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Franklin Township School District - Somerset County {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The mission of the Township of Franklin Public Schools is to develop the unique potential of each individual student and create global learners through a challenging and diverse curriculum in a positive learning climate that promotes the development of the whole child and fosters respect for all students.The election is for three Board of Education members. Each serve a three year term.

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  • Candidate picture

    Walter B. Jackson Jr.

  • Nancy LaCorte

  • Hugh A. Scott

  • Ardaman Singh

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?

What changes would you support or oppose to keep out students safe in our schools?

Campaign Address 43 Victoria Drive Somerset, NJ 08873
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I have been living in Franklin Township for 21 years. I didn’t have the privilege of attending Franklin’s schools, but I can truly say that it has been very rewarding watching my three amazing daughters succeed and shine at all levels. So, for that, I am proud to say that I am raising “Warriors For Life”. Their experiences have been my experiences. I make it my priority to be actively involved in all that they do, which includes all back to school nights, parent-teacher conferences, plays, music concerts, sporting events, award assemblies, special presentations, clap ins, and clap outs. Nothing takes precedence over my children and their road to success. In prior years, I served as a District Church School Superintendent in the A.M.E. Church where I implemented the strategic planning of various curriculums, organized Church School Conventions throughout the state of New Jersey, and supported making Church Schools a happy, fun, and comfortable learning environment for children as well as adults. I also have been active with the Junior Achievement Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, and various mentoring programs, which have allowed me to reach others who may be considered underserved in many communities. I have been in the financial sector for 23 years and most of that time has been spent in compliance. I have had the opportunity to experience diverse people with many different concerns, requests, and issues. Therefore, listening, understanding and working to resolve problems to gain consensus for a common solution that satisfies all parties is what I absolutely enjoy doing. The process is not always easy, but I have the passion to respect diverse ways of thinking while solving real problems.
1. I believe we need to create more innovative ways to have greater numbers of parent/guardian participation at Parent-Teacher Conferences, PTO/PTSO meetings, sporting events, school performances and other events where there are opportunities for parents to connect with their child as well as with administration. Parents’ schedules can sometimes give the perception that parents don’t want to be involved, when in fact, work schedules may prevent more active involvement. I would like to hear directly from those parents and work on solutions that will make them feel like they are a part of the entire educational process for their child. I also feel there needs to be late buses provided for students who participate in sports. I personally know a few kids, that because of transportation and parents’ work schedules, that participating in sports could not be an option. I would hate to see great talent not reach their potential because of the lack of opportunity to flourish in our school district. 2. Financial Resources in the Public school system is needed across the board. Many areas need more resources to do more and many areas are unfortunately doing more with less. The charter schools utilize a lot of the resources that could be beneficial to Franklin Township public schools for ensuring that needed programs are not cut and allowing for more creative opportunities for teachers to explore, innovate, and encourage their classrooms. I would continue the work that is being done with legislation to voice budget concerns and help stress the importance of the needs of our township public schools. 3. As a parent of three daughters in the Franklin Township School District, I must have a sense of comfort knowing that my girls are safe, secure, and protected during school activities. Although much is being done now, there is always room for improvement to ensure everyone's comfort level and safety. I'll work with the collective community to maintain that comfort.
I believe that the current civics education in our public schools is adequate, but creating more opportunities and programs outside of school can definitely give students additional knowledge needed to become an informed citizen in their community. I can clearly say that my daughters, through community service, guided debates, and critical discussion of current events (some that have affected them personally) have prepared them for success.
I like the current guidelines for visitors entering the different schools and the various checkpoints. As I stated before, I just want to ensure that level and sense of comfort continues. I oppose the idea of armed teachers.  
Campaign Address PO BOX 6344 PO Box 6344
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grew up in Franklin. In fact, my elementary school was where the Board of Education currently resides (Middlebush School). I am a proud graduate of Franklin Township Public Schools, as are my children. I was initially elected to the Board in 2006 and served until 2013 when I took a break to care for my father. I was re-elected in 2014. During my tenure on the Board I have chaired the policy, finance, and communications committees, been a member of facilities, personnel, and safety & security committees. I have served as Vice President for three years and President for the past two years. As Board President I am an ex-officio member of all Board committees, liaison to the Township Council and Chamber of Commerce. I have been involved in the referendum, negotiated two cycles of personnel contracts, superintendent searches eventually hiring our current superintendent, Dr. John Ravally. I have also been involved in the land swap with the Township – we will be able to consolidate and move our administrative offices to a larger space at what was previously the Consulata property. This property also provides community spaces. Through NJ School Boards Association I am a Certified Board Member.

For most of my professional life I have worked in marketing communications in the corporate sector. For the past 16 years I have worked in government and the nonprofit sector focusing on marketing, volunteerism, fundraising, and event planning. Giving back is extremely important to me and I have been volunteering for most of my life.
Funding - Like most people, the biggest challenge for NJ school boards is balancing the budget and staying within the 2% cap while providing a quality education. I am extremely proud of the choices we have been able to offer our students but it becomes harder and harder each year. This year we have budgeted $15M for charter schools which are also funded with public monies. The charter schools project how many students and we are required to reallocate that money from our programming. At the end of the school year they do not have as many students but we were unable to offer the programs in the Franklin Township Public Schools. We have been working with our legislators to minimize the impact charter schools have on our budget.

Equal Opportunity Schools - Another problem facing virtually every public school in the country is we have currently unequal student achievement levels for different groups of students. This is about socio-economic, race, ability, and students who are just learning the language. If a district has a certain proportion of groups we should expect to see equal outcome over all groups. The Board approved in it’s first goal “To aid the expansion of innovative college and career readiness programs, affording students the opportunity to pursue their passions with the necessary academic and social/emotional supports to reach their fullest academic potential as measured by individual academic and cultural gains.”

Get Involved – For parents, be involved in your child’s education. We have many school sponsored organizations that you as a parent or a community member can become a part of. In fact, I met my running mates - Ardaman Singh and Walter Jackson through school activities.
Civics is taught at all grade levels in Franklin Township Public Schools. Everyone things we teach kids with the goal of going to college. Public education is aimed at fostering a civic minded contributing member of our society. From core curriculum to electives. We talk about society more in certain courses but civics is an overall theme in all of our curriculum. All of our curricula has the long range goal of developing productive members of society. We actually looked at a kindergarten curriculum map at our last Curriculum meeting where students would learn about where they live. Students at our newest elementary school, Claremont Elementary School, voted on their school mascot last year. We need to continue to have students discuss issues with all points of view to make informed decisions.

Civics isn’t a course. All of our courses come together in a program in Youth Action Participatory Research where we partner with Rutgers to take the knowledge that kids have gained and then use that knowledge to come up with some recommendations to make their school community and the community they live in better – with solutions to problems. Our students presented at the Superintendents’ Round table hosted by the Somerset County Executive Superintendent in September regarding earlier start times for high school, discrimination and discriminatory practices at schools, discipline and discipline practices at school, and organization of the school day.

Everyone needs to remember that every vote counts.
The Board has invested $750,000 this year in safety initiatives. This is not something that we have just started funding. The safety and security of our students and staff has been paramount to the Board. Each year the Board sets goals, the Superintendent bases his goals off the Board goals. We support these goals by providing the funding. We have Class 3 (retired police officers) in all of our schools, security guards, man-traps at the high school and middle schools. Our elementary schools require visitors to be buzzed in. We have upgraded lighting, cameras, technology, and communication devices. We need to continue and support all methods to keep our students, staff, and visitors safe in our buildings.
Campaign Address 216 Osborne Court Somerset NJ 08873
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During my tenure as a Vice President at major NY center banks (including Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Amalgamated Bank) I instituted best practices to comply with Audit requirements. I worked with a team of managers and staff to develop process flows to mitigate potential monetary risk to the organizations. I have been a member of the School Advisory Council for ST. Matthias RC School in Somerset NJ for the past five years and a substitute teacher at Franklin High School in Somerset for the past nine years.
First on the list is working to achieve a "Blue Ribbon" status for Franklin High School. The second challenge is to address the reality of too many young boys and girls who are not moving on to College, are leaving the High School with little or no marketable skills to obtain gainful employment. The third is the issue of a much needed mentoring program for students in grades 9 to 12, the last point of engagement before they exit to the real world. To address these challenges, I hope to share ideas and experiences with other members of the Board who may not have travelled on my journey.

Civic engagement is an important part of students life after leaving high school. However, civic education in high school is not the same in all districts. For example, some school districts do a great job with voter registration and stressing the importance of the vote, while others are not as progressive. It may be a good idea to institutionalize a civic education lesson for all students in grades 11 and 12.

The safety of our students while at school is paramount and second to none. I support the surveillance monitoring by law enforcement and the presence of a second Police Officer at the high school. "Presence Matters" Teachers and students can now focus better on education.
Campaign Address 30 CARTIER DRIVE, FRANKLIN PARK, NJ 08823
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Several years of volunteer experience, my profession in human resources and my educational experience. Talent Management Training Volunteer Management Public Speaking Personnel Management Communication Leadership Interviewing Coaching Team Building
1 - Drainage of millions of dollars to charter schools where our public schools have extremely qualified staff and resources and helping students get admissions in their choice colleges and dream careers. 2 - Morale and self esteem of staff. A teacher's salary needs a lot of improvement in the United States. 3 - Financial Resources available to our public schools are always being cut and allocation of funds towards education should be the number one priority of our legislators.

To address these challenges the main step is to communicate, educate, and bring the parent and community at large together and then speak up with the facts. Bring these up to our assemblymen and legislatures and push forth changes at the top to change policies to bring about the changes for good.
With the onset of technology current civic education is on the decline. We need to emphasize formal instruction in government, law, history and democracy; incorporate discussion of current events-local, national and international into classroom discussions; provide opportunities to apply formal civic learning in classrooms to community service projects connected to the curriculum; offer extracurricular activities that provide opportunities to be involved in schools and communities
Changes to support safety of our students - strict visitor policy and use a visitor management system; one point of entry and exit during start and finish of school.

Changes I'd oppose - armed officers, security check points at entrances.