Bethlehem A to Z heading

Board of Education

The Bethlehem Central Board of Education is composed of seven members who serve three-year terms. Members are elected by the voters in the district to establish policy and direct the administration of our schools. As your representatives, the Board exercises the community's rights to citizen control over public education. Every Board of Education in the State of New York has legal and financial control over local school matters, subject only to limitations imposed by the United States Constitution, federal law, state law, regulations of the Commissioner of Education and, of course, the will of local residents as expressed in local elections.

 

Photo of Matt DowneyMatt Downey, President

Term: July 1, 2014-June 30, 2017

Matt was first elected to the Board in 2008. He and his wife, Debra, have two children: Peter, a BCHS graduate who attends Hudson Valley Community College; and Laura, a senior at BCHS. They have lived in Bethlehem since 1991. Matt graduated from Siena College with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Accounting. For the past 20-plus years, Matt has held various positions in New York State agencies. He is currently a member of the executive staff at New York State Higher Education Services Corporation serving as Senior Vice President and Audit Director. Matt is a former board member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Albany County and the Bethlehem Soccer Club.

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Charmaine Wijeyesinghe, Vice President

Term: July 1, 2012-June 30, 2015Picture of Charmaine Wijeyesinghe

Charmaine L. Wijeyesinghe was first elected to the Board in May of 2009. She and her husband, Christian Lietzau, have lived in Delmar for over 17 years and have two children, Andreas, who is a junior at the high school and Rebecca, who is currently in eighth grade at the middle school. Charmaine received her Bachelor of Science, Master of Education, and Doctorate of Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her professional background includes several positions at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Dean of Students at Mount Holyoke College, and National Program Consultant for the National Conference for Community and Justice (NYC). Charmaine has been a consultant on issues of social justice and organizational development for over 30 years. She lectures at colleges and universities around the country on issues of race, multiracial identity, and other social issues. Charmaine has published two edited volumes on racial identity and several other book chapters and articles. Before her election to the Board of Education, she served on the Board of the Elsmere PTA for four years.

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Christine Beck

Term: July 1, 2014-June 30, 2017

Christine was first elected to the Board of Education in 2014. She and her husband Peter have been district residents since 2001 and have three children: Kyle, a senior at BCHS; Delaney, a ninth grade student at BCHS and Aidan, who is in the seventh grade at BCMS. Christine is currently a Senior Internal Auditor for Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, Glenmont. She has over 20-years of Property & Casualty experience and has held various positions at Farm Family Insurance and Progressive Insurance Company. Christine was treasurer of the Glenmont, PTA and is an active volunteer in the community. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Human Resource Management from SUNY Oswego, a paralegal degree from Adelphi University and holds the following insurance designations, FCLA, SCLA, CCLA and PCLA.

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Pic of Michael Coopermichael w. Cooper

Term: July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2016

Michael Cooper was first elected to the Board of Education in May 2010. He is the director of publications at The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. A district resident for 25 years, Michael and his wife, Laura, have two children, Brian, who graduated from New York University and works for Adafruit, Inc. in New York City, and Alex, who graduated in 2010 from BCHS and is currently attending the University at Binghamton.

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Joanne CunninghamInset photo

Term: July 1, 2014-June 30, 2017

Joanne was appointed to the Board in August 2013 to fill an unexpired term and began her first full term on July 1, 2014. She and her husband Brent Meredith have lived in the District for 13 years and have four children attending BC schools (two at the high school, one at the middle school and one at Hamagrael Elementary). Joanne is currently the President of the Home Care Association of New York State, and has held association leadership positions at the Healthcare Trustees of New York State and the Healthcare Association of New York State. In addition, she also has held various positions in the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and in the Washington, DC office of former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer. Joanne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from SUNY Potsdam and a Master of Health Science degree in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. She also has completed an executive leadership program at the Harvard Business School.

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Lynne L. LenhardtPicture of Lynne Lenhardt

Term: July 1, 2012-June 30, 2015

Lynne L. Lenhardt was first elected to the Bethlehem Central Board of Education in 1988 and has served as president and vice president. She has also been a member of the Capital Region BOCES Board since 1997, also leading that board as president and vice president. She is also on the Tech Valley High School Operating Board. Lynne was elected to the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) Board of Directors in 2001 representing about 70 school districts in seven counties in the greater Capital Region. In 2013, she was elected President of NYSSBA and is currently serving in that capacity. Prior to her election to the board, Lynne served as president of the Slingerlands PTA. Lynne received a master’s degree from the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and formerly taught high school social studies. She also worked as an adjunct college instructor of mathematics and worked in the New York State Legislature. Presently, she is a substitute teacher and does private math tutoring. Lynne lives in Delmar with her husband George and they have two grown children, Brian and Kimberly. 

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Photo of Diane SteverDiane Giacone Stever

Term: July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2016

Diane Giacone Stever was first elected to the Board of Education in May 2007. A lifelong district resident, she has been a special education teacher for Questar III BOCES for 19 years, and, with her husband Pat, has been a local business owner (Andriano's Pizza) for 12 years. She is a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and a former member of Bethlehem Business Women. Diane has been involved in numerous local fundraisers. She holds a bachelor's degree from SUNY Brockport and a master's degree from The College of St. Rose. Diane has three children: Sean, 19-years-old and a student at the University at Albany; Katie, an eighth grade student at BCMS; and Samantha, who is in sixth grade at BCMS.

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