When I moved to Hoboken seven years ago, I was told over and over that we shouldn’t consider putting our two children in the public schools. But my husband and I decided to give it a try, and we have watched our kids thrive in classrooms led by terrific teachers.
And I learned what the schools are like from the inside. I know the successes and failures of the system: the wonderful students and creative programs as well as the wasteful spending and lethargic bureaucracy.
I volunteered for the PTO, served as class mom and sat on countless committees. I have also made myself heard at school board meetings, where I have spoken out against the money we waste to educate myriad out-of-town children who illegally attend our schools, the practices that discriminate against under-performing students and the lack of enforcement of the board’s uniform policy, among other issues. After I led the charge against the mismanaged Saturday U program for gifted and talented students, the board formed a committee to overhaul the program. I joined with several other parents to fight for a rigorous curriculum, and I challenged the decision to hire more employees and give everyone big raises.
When my daughter was about to enter preschool I discovered that all three-year-olds would go to Brandt, which was then a middle school. I spearheaded the effort to ensure that Brandt was ready to accept little children, and real changes were made to make the school safe for them. As a parent at Wallace, I thought we should do more to promote our fine school, so I worked to spread the word in the press and at open houses.
I am now running for the Board of Education. My background is in journalism, and I have worked on publications in New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, South Africa and Hong Kong. I grew up in Union County and graduated from Linden H.S. I put myself through Georgetown University with scholarships, jobs and loans. My children – Timothy, 10, and Julia, 8 started out at Wallace and now attend Connors, where they participate in the gifted and talented program offered with Johns Hopkins University. I am president of the Connors PTO, a member of the School Leadership Committee and chairman of the committee to commemorate the school’s 100th anniversary this year. I know that we not only need to raise the bar for students who are already in our schools but provide a home for the families who have been mindlessly told that our schools are second rate. We can do that by striving for excellence. At the same time, we need to be much smarter about how we allocate our tax dollars. We now spend $26,000 on each student – ranking us near the top spenders in the country. We must get our money’s worth and hold our administrators accountable. I ask for your vote on Election Day, April 15.