Karen Zyra

Karen M. Zyra
(585) 217-2971

Occupation: Senior Manager leading over 100+ employees in service, operations, training and development; locally and remotely in the Retirement Services division at Paychex, Inc.
Karen Zyra
Family: Darren, husband, Physical Therapist at Rochester Regional Health System; sons, Jack and Scotty

*Jack (SCS class of 2018) currently attending SUNY Brockport studying business administration
*Scotty (SCS class of 2022) is planning to study veterinarian science and medicine

Community Service: I have had the great privilege to support both the Rochester and Spencerport communities in a variety of activities in volunteer positions over the past 20 years; SCS district’s budget focus group, parent advocate; often attending IEP meetings to support our district parents whose child may need special education services, along with many hours volunteering for class room readings and working with PE/faculty members to bring wheelchair basketball to Cosgrove Middle School. As well, blessed to have the opportunity to talk to the faculty on the first day of the (2018-2019) school year about what it means to many parents to be an empowered learner and the love and impact so many of the SCS teachers, faculty members and administrators have had on my boys.

Through collaboration and partnership with the city of Rochester my family created the first Rochester Sled Hockey program. As parents with a son who has serious orthopedic issues that impede his ability to play sports, we needed to find something that would be a great fit for our son Jack. We’ve spent countless hours hosting free clinics and bringing awareness to this adaptive sport and Rochester now has it’s first sled hockey team, it’s a sport that every’BODY’ can play.

When Jack was in 2nd grade, he came home from school frustrated that he couldn’t play on the ‘regular’ playground with his friends. We worked with his school PT, school administration, the BOE and the facilities team to raise money and awareness on the importance of physical activity and inclusion. An adaptive playground was built and is now at Canal View Elementary for every’BODY’ to play on.

Why serve on the board? I have always had a passion an interest in our school district. I’m proud of our teachers and the support and education they give our children. Spencerport is already a great district, as I’ve watched my friend’s children as well as my own, grow and learn in our amazing schools from elementary through graduation. My philosophy is that the greatest impact we can have on the course of our lives is being actively involved at the local level. My desire is to help ensure our children have access to the highest quality education, that they are happy learners, and we are always keeping them safe.

I want to be sure our teachers and faculty members feel supported and they are empowered to teach with creativity, freedom and enthusiasm. They too have a voice when making decisions. The experiences I have had working closely with the district have helped me personally grow and learn more about how and why decisions are made. It’s easy to ‘tell yourself a story’ when you don’t have all the information. This can lead to approaching issues with your mind already made up. I will listen with an open and curious mind, ask questions and communicate with honesty and authenticity.

Lastly, I have a love and passion for our children that have special education needs and will ensure resources are always evaluated so they have the services they need.

What are the top issues facing our schools? We need to create an environment in which safety must be a matter of continued discussion. I will listen to parent and community concerns, review procedures so we are constantly improving and make sure every student feels included and welcomed. The complex threats our students face from violence, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, depression and anxiety, deserve attention, discussion and communication.

I want our buildings to be more secure for our kids and our staff and for our school cafeterias to be the gold standard of healthy eating. A safe and healthy school provides the best environment for students to learn and succeed.

What would you like people to know about you? I am thrilled to be a candidate for Spencerport Central Schools Board of Education. Spencerport is my hometown, and I have always been proud to be a parent in our district. My two boys have thrived in our district and I am grateful that Spencerport has offered them both unique opportunities to be successful students and members of our community.

When serving on the board, I will welcome discussion with fellow parents and talk with community members. I will also push for board meetings to be streamed live and allow communication with board members during public comment sections via email, Twitter, and Facebook.

I am a lifelong resident of Spencerport and a graduate of Brockport High School and studied human resource management and minored in business at both Genesee Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh. My family loves being outdoors; walking, hiking, canoeing and can often be seen hitting tennis balls up at the tennis courts at the high school.