Lisa Finnegan Steps Down After 20 Years on Board of Education

Name it, and Lisa Finnegan has done it for Gananda. 

Not just for Gananda, but for the children of Gananda. And really, paving the path for the future is what it really needs to be all about.

Finnegan has done just that by serving on the Board of Education for 20 years at the Gananda Central School District, but it goes farther as she steps down from her seat due to a career opportunity and relocation. In addition to the Board, Finnegan has volunteered with Gananda Youth Football and Cheerleading, Gananda Youth Lacrosse, Gananda Community Youth Theatre, Gananda Performing Arts Boosters, Gananda Dollars for Scholars, Gananda Education Foundation and the Gananda Sports Boosters. 

“Many of these were startups and Lisa played an instrumental role serving on the boards, volunteering countless hours,” fellow Board member Robin Vogt said at a recent Board of Education meeting that celebrated Finnegan’s service. “She always took it to the next level with her commitments, fully immersing not just herself but family and friends as well.”

Finnegan, who was President (2011-14) and Vice President (2004-11) of the Board, has lived in Gananda for 26 years. She and husband Marty are the parents of three proud Gananda graduates: John (Class of 2010), Connor (2013) and Ryan (2017). Her grandchild is a fourth grader in the district.

Leaving her position with the Board is not easy.

“Many years ago, I was talked into running for a seat on the Board of Education by a group of friends,” Finnegan wrote in an e-mail to the district. “Little did I know that it would lead to 20 years of volunteer work, work that would become a part of who I am, and work that would make a difference in the lives of children.”

Her work did not go unnoticed. In 2020, the New York State School Boards Association presented her with a lifetime achievement award and in 2021, she was recognized as a New York State Woman of Distinction. 

“She and all who know her should be proud of the impact she has made to make Gananda what it is today,” said Vogt.

Superintendent Dr. Shawn Van Scoy said Finnegan’s tireless dedication to the district will be missed.

“Lisa was always focused on the needs of students and how to best meet those needs,” he said. “She was an advocate for creating and expanding programs, like UPK and flag football. 

“She worked to build an environment that was focused not only on identifying problems, but coming up with plans of action to fix the problems. To that end, she was a strong advocate for the financial needs of the district, having met with state legislators and budget-makers repeatedly over the last six years to seek financial relief for the district. She is Gananda’s greatest advocate.”

Finnegan’s departure isn’t the end of the Finnegan presence, however. Her son, John, currently is serving his first term as a Board member and yes, she expects John to surpass her 20 years of service.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunities that the district and community offered my young men,” said Lisa in her e-mail. “As a grandmother to a fourth grader, I am hopeful that she will have even more doors open … I bleed Gananda Blue and will always be Gananda Proud.”