MANCHESTER - Two school board seats are in play during this town meeting election cycle, and one of them - a 2-year position - has attracted two candidates who have been to this point before.

Mark Kaplan and Stephen Murphy ran against each other three years ago and show admiration for one another. However, both ended up losing in that years' election.

A 3-year seat is also up for grabs, but only one candidate, Brian Vogel, a current member of the school board who is vacating the 2-year post being sought by Kaplan and Murphy, is running for that position.

Both candidates decided to run for the 2-year seat instead of the 3-year post because they would both be first time members of the school board and see two years as a good place to begin.

"I thought two years is a good starting point for myself being new to the school board," said Kaplan. "A two year commitment seemed like it was right for me as a first time board member if I was to be elected."

Murphy said that since this would be his first time on the school board that it would be best to run for the 2-year seat as well.

"If this is going to be the first time on the board I thought a 2-year seat would make more sense," he said. "If it turns out that it doesn't suit my temperament or I'm not doing a good job it is easier to fulfill an obligation of two years. In two years I will evaluate and I can make that decision then."

Kaplan, who moved to Manchester in 2001, said the job opportunities the area had to offer him attracted him and his wife.


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He has two children that currently attend Manchester Elementary Middle School, which played a large role in wanting to run, he said.

"I have two children both at MEMS. I have a 4 four-year old in pre-K and a eight year-old in second grade, which plays a factor in me wanting to run, but I also want to look out for all the kids in the community," he said. "We are very fond with the level of education they are getting and I would like to go in and help improve where there are some potentially improvements."

Murphy, along with his family, moved to Manchester in 2005 and pointed to the beauty of the area, not unlike New Zealand where he had lived previously, as a deciding factor along with a strong school system. He has three children, a 15 year-old at Burr and Burton Academy, a 13 year- old at Long Trail School, and an 11 year-old at MEMS.

"I like the civility and pace of Manchester. I like the willingness of people who take a chance on things. I was fortunate enough to move up here and get a job in New York City that allowed me to telecommute," he said. "I thought with my 11 year-old in sixth grade it would be good to get more involved not just in his schooling, but help every student that I can."

Kaplan does have some previous board experience that he believes will help him as a school board member if elected. He served on the Northshire Day School Board of Trustees for a number of years along with being the treasurer of the Northshire Youth Hockey Association.

Kaplan is currently still the treasurer of the Northshire Youth Hockey Association but left the Northshire Day School Board of Trustees in order to run for the Manchester School Board post, he said.

Murphy spent 15 years working on the New York Stock Exchange. He was on numerous boards during that time including the Independent Brokerage Association, the Floor Brokerage Alliance, and a technology board and a rules-making committee on the stock exchange that he said allowed for analyses of people's strengths and weaknesses, their motivations and how to adjust, adapt and work with them.

Both candidates believe that they will bring a passion for improving education and they each have something to offer to the School Board if elected.

"I am very level-headed, fiscally responsible, I take it all in before I make a judgment," said Kaplan. "I am not quick to jump on anything without doing some research and gaining some knowledge on what my position is and I feel comfortable with whatever the topic might be."

Along the same line Murphy said, "I do want to see a little more consensual decision making at least after proper vetting of the issues and I have a very strong belief in fiscal responsibility without sacrificing education."

The school floor meeting will take place on Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. and balloting will begin on Tuesday, March 5 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.