The Niskayuna Board of Education is a seven-member board elected by the community that is responsible for the governance of the school district. Members serve three-year terms without pay.

Photo of Rosemarie Perez JaquithRosemarie Perez Jaquith, President

Term: July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2020


Rosemarie Perez Jaquith, of 1475 Keyes Ave. is serving her second term on the Board. Jaquith is administrative counsel for the New York State Legislative Bill Drafting Commission. In that position, she reviews and negotiates contracts, provides legal support in procurement and other administrative matters, develops internal policies, and represents the Commission in administrative and court proceedings. Jaquith has a bachelor’s degree in business from SUNY IT and a juris doctor from Syracuse University College of Law.

Jaquith was a member of the district’s 60th Anniversary Committee, the Academic Advisory Committee, and the Facilities Utilization Advisory Committee.

She is on the board of the Niskayuna Booster Club, and is a past co-president of the district PTO Council (2011-13) and past co-secretary of the Van Antwerp PTO (2011-13). Jaquith also served as co-president of the Hillside PTO (2009-11) and helped raise money for the school’s playground. She helps organize the annual St. Baldrick’s event in Schenectady that raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Jaquith has lived in Niskayuna for 16 years. She and her husband, Grant, have three children: Olivia, a recent Niskayuna High School graduate who attends Marist College; and Isabelle and Colton, who attend Niskayuna High School.

Photo of David KoesDavid Koes, Vice President

Term: July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2018


David P. Koes, of 17 Pinecrest Drive, is serving his first term on the Board. A district resident for 20 years, he is a licensed associate real estate broker with the Walton Realty Group.

Koes previously held a number of technical and customer service senior leadership roles in the private sector, including 23 years of experience in long-range planning, contract negotiations, root-cause analysis and goal setting in the telecommunications industry. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in business administration.

A former co-president of the PTO Council and Birchwood PTO, Koes’ volunteer service within the district has included serving on the superintendent stakeholder interview committee in the spring of 2015, the Academic Advisory Council, the Facilities Utilization Advisory Committee, and the Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation Team. Koes was co-commissioner of the Niskayuna Girls Softball League Rec. Division and has volunteered with the town Department of Parks and Recreation and the Niskayuna Girls Travel Basketball program.

Koes and his wife, Debbie, have a daughter, Kristina, who attends Niskayuna High School.

Headshot photo of Brian BackusBrian Backus

Term: Oct. 24, 2017 – June 30, 2019


Brian R. Backus, of 2250 Grand Boulevard, is serving his first term on the Board. He was elected in a special election in October 2017 to fill a vacancy on the Board.

Backus is commander of the 139 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia.

He has a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from the New School University in New York City and completed Air War College at the U.S. Air Force’s Air University.

Backus is a member of the Town of Niskayuna Planning Board and Zoning Commission and has been active with Niskayuna Youth Football, Niskayuna Boys and Girls Basketball and Niskayuna Girls Lacrosse. He is a member of St. John’s Roman Catholic Church.

Backus has lived in Niskayuna for seven years. He and his wife, Lynne Rutnik, have two children who attend Niskayuna Schools: Aiylin and Owen Rutnik, who are in seventh grade at Van Antwerp Middle School.

Photo of Jack CalaresoJack Calareso

Term: July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019


Jack Calareso, of 847 Hereford Way, Niskayuna, is serving his first term on the Board.

He is the founder and managing partner of The Calareso Law Firm, PLLC. Calareso has a bachelor’s degree in political science from The College of the Holy Cross and a law degree from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

Jack is a past co-president and co-vice president of the Rosendale PTO. He served on the 2013 Facilities Utilization Advisory Committee, and has been a Niskayuna Little League coach, a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region and co-chair of Leadership Tech Valley. Calareso is on the Board of the Capital District YMCA, a member of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce and a parishioner at St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

He and his wife, JulieAnn, have lived in Niskayuna for 10 years. They have two children: Josie, who attends Iroquois, and Dominic, who attends Rosendale.

Photo of Nicki FoleyNicki Foley

Term: July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2019


Nicki Foley, of 45 Ray Street, Niskayuna, is serving her first term on the Board.

She is the Education Department coordinator for Clarkson University’s Capital Region campus.

She has a bachelor’s degree in general arts, elementary education certification from Villanova University and a master’s in education from The College of St. Rose.

Foley is a member of the Niskayuna Education Enrichment Fund Committee. She has served as a PTO Council co-president, Van Antwerp PTO co-president, the high school liaison for Friends of Music, and on various committees at Hillside. Foley is a board member with the Reading is Fun program that is active in Schenectady schools and a lector and religious education teacher at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish.

Foley and her husband, Tim, have lived in the district for 13 years. They have three daughters: Jillian and Regina, who are Niskayuna graduates, and Shannon, who attends Niskayuna High School.

Photo of Howard SchlossbergHoward Schlossberg

Term: July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2018


Howard Schlossberg, of 76 Pheasant Ridge, is serving his first term on the Board. He graduated from Cornell University and earned a medical degree from Temple University. Schlossberg completed a fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University for hematology and oncology.

He served as the secretary on the executive board of his practice, New York Oncology Hematology, and continues as a director while chairing the Technology Committee and serving on the Research, Peer Review, and Pharmacy committees. He also serves on the Schenectady County Public Health Advisory Committee as well as Ellis Medicine committees including Transfusion, Institutional Review, and Oncology.

He has served on the Board of Community Hospice and the Executive Board at Congregation Gates of Heaven. Schlossberg teaches high school students, medical students and residents.

He has lived in the district for a decade and is married to Michelle Ostrelich. They have two daughters, Fiona, who attends Iroquois Middle School, and Rachel, who attend Rosendale Elementary.


Photo of Jennifer ZhaoJennifer Zhao

Term: July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2020


Yu (Jennifer) Zhao, of 2175 Foxhill Drive, is serving her first term on the Board. She is a full-time stay-at-home mom and owner of a home-based business as an educational consultant for Usborne Books and More. Previously, she was employed as a lead engineer at GE Global Research where she led teams and managed project budgets, such as building a world-class solar technology laboratory from the ground up.

Zhao has a bachelor’s degree in material science engineering from Cornell University and a master’s of engineering degree in integrated microsystems from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She is a member of the PTO at Craig Elementary School and the Niskayuna Moms’ Group. Zhao is also an annual presenter at the Hudson Mohawk Valley Mathematics Teachers Conference and a BOCES substitute teacher.

She is co-founder and past president of “we c…green” of GE, a group focused on sustainability, and a past president of the Young Professional Club of the Chinese Community Center. She teaches Sunday school at the Chinese Fellowship Bible Church.

Zhao has been a district resident for 11 years. She and her husband, Paul, have two children: Micah, who attends Craig Elementary School, and Jonah who is two years old.