terms of programs offered by Mt. Sinai, both candidates criticized the social studies and science programs at elementary school. They would both also like to see an increase in the number of enrichment programs on the elementary school level and honors programs for the upper-level students.

“We are definitely in favor of the special education programs as well,” noted Mangione. Fliller added that special education programs are necessary for “inclusivity.”

In terms of the district’s handling of Covid, they were united but offered slightly different answers. “I would answer that question on a go-forward basis,” answered Mangione. “We were all learning as we were going, and that was never an argument I had to the board members; that was never an issue.”

“My issue was more, ‘why aren’t you joining the lawsuit with Locust Valley?’ when you have 50-60 parents coming to every board meeting,” said Mangione.

As a result of how the district proceeded, Mangione and Fliller would like to see a ‘legislative committee’ and ‘after-action committee’ to gauge district responses and past responses on actions taken, such as joining lawsuits.

Fliller was slightly more critical of actions taken during the past two years, saying, “We should’ve done what some of the other school districts were doing.”

 She later went on to emphasize that all parents, including herself, wanted during much of the pandemic, especially parts when case counts were low, was a choice in terms of masking.

[Editor’s Note: This does not constitute an endorsement. Following April 18, we will follow up with any additional candidates and offer them either the opportunity to do a candidate profile interview or to fill out a questionnaire. For a side-by-side comparison, visit www.messengerpapers.com]

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