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Bound Brook School District {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The primary goal of this Board of Education shall be to offer each child in this district the educational opportunity that will enable him/her to function politically, economically, and socially in that democratic society.The election is for three member of the Board of Education in Bound Brook. Each member serves a three year term.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Michael Bal Teacher

  • William R. Boehm Jr.

  • Mario Meola

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    Jennifer Thompson Chief Operating Officer

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Biographical Information

What personal and professional experiences have prepared you for serving on the Board?

What do you consider the three most important challenges facing our local public schools at this time? How would you address these challenges?

Do you think that the current civics education in our schools is adequate? If not, what do you think can be done to improve it?

Qualifications/Experience My 16 year career as a teacher make me uniquely qualified for a position in which I'd make educational decisions.
Campaign Address 715 Schoolhouse Lane Piedmont
I have been a teacher in Piscataway for over 15 years. I have taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. In those years, I have learned how to deal with students, parents, and administrators fro ma variety of backgrounds, who have used a variety of communication styles. I have served as a building representative to our teachers association, so I've had experience dealing with Board of Ed members. I have learned that when a board is willing to work together with their teachers, it makes all the difference. I would like to provide a safe environment where teachers and other staff can feel free to voice their concerns and share their ideas without fear of retribution.
I believe the number one problem in our district is the lack of communication between the employees of the district and the board of education. This is, by far, the most important because this issue creates, or hinders progress towards solving, almost every other problem we face. I believe that we have to open lines of communication between the board and the association. Board members should value the work that the teachers do in the classroom. Teachers should be encouraged to share their opinions and their concerns so that everyone can work together to fix our many issues. Another problem that I've heard about, albeit, through the proverbial grapevine, is the lack of basic supplies. I know that Bound Brook is underfunded in regards to the state funding formula. This can be very challenging, and I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of the budget. However, hard decisions need to be made. Necessities like desks and textbooks need to be prioritized over less important expenditures. Lastly, the population of our town can make teaching in a public school setting very challenging. Our town is diverse and therefore we have students coming from a variety of backgrounds. I, however, think this should be celebrated and turned into a strength. We need to embrace our differences so that we can learn from each other. I see a divide in our town, much like the one that is building in our country at large, and I am disappointed. I want to help build a community where diversity is celebrated and embraced.
Unfortunately, I can't speak specifically about the Bound Brook school system, but only about the way civics are taught in general. Speaking with social studies teachers about this topic, I got a resounding "no" from each of them. Civics is addressed heavily in the social studies standards at all grade levels, but many teachers feel that the time simply doesn't exist with the demands of their history curriculum. While I believe it should be taught as a stand alone lesson in the elementary grades so that students can learn the general concepts, civics can and should be infused into those history lessons so that it can be taught concurrently.
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Qualifications/Experience I am a social worker and Chief Operating Officer of a private international immersion language school. A social worker by background, I spent my early career working for Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, where I advised the City on a wide portfolio of issues including education. My experience in policy reaches beyond our children’s education as well. I have fought for various issues such as safe transportation and infrastructure throughout the nation, reforms in for-hire-vehicle legislation and, in 2013, I led the team that developed the nation’s largest survivorship program for breast cancer survivors. I am known for being a big thinker—one to question everything, ask questions and envision new ways forward. ​ I have always felt called to public service, having worked in the public and nonprofit sectors most of my career. I believe in creating dialogue with all stakeholders, and creating a space where everyone’s voice is welcome. Above all, as an experienced leader, I believe that transparency is critical, and an ideal I intend to bring to the Bound Brook Board of Education.
Campaign Address 551 Wheatland Ave
Campaign Email jap2122@columbia.edu
Website https://www.thompsonforboardofeducation.com/
I am a social worker and Chief Operating Officer of a private international immersion language school.

A social worker by background, I spent my early career working for Mayor Bloomberg in New York City, where I advised the City on a wide portfolio of issues including education.

My experience in policy reaches beyond our children’s education as well. I have fought for various issues such as safe transportation and infrastructure throughout the nation, reforms in for-hire-vehicle legislation and, in 2013, I led the team that developed the nation’s largest survivorship program for breast cancer survivors. I am known for being a big thinker—one to question everything, ask questions and envision new ways forward. ​ I have always felt called to public service, having worked in the public and nonprofit sectors most of my career. I believe in creating dialogue with all stakeholders, and creating a space where everyone’s voice is welcome. Above all, as an experienced leader, I believe that transparency is critical, and an ideal I intend to bring to the Bound Brook Board of Education.
I believe each community has different challenges and each would prioritize differently, so I can only speak to what I've seen and experienced in Bound Brook and what I intend to focus on and that is 1) Transparency and Inclusivity in decisions at the board level, 2) Fair and Adequate funding and 3) District Moral.

This year I attended board meetings and I became concerned with how decisions were being made, as a community member, I felt they were rushed and as an experienced leader, I expected more conversation and dialogue between the Board itself and the community. My community members shared the same feedback, that they felt there was an issue with transparency and an ability to be included in the dialogue before decisions were made. We have a great community who wants to be involved, but won't continue to if they feel as if their voice is not valued. In order for Bound Brook to thrive, we need everyone at the table--and I'll fight to make certain the community knows how to get involved, that their feedback is solicited and that decisions are made in a transparent way, with appropriate timetables.

I know we need to fight for funding and as an experienced policy leader, I know I can help in this space. I have a wealth of advocacy experience, relationships that will help the community and ultimately, believe that I can offer insight and direction to our school leaders in this space.

I also want to change our moral around our district. Teachers have shared frustrations, low moral and many students as well. In large part because of issues shared above. I think we can change that--engage people, reach out, ask for feedback, show our community we are doing everything in our power to fight for our kids and teachers in our district. I think that will go a long way and bring more parents and community members back to the meetings. My children will grow up in this district and I intend on making certain we have outstanding moral for them.
I honestly don't believe we are. While I admittedly don't know the details about our curriculum in this area--but I do know we can always do more, and in Bound Brook, we seem to be falling short. I've spoken to children who are in the district and turned 18, but haven't registered to vote. I've spoken to them about how to get involved, to create change--and they have not known how. That's our role and responsibility. All our children should understand how important it is to vote, how critical their voice is in the dialogue and at the very least, they should know how to get involved, if they so choose. In addition to curriculum on these issues, there are so many great national opportunities for our children to learn about civic leadership--to gain experience in the area, organizations that inspire them and can offer scholarships for our children as well. It's our responsibility to make sure our schools are connected with those opportunities and that our children can access them.

My passion for public service was sparked when I was 17 years old, by my government teacher. He challenged me to think about my beliefs, encouraged us to get involved, he handed out voter registration cards on our 18th birthdays. He offered to help you fill them out if you had questions or weren't sure how. He modeled what it meant to be engaged. He identified extra curricular activities for us to participate in, led them, sponsored them -- connected us with national organizations. My friends and I still speak about how he changed our lives--all these years later. Many of us have been called to public service, many are in office--and its because we understood the importance of it at a young age. I want that for all our children.

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