On November 6, Hopewell Township will elect two new Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education members. Three candidates are in the running, and MercerMe asked them each to respond to the same set of interview questions to help residents at the ballots. Interviews are being published in the order they were received.
Why are you running for a seat on the school board?
I am running for the school board because I strongly believe in public education. I have been a dedicated volunteer in the school community in the past. I see an urgent need to prepare our children for a productive life while in our schools and beyond. I feel it is time for me to branch out and make a greater impact within the community.
What makes you qualified to be a member of the school board? Do you have prior experience in education?
I believe my management background as well as being a business owner has prepared me for the position.My experience has fostered an even temperament, good analytical, leadership and collaborative skills to move the district forward. I do not have prior experience in education, as with most boards, only about 25% are made up of teachers or representative positions in unions. I believe my unique experience will lend a fresh perspective to the HVRSD Board Of Ed.
Last year HVRSD introduced a random drug testing policy. What is your position on this policy?
I am for random drug testing. I strongly agree with our district policy showing compassion and a willingness to help the students overcome these issues instead of punishing them. We are in a serious health crisis. We need to be vigilant when it comes to our students and their socio-emotional health. I think one impacts the other and therefore needs to be addressed as a whole.
School safety is growing concern in schools across the nation. In response to this concern, many have endorsed the idea of arming teachers or using metal detectors. Do you think these would improve safety in our district?
I absolutely agree that this is a growing concern, especially after the incident within the last month. I do not think we need to arm our teachers and create even more stress and anxiety. Our referendum projects include the locking vestibules for safety. Our security is comprised of retired cops. I would be interested to see what the audit from the state shows and what recommendations they suggest. I would not be opposed to metal detectors if the state recommends that as a possible solution.
How would you improve HVRSD?
I feel my social media and my health and wellness experience would greatly impact our SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) initiative we are currently focused on for the 2018-19 school year. I have a fresh yet humble perspective that would compliment the synergy of our board and make a positive impact in the community.
Editor Notes: Interview answers were provided by the candidates and have not been edited. Answers are being published in order they were received.