My name is Sophia Skiles, and I am seeking re-election to the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education. I live in Gardiner with my husband, Tim, and our children, Beckett and Iris, both of whom attend Lenape Elementary School.
I am a professional theater actor and adjunct Professor. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I am a first-generation college graduate, earning a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. After teaching and performing theater in Chicago, I moved to New York for graduate school at Columbia University, earning an MFA in Acting.
While continuing a professional stage career, I have taught theater at Mount Holyoke College, SUNY Ulster, and most recently, SUNY Purchase. I have also taught K-12 students in all five boroughs in New York City, as well as in the Ulster BOCES New Visions program as a classroom teaching artist. I have spent nearly 25 years in diverse learning communities—public and private, urban and upstate, low-income and well-funded, elementary to college.
Investing in relationships over time built on trust and respect are essential to me as both a professional theater artist and educator and as a member of the New Paltz community. I have built a career in the arts, and have earned an especially close relationship with Asian-American theater companies. I am a member of ArtEquity, a national movement leading the expansion of representation and equity on theater stages and in theater education. I understand the power and work of collaboration, the importance of the arts, and the need to create culture that is inclusive.
When our young family moved to the Hudson Valley, our children attended New Paltz’s Huguenot Street Cooperative Nursery School, where I served as Parent Representative, Board President and later as an advising Community Member. I am affiliated with the Sisters of Sojourner’s Truth, where women of color support each other while engaging the New Paltz Central School District in addressing racial discrimination. Specific to public education, I have travelled to Albany for the past three years to help lobby for the restoration of Foundation Aid to public schools throughout the state.
I draw from a deep well of experience in building community, advancing equity in the arts, and listening to and championing young voices. I am honored to offer these experiences in service to the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education for a second term.