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Hillsborough Township Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Hillsborough Township Board of Education is legally responsible for education in the school district by setting and evaluating policy, establishing goals, overseeing that the district is responsibly moving forward, and adopting a fiscally sound operating budget for the school district. The Board is comprised of nine members each serving three year terms. Members of the Board of Education volunteer their time and are not offered compensation.
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    Linda Fu-Fung (N) Technology Procurement Specialist

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    Judith C. Haas (N) Retired Government Official

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    Ann Harris (N) Educator

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    Nicole Risher (N) Research Scientist

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    Lorraine A. Soisson (N) scientific advisor

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    Kiru Thangavelu (N) Architect, Information Technology

  • Thomas J. Zobele (N)

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Biographical Information

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

What do you consider the most important challenges facing Hillsborough Township Public Schools at this time? How would you address these challenges?

During Strategic Planning, three "buckets" or areas deserving educational investment were identified, Based on reports from work groups, the Board will decide which to pursue. Which bucket(s) will likely receive your greatest support and why?

Some taxpayers place a significant value on rankings of public schools by magazines such as NJ Monthly and US World Report, What value do you place on these rankings?

Current Elected Position None
I have always been very passionate about education. I understand that each student learns differently and that there is no one form that fits all. I have worked professionally in 2 different universities and also worked at, and later owned, a summer enrichment camp for four years. It was here where I interacted with different types of students and learned about the school's financial responsibilities needed to foster the growth of student education.
In recent years, I've seen the Hillsborough school board focus on improving the technological portion of our school system. Technology is continually integrating with our daily lives, however, I think that our board needs to have a better understanding of how technology can better enrich our students.

As a technology procurement specialist with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), I understand realistic pricing, technology requirements, and strategic contract negotiations. As an additional budget gatekeeper, I would be an added value to the board of education.
Early education is very dear to my heart because as a young child, I was considered a ‘problem student’ as I was not given the proper educational experience from 1st to 4th grade. I was in the midst of failing 4th grade and my teacher was considering that I repeat the grade. Her words to this day still echo inside my head, "I'll be surprised if she makes it through high school". Fortunately, my grandfather who was an English professor, saw my struggles and dramatically changed my learning performance for the better. Luckily I was able to pass 4th grade by catching up on my foundations.

My grandfather was able to help me excel because he understood that in order to succeed, one must establish a firm foundation. I missed that foundation building opportunity from 1st-4th grade, and I want to make sure that every student in Hillsborough receives the best foundation in their educational experience.
I am personally vested in public school rankings because that is a public acknowledgement of how our school system is performing. Rankings and ratings are a great way to measure how well our schools are performing compared other schools in the state and in the country. It is important because we want to bring value to our education. With a ranking that helps us monitor our performance each year, we can gain more insight into what we are doing well and where we can make improvements.

As taxpayers and homeowners, a better ranking will bring in more value and prosperity. Everyone wants to live in a town with an excellent school system to raise their family and hopefully with these metrics, prospective homebuyers can call Hillsborough their forever town.
Current Elected Position Hillsborough Board of Education Member
12 year member of the HB Board of Education; 3 years VP; Master Board Member and Certificated Board Member; Chair of the Education Committee; Fmr Chair of Communications and Policy Committees; Member of Governance, Curriculum, Finance, Personnel, and Facilities Committees; Liaison to Garden State Coalition of Schools; President of the Board of Directors of the Somerset County Educational Services Commission; Fmr President,Treasurer of the non-profit HB Public Library Advisory Bd; Coach of Baseball, Basketball, Soccer; Class Mom, HSA member, Life Skills Instructor, Art Instructor, Principal’s Advisory Committee Member, RoboRaider Parents, HHS Debate Parents, Co-Chair of Project Graduation; Fmr HB Township Administrator; Fmr Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Comptroller in NYC govt; MA Public Administration, BA Political Science/Communications; 28 year resident of HB; Husband Lloyd (teacher 40 yrs); Son Lenny, stepsons Marc and David received great educations in HB schools.
We are blessed with a strong educational program, reasonable class sizes, and excellent staff, despite a constant challenge of inadequate funding from the state. I always review our budgets aggressively, however unfunded mandates and uncontrolled cost increases threaten our progress and must be addressed by the state. Additionally, capital plans for our 9 school buildings have been pre-empted by emergency HVAC, water, and environmental issues which cost more and are less effective than cyclical repairs, replacements, and upgrades. We must provide our students and staff with better buildings and grounds. Finally, student wellness is a growing challenge. I have led efforts to add Student Assistance, College, ESS, and Elementary School counselors. It is critical that we assure all of our students have appropriate support to reduce stress, avoid negative behaviors, and make good, healthy decisions. I also support all of our programs which provide outlets for all students to find success.
As a current Board member, my obligation is to keep an open mind on all of the proposals, review the data and recommendations of the work groups, and vote thoughtfully. I attended all of the strategic planning sessions that were conducted and I am anxiously awaiting our work groups’ reports. The review of research and cost-benefit analyses will be critical to my decisions. The three buckets are actually intertwined. They are all about enhancing educational and future opportunities for all of our students from pre-K to graduation and beyond. I have always been supportive of progressive plans for our school district, and welcome the opportunity to move the district forward with well thought out ideas that are affordable and supported by our community. For more information on the strategic planning process to date, please see our district website:
Hillsborough High School is currently ranked 47/337 by NJ Monthly, 179/22K most challenging HS nationwide by the Washington Post, and 62nd best public HS in NJ and 227th best public HS in America by Niche. Our elementary schools and sports programs are ranked among the best in the state. We are always happy to be recognized. Rankings can tell a district how it is doing among its peers. Communities like to hear that their tax dollars are producing success. Most important to me is that we are an inclusive district that provides a comprehensive, excellent education, with extra-curriculars and sports, and strong support systems for all students. Families choose to move here for our schools. The best teachers and staff members choose to work here. Everyone works very hard to assure that every child can reach their maximum potential. Our students do very well in college,careers,and beyond. I am proud to be a Board member and I am extremely proud of our schools.
An educator for 32 years & it's been an honor to teach, my career has presented opportunities everyday to share a love of learning with students. Teaching assignments included: Grade 1 in MD;Gr. 7&8 in Voorhees,NJ; Preschool in TX; Gr.1&2 at AMS in Hillsborough- 15 yrs.; Gr.K-6 Science Specialist in Hillsborough-7 yrs.; Academic Support -1yr. Some may be familiar with a program at Duke Farms created and directed by my leadership for 5th grade students to enhance their ecosystem unit. As a life-long learner, currently finishing a doctorate at Seton Hall in educational leadership & administration where I plan to use my skills in my own community & as an adjunct professor in teacher education. Skills gained include curriculum development, staff development, scheduling & organizational collaboration, grant writing, assessment & educational leadership. Master's degree in educational leadership from Seton Hall; Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Salisbury University in MD.
Most challenging issues in Hillsborough Township: funding for increased programs such as extra-curricular activities, drug awareness & substance abuse, facing health issues such as lead in the water or student nutrition - eating healthy lunches and snacks. For some of the issues, grant writing could help increase revenue e. g. reinstate the DARE program. Monitoring lead levels in water until the problem is resolved and then periodically to maintain a quality level for the health and safety of the students & staff. Reviewing menus in the school lunch program & offering classes in nutritional education for parents & their children as a family program creates more of an action to change unhealthy habits by sharing in a community environment. Providing a more sustainable community through education and actions to decrease the carbon footprint in the community. With educational programming, using resources provided by the township would enhance this effort & building a best community plan.
1) Student achievement: with the newly initiated (2014) PARCC testing, focus more interest in the increased student growth rather than with individual student performance. Trends toward student growth show increased critical thinking, problem solving and other 21st century skills needed to succeed in future careers for students, thus we are headed in the right direction. 2) Advocacy: increasing sustainable efforts & actions in schools will gain benefits far into the future for our schools. Becoming more involved with Sustainable Jersey Schools, a state program for sustainability, would help increase this awareness in our township. Advocating for increased integration of STEM/ STEAM initiatives to help students make connections for increases in learning & achievement through increased extra-curricular focused activities. Grants are abundant. 3) Constant innovations in technology & increased demands for incorporating 21st century skills, teachers will need more professional development.
Value taxpayers place on the community they live in is based mostly on the community values with the quality of the school system at the heart of each community. This is stressed by realtors as a help economically to increase property value for taxpaying homeowners. However, the constitution of the State of New Jersey, since 1875, guarantees a thorough and efficient education for every student in the public school system, the formulas for funding of education are distributed accordingly in order to try and help provide a balance of educational quality in the state. School taxes determined by a local school budget are a large amount of a homeowner's property taxes in New Jersey and thus has come the need for more measured accountability in our schools and concern for where tax dollars are being spent. School boards oversee creating responsible budgets and eliminating wasteful spending; this provides a balance for funding that enhances student learning and the educational excellence.
Current Elected Position N/A
Website N/A
My personal experience as a parent and guardian is what I feel qualifies me to be a member of the Hillsborough school board. I am involved in many activities here in Hillsborough township as well as surrounding towns. From being a swim official for Somerset Valley YMCA swim team, to a T3 elite lacrosse team coordinator, to the parent of a Jr. Raider, I am around parents who have questions and issues within the town or schools. I think that I can bring those voices to the board with an OPEN mind. We all have one goal for our kids...SUCCESS. I am a research scientist working in biotech for 24 years so i am passionate about STEM. For 16 years, I have been an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated an organization where scholarship and service go hand and hand. I pride myself in being a person who commits herself to making sure kids have all the tools for success: from early intervention programs(pre-k to 8th) to professional or technical career programs in high school.
The greatest challenge for the Hillsborough Township schools is making our budget stretch. Getting the best programs and resources to our kids with the current budget is key. I would address this challenge by working with my fellow board members to come up with the best plan for OUR kids. When it comes to the budget, the kids and their education have the first priority.
I feel so strongly about early education and its direct effect on a child's future success. I am also passionate about being properly prepared for post high school whether it be college, professional, or technical careers. The bucket that would receive my greatest support is early childhood education. Why? It's because I think this is a goal that can be achieved in the next 2-3 years if local collaborations could be fostered. There are several ideas i would like to work on if elected. I think getting an early start can help identify IF any child needs academic or social help early. Identifying those needs early, gives a child a greater chance of success in the elementary, middle, and high school years. This early identification (with early education) thus gives those children a greater chance of being properly prepared for life post high school. It's all a direct correlation. Early introduction to STEM programs also gives our kids a greater chance for future success!
It's great to be ranked among the best, however we have to make sure that all our kids are included in the rankings and aren't separated out because they fall outside of the traditional ranking. I want ALL of our kids to be the best of the best. I put a strong value on being ranked the best, but I put an even stronger value in making sure NO child is left out of that "ranking".
Current Elected Position Board of Education member
I was elected to the Board (April 2012-January 2016) and was selected from a panel of 10 candidates to replace a resigning Board member in July 2017. I serve on the Education and Human Resources committees. Prior to running, I was the HSA president at Triangle and Auten Road Schools for six years.

I am a Trustee at Cedar Crest College, where I participate in all aspects of the governance including finance, budget, academics, and student life. This experience has provided me with insight into what our children need to succeed after they leave Hillsborough schools.

I have a PhD in molecular biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I advise the U.S. State Department on issues involving science and health. I have worked collaboratively with diverse groups to harmonize goals and institute effective programs in the context of ever-shrinking budgets. My training has taught me to analyze data, solve problems, and to be logical and creative in my decision making.
The two priority challenges are facilities and maintaining and building on excellence with limited resources and rising costs.

The Board has invested in some long needed infrastructure updates like air conditioning, roof replacement, etc. However, our buildings need more attention. We need to schedule for longer term projects and communicate these to the community with the timeline for completion and fund the capital reserve annually to accomplish these projects with state matching funds.

Maintaining excellent programs, staff, and extracurricular activities is difficult with the current school funding by the state and resource limitations. We need to be frugal and work with the state to encourage a fair funding formula as well as increased reimbursements for special education. We should bring more of our special needs out-of-district students home, as well as encourage others to send their students here rather than to private schools with no annual caps on tuition increases.
With respect to the buckets (college/career readiness, early childhood education, individualized learning/student life), there is merit to all three buckets. I look forward to receiving the report of the working groups with recommendations and timelines for completion. My expectation is that there will be some low-hanging fruit and some much longer-term and perhaps impractical recommendations as well. I favor a pragmatic approach where we prioritize based on expected outcomes, cost, and timelines for completion.
It is nice to get recognition for the great work that Hillsborough is doing. It has positive impacts on staff and student morale, community pride, and stabilizes or increases our property values. I know that when my husband and I were moving to NJ 17 years ago, we considered school rankings in our decision to move to Hillsborough. As such, there is value in being named to these rankings. However, making these lists or not would not impact my decision-making as a Board member.
Professionally, on a daily basis I typically walk into a chaotic environment, identify the root cause of the problem and determine a strategic path forward. I work with multiple stakeholders and provide the most optimal solution that fits everyone within the operating boundaries. Personally, I have good problem solving capabilities and believe that change is a constant force that drives us to a better destination in life. To evolve into a better person we should allow our self to look at things with an open mind and strive hard to reach the goal. I have always put my best foot forward to attain my goals. As a board and committee member I will tailor my professional and personal experience to steer the board to a brighter path. I will ensure that the board’s mission and my vision will set a clear and brighter future for all the kids in this town.
There are a few issues that I would like to pay more attention to. But that does not mean others are least important. I prioritize the issues and reassess and reset priorities every now and then to ensure that I am moving forward. Some of the issues I would give importance to are: - Ensure that education with values is set as curriculum, focus remains on this.(Academic, Moral, Behavioral and Social skills) - Streamlining expenses and budgeting for the right reason. - Infrastructure to meet the educational needs. - Ensure that the educators are given the right appreciation - Security within the school premises
I would support them in the following order - Enhance Student Life, Early childhood education, Maximize career readiness
I consider those rankings as baseline to understand the quality of the schools, with the assumption that same criteria is used to rate all schools. Schools should consider this seriously to have a health competition with other schools within and outside the district. It should serve as a trigger to help them realize where they are lagging and device plans to march forward.
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