Ralph Smith grew up in Yonkers, NY, the youngest of four children in a big, Scotch-Irish family. He was a shy but energetic kid, with an early passion for making people laugh. Ralph has always operated at a personal level, wanting to make those around him happy and comfortable. Even in his later endeavors such as the Board of Education, Ralph is always mindful of the consequences of his decisions on the individual they will affect. In his young adult years, Ralph put himself through the education program at Mercy College by working in the Dobbs Ferry library, even hitchhiking to school on days he couldn’t afford the bus (Ralph would no longer endorse this as a mode of transportation)! During these college years, Ralph found the time to play a starting role on his college basketball team, and had the honor of being team captain which as a young man gave him the insights of a leader and taught him the value of cooperation and comradery.
Ralph’s first teaching job was at The Clear View School in Dobbs Ferry, where he first met his beautiful wife Laura, also a teacher. After their formative years as educators, the young couple bought a house in Putnam Valley, Ralph began working in the elementary school, and the rest is history! After nearly two decades at the Elementary School, Ralph was excited to join the initiative to bring Putnam Valley its very own High School. He was proud to be part of an advancement which has allowed us to take back the full honor of educating and shaping our young population into mature, dedicated, and resilient members of our community. So proud, in fact, that he was one of the few volunteers to give up his old position teaching fourth grade at the elementary school to move to the new high school. Ralph has never hesitated to confront a new challenge, and saw in our fledgling high school the opportunity to instill in our young people the same appreciation for our town’s rich history as he himself feels so acutely.
During his many years as an educator, Ralph served in a wide variety of roles. Some of his many leadership positions included President of the Teacher’s Union, Chief Contract Negotiator, Grievance Chairperson, and Committee of 100 lobbyist, which allowed him to hone skills of compromise, focus, and determination. Ralph’s primary motivation has always been improving the lives of his peers – other working people, like himself and his family. Ralph has had many jobs throughout his life: taxi driver, magician, lifeguard, coach, referee, mentor…but the common thread has been the desire to help people, make them smile, and improve their lives in some way, whether large or small.
Even after his retirement in 2011, Ralph became involved in the Board of Education for Putnam Valley schools. He was elected for two consecutive terms, for a total of six years of service. Up until that point he had spent years evincing change from the inside out – now it was time to get serious about supporting policies which could make systemic changes, an ideological stance Ralph intends to uphold on the Town Council. Above all else, Ralph Smith respects the individual citizens of Putnam Valley, and wants to represent and benefit all of the people in our town. One major concern which effects all of the citizens of Putnam Valley are the rising tax costs. During his six years on the Board of Education, Ralph has strongly advocated keeping our school tax increases under the Tax Cap. The Town Board as it stands has only managed to stay under the Tax Cap once since it was instituted. Ralph feels that greater fiscal prudence is an easily achievable goal which will benefit all his neighbors.
Nowadays, Ralph lives in the house he owns with his lovely wife near Lake Oscawana, and their daughter, recently returned from Ireland with her MA degree, improving its garden with the same obsessive fixation that he will apply to town policy if elected to the Town Council. He remains involved in athletics and has volunteered at the Community Food Pantry for many years. Ralph looks forward to being even more involved in improving the lives of his neighbors in the coming years!
Ralph is proud to be running for Town Board with a community minded and highly qualified Anthony Williams! Also our Democratic Slate - a truly diverse group ready to make a difference for Putnam Valley!