BACKGROUND: Pellegrino, 49, of West Islip, was elected to the Assembly in a special election in May 2017 after former Assemb. Joseph Saladino was appointed Town of Oyster Bay supervisor. She is running on the Democratic, Working Families, Independence and Women’s Equality party lines. Pellegrino previously was an elementary school reading teacher for 25 years, 18 of them in the Baldwin Union Free School District. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in reading from St. John’s University. She also earned a professional diploma in school supervision and administration from Long Island University. Pellegrino is involved in her parish and worked for education reform in the opt-out movement. She has two children.
ISSUES: Pellegrino is focused on education and wants to return control of evaluating teachers to local school districts. “I want to return professionalism to teaching and take standardization away,” she said. “We lost almost a generation of kids to standardization that has not been successful — you can see it in the opt-out numbers on Long Island. It’s a clear rebuke to the educational testing system.” She said she will reintroduce legislation to decouple testing from teacher evaluations. She also will work to get more state aid back to Long Island so residents get back more of the tax dollars they pay to the state, while also working to lower property taxes. “I will identify opportunities to drive funding to good programs,” she said, and look for more creative ways of getting revenue and lowering costs. She said she supports the New York Health Act and looks to the state to offer better coverage through its economies of scale.