Board of Education Candidates

  • Jim Culyer Jim Culyer

    Jim Culyer moved to Rye 37 years ago, with his wife (Cathy Amendola, RHS Class of ’75). All three of their children attended Rye Schools from Midland Elementary School through Rye Middle School and graduated from Rye High School. Jim has six Grandchildren, two of which are currently attending Midland Elementary School, a grandson is at CCNS and three grandchildren living in Virginia.  As an active Rye parent, Jim was involved with Rye United Way, Rye Little League, Rye Girls   Sports, Rye Boy Scouts, Midland School Fair, and the Sports Booster Clubs at the High School level. Jim continued his community involvement with the Rye City School District serving on their facilities committee as well as their technology committee; while serving four (4) elected terms to the RCSD Board of Education.

    “The COVID 19 virus pandemic has brought to the RCSD, as well as everyone, new and different challenges. I am experienced and uniquely qualified, having previously served on the Rye City School District Board of Education for twelve (12) years. I served as BoE Vice President for two (2) years and also as Board of Education President for four (4) years. I am prepared to assist in meeting these challenges of COVID19 as well as any other situations head on.  With today’s uncertainty in Education, I believe these skills, with proven leadership, are necessary to help maintain the quality education our children in Rye deserve while maintaining healthy financial stability.”


    Vivek Kamath

    Vivek Kamath

    Vivek Kamath has lived in Rye for 3 years. He has a young daughter that attends RPNS and his wife of almost 10 years is a pediatric gastroenterologist.  Vivek is a Partner and Managing Director at Tyton Partners, a specialized advisory firm that serves clients across the education, information and media markets within the global knowledge sector.  He has over 20 years of experience as an investment banker focused on representing clients in the for-profit and non-profit sector that serve the K-12, higher education and corporate training market segments.  He holds a BS from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.  Vivek is an active member, speaker and participant in many of the leading education technology conferences in the world.

    "I am a strong proponent of the public education system and I want to build upon the success of Rye schools. I believe my expertise in finance and the education technology sector can be beneficial to the board as we navigate a new landscape post Covid-19.  Over the next several years there will likely be many difficult decisions to be made regarding the budget and the prioritization of resources, and I believe my background will help solve these challenges and help create opportunities that everyone in the district will benefit from. This includes a commitment to providing effective professional development for our teachers, leveraging data and analytics to improve student achievement and increasing productivity within the schools through a deeper use of technology. I believe the best education system will benefit not only our children but everyone in Rye."    


    Pootcha Pooja Kotecha

    Pooja Kotecha has lived in Rye for the last 4 years with her husband and a child attending Midland School. She has served on Midland’s Exec PTO Board as ‘Midland Express Editor’ and also served on the District’s Technology Committee.  Pooja has about 20 years of software engineering experience. She is currently working at Medidata Solutions as Senior Director of Engineering leading a global team of engineers and testers to develop a cloud-based mobile platform for clinical trials. She has been an author on 8 patents on software algorithms. Pooja has a BE in Computer Engineering from L.D. College of Engineering (Gujarat, India) and an MS in Computer Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology.

    “I have always been passionate about quality public education. I believe that every child has the potential to be a great learner when we nurture his/her abilities and provide a variety of opportunities to develop skills. With my technology background as well as leadership and management experience, I am confident I can be a strong advocate in addressing the Rye community’s educational needs both for the present and for the future. I can bring innovative ideas, help build consensus in decision making and work effectively as a team with other board members and the administration. In the midst of the worst public health crisis of a generation, and with talks at the state level for reimagining and revolutionizing education with technology at the forefront, I can be an asset to our district helping navigate these very important issues at a critical time.”

    John Leonard John Leonard

    John Leonard has been a Rye taxpayer and homeowner for 42 years, and resident 25 years, returning home in 2012 after London employment that began in 1994. John has 42 years of financial services experience with Brown Brothers Harriman, Salomon Brothers/Citigroup, and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers/BlackRock as a banking officer, senior equity analyst, and equity portfolio manager. His expertise includes financial governance and strategic evaluation. John serves as Treasurer of the Rye Historical Society, and on its Buildings and Grounds Committee. He also enjoys gardening, and choral roles in New York with the Blue Hill Troupe (volunteer musical theater productions to benefit charities). John received an AB from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard.

    “I know and strongly support quality public education, both from my own education, and from what Rye gave our son and our tenants’ children. To continue this, particularly today, I’d like to strengthen and diversify the Board to fairly balance all relevant interests –  taxpayers and community, as well as current parents and staff.  Second, from six prior financial crises, I can help separate ‘essential’  spending from ‘desirable’ and ‘nice’ outlays. The first must continue, the second can wait, and the third shouldn’t be funded by compulsory taxation at all. With the right governance, we can restore the broad consensus support in the community that Rye schools have historically enjoyed.”



    Petra Nemeth

    Petra Nemeth

    Petra Nemeth has lived in Rye for 6 years and has two children at RHS and one child at RMS.  Over the years Petra has served in various functions e.g. the RCSD Wellness Committee, Midland’s Excellence Team, the Green and Healthy Food Committees. She also helped plan two Rye Middle School Expos.  Petra is a Type 1 Diabetes advocate.

    As Executive Director for Mentora Institute, a leadership development firm, Petra leads its Coaching Practice and focuses on the institute’s educational clients. She also has experience with operations, branding and strategy of media companies such as Time Inc’s This Old House Ventures, Bertelsmann and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, for which she has held various VP roles. Previously she was a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group and an investigative TV journalist back in Germany where she grew up.  She holds an MBA from the Wharton School at UPenn and an MA in Comparative Literature from Indiana University.  Petra actively practices karate and meditation.

    “I have always had a relentless desire to deconstruct learning and yet I have come to realize that the greatest service is to empower the next generation, our kids’ generation, so they can solve the many challenges we will be leaving behind for them.  For this we need to provide our students the tools they need to succeed as they mature on their paths and pursuits of their yet to be discovered causes. I would be honored to serve on the BOE and to offer my experiences as former school trustee, as leadership professional to other educational institutions and as someone who has been teaching and coaching actively on digital platforms for 8 years.  Let us inspire our students with the belief they can be the change they want to see.”


    Mia Schultz

    Mia Schultz is a 24-year Rye resident and alumnus of Rye Schools-- Midland, Rye Middle School, and Rye High School.  She has two degrees from New York University, a BA in Anthropology followed by an Accelerated Post-Baccalaureate Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Before returning to school to pursue nursing, Mia worked in Public Health at the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, and in marketing at Direct Wines in Norwalk, CT. 

    Mia began her career in nursing in acute inpatient critical care as a Cardiopulmonary Nurse at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco. She joined the staff at The Osborn in post-acute care and Infection Control and Prevention, and then became Clinical Information Systems Specialist, a position that uses technology and data analysis in support of quality assurance and improved decisions by clinicians and administrators. She has two children, a son in Kindergarten at Milton and a daughter at the Community Synagogue of Rye Early Childhood Center.

    “As we engage with the new realities of education in this time of pandemic, I believe a strong background in medicine and infection control would be an asset to the Board of Education. The continued success of our schools will require flexibility, creativity, and experimentation to assure safe instruction in a time of scarce State funding. I look forward to serving the board and my community as a resource to help coordinate, synthesize, and communicate vital information about public health throughout this difficult period and beyond. I am a strong believer in active civic engagement and am committed to helping every student achieve access to excellent education, every teacher optimal professional development and growth, and every community member a voice in the process.”

    Tom Stein

    Tom Stein

    Tom Stein is in his third year in Rye and will have two children at Osborn in the fall, with a third at Rye Pres and Nature Center. An attorney and business executive, Tom is currently the Deputy General Counsel for CLEAR, where he leads legal operations for new verticals.  He was previously with American Express where he had respective roles as a senior counsel, a global general manager and a business development executive. Prior to that, he was with the law firm of Proskauer Rose. He has served as a Board Member for the Terra Incognita Theater and a Manhattan co-op and has significant experience advising boards in a professional capacity. He has a JD from the New York University School of Law.

    "Our schools are Rye’s most precious asset and I would welcome the opportunity to serve the community by bringing my professional experience to provide support, advice, independence and oversight to the School Administration and the City of Rye, especially in these challenging times. I have significant experience serving on and advising Boards and was additionally motivated to serve when I learned the School Board’s lone attorney would be stepping down, as I believe my legal expertise can be an asset for the school and community."