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West Islip Teachers' Association had the pleasure of sitting down with BOE candidate Anthony Tussie:


Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to make West Islip your home?


I am a 13 year resident of West Islip. I was born and raised nearby in Farmingdale.  I have been a teacher for twenty years. The last sixteen have been for the Hicksville Public Schools. In addition to teaching, I volunteer my time as a youth coach for soccer, tee-ball, basketball and volleyball.


When my wife and I were looking for a home to purchase, family and friends who lived here recommended West Islip (with its excellent schools), as a great place to raise kids. It didn't take long to find the home of our dreams. Thirteen years and four wonderful kids later, we can't imagine living anywhere else.


Why did you decide to run for Board of Education in West Islip?


I decided to run for BOE because of my children.  I love this town and my community.  A wise man once told me, the greatest emotional investment we will make in life is our children.  The greatest financial investment we will make is our home.  So to protect both we should invest in our schools.  That is exactly what I want to do.  I want to invest my energy, my time, and my love of education into our schools.

The school district is the lifeline of the community. With an increasing scarcity in resources, I think my experience as an educator will help in the difficult financial decisions with exactly how our education dollars can best be utilized.

What are the most pressing issues in public education for West Islip today?

The most pressing issue in public education for West Islip today is Covid-19 and what school will look like in September. How schools look in the "new normal" when we reopen is going to have a long-lasting impact on our kids, so we have to get it right. I am just heart-broken for our students, who have had to endure this disruption, and miss out on being in school with their friends and teachers for all of the celebrations we take for granted at the end of the year. The coronavirus has not only taken a physical toll on our kids, but also a social and emotional one.

My experience as both a health educator and a dad has made me passionate about children's mental health. Our children are facing more stressors today than we ever did.  Teaching children how to cope with stressors and their emotions is for their success. I believe schools need to focus on the social emotional child.  Should I be elected as Board Trustee, our kids' mental and emotional health will be a top priority. 

Which word would family, friends and colleagues use to describe you?

If someone were to describe me, the word they would most likely use is "joyful".  I am a very positive and outgoing person.  I truly love being around people, engaging in conversations, and seeking to lend a helping hand.  I am a compassionate person as well. I love to laugh and have fun with life.  Aside from my kids groaning at my corny "Dad" jokes, making people smile and feel good is definitely what I'm all about.

What are some things you and your family do for fun?

Our family loves to do things together. My children are very active in sports, including gymnastics, dance, soccer and lacrosse.  One of the things we love is when my wife and our kids attend one another's games to cheer each other on.  We also love doing things such as going to the beach, riding bikes, swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool, and in the evening, sitting around the fire pit roasting marshmallows.  December is one of our favorite months because it has been our tradition to visit Macy's SantaLand and see the tree at Rockefeller Center.

On a lighter note, I love sunsets and palm trees. I even purchased a tree for my backyard.  It's something about a palm tree that makes everything else in life a little bit better.

Do you have any special talents?

Do I have a special talent? I'm a dad of four girls. Whether I am painting nails, brushing hair, playing dress up or making tik tok videos with them, I am always sharing my love with my girls. They're the best and they bring out the best in me!

Who has had the most positive influence on you and why?

This question has a two-part answer. Who has been the most positive influence on me is different for two stages of my life; pre-marriage and post-marriage.

For my pre-marriage stage, my parents have been the most influential. They have helped mold me into the person I am today. I don't have enough time or space to explain how important a role they have played in my life. They have always been there for me, and still are today. My parents have always gone above and beyond for everyone around them.

For my post-marriage stage, the person who has had the most positive influence is, without question, my wife Jackie. As my kids always hear me say, she is the Gorilla Glue that holds our family together. And although she may roll her eyes at my jokes, she always pushes me to be the best I can be while keeping me grounded.  Without her support, I would never even consider running for BOE.

Are you aligned with any special interests that may influence how you make decisions on the BOE?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I am aligned with a special interest that will most surely influence my decisions. That special interest is the most special interest of all, our kids!

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