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

TOWNSHIP OF OCEAN BOARD OF EDUCATION - Full Term - Vote for ThreeSchool board members in New Jersey are responsible for adopting policies under which the school district operates; overseeing the school district budget; approving the curriculum; hiring and evaluating the superintendent; representing the public during contract negotiations; and serving as a communication link between the community and the school system. Elected school board members receive no compensation and serve three-year terms, unless elected to fill an unexpired term when a vacancy occurs.

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  • Amy McGovern

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    GraceAnne Talarico

  • Natalie Tortorello

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    Jeffrey Weinstein

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    Cyndi White

Biographical Information

What are the major challenges facing the community/district and how would you propose to address them if elected?

What qualifies you for this position, both personally and professionally?

What factors are critical to the quality of life/education in your community and what would you do to improve or preserve them?

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Our youth deserve an education that is focused on the student reaching their fullest potential academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. We as parents, professionals, teachers and school personnel have the obligation to help them achieve this in the face of challenges youth are presented in society today. Some challenges may include mental health, substance abuse, learning differences/special needs, technology abuse, social/peer difficulties, bullying, socioeconomic means, and at times family circumstances. Teachers are an integral piece to this process. I would like to hear from them and have open communication with the BOE regarding teacher and student needs. If elected, I would like to address identification, heightened awareness, and early intervention, as a team, to help our youth/students achieve to their fullest life potential. Training in these areas could assist in addressing mental health and wellness, early identification of behaviors of high risk students, learning differences, students’ preferred style of learning, and other youth challenges that affect their student achievement. In my experience youth who have difficulties in learning/academics, and if these challenges are not being addressed adequately, will result in negative behaviors. I would like to see an open line of communication between the Board of Education, teachers, parents, and the community to express their concerns and ideas regarding their child’s integrative education.
My husband grew up in Ocean Township and has always loved this town. We married in 2005 and we decided Ocean Township was a great place to raise a family. Our daughter presently attends Ocean Township Intermediate School. I have decided to run for Board of Education because I want to make a difference in the community by bringing my training and expertise to our school district. I have a vested interest in the prosperity of our community, the education of our youth, and overall student achievement. For over 20 years I have worked in the mental health profession as an advocate for children and families. I began my career as a mental health screener, have held multiple director positions in the mental health field, and have built on my skill set and experience to currently owning a mental health agency that provides in home counseling services to youth and families of Monmouth County. My team works collaboratively with families, school personnel, mental health professionals, doctors, the legal system, and other individuals in the best interest of our youth. I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I am dually licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I have a vast knowledge of referrals and resources in Monmouth County. I volunteer as a Monmouth County Disaster Response Crisis Counselor and hold a Treasurer of the Board position at a local nonprofit for Family Support.
I believe good family values, community involvement and creating a positive educational environment/experience will foster and motivate life achievement in our youth today. By addressing the academic, social, behavioral and emotional needs of our students and providing them support, we are teaching our youth independence, structure, positive use of leisure time, and preparing them for transition into being responsible young adults. We, the parents, school personnel/teachers/superintendent/Board of Education, and community are responsible for guiding and leading the students together in a positive learning environment to help preserve the quality of life/education in our community. In addition, I would like to propose a quarterly subcommittee, with Board of Education members, school/teacher representatives, parents/community members and Child Study Team/Guidance members to help review, identify and address ongoing student/youth challenges, not just in our schools, but in the community. This subcommittee would work as a collaborative team to help bring awareness, positive resolution, intervention and resources. I encourage youth to volunteer, attend community events, learn to play an instrument, utilize community job coaching, join a local gym offering karate, mixed martial arts, or social inclusion sports/activities. Explore your talents, find healthy options and build on your skills! Get involved! We are better together! FAMILY-EDUCATION-COMMUNITY-ADVOCACY
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I see three areas that challenge the advancement of our district. First, our declining enrollment means less state funding, which impacts the educational and cultural initiatives the district may offer. As a current board member, we promote the use of shared services to lower our expenses. Proactively we need to continue our efforts in winning grants , i.e. the recent Pre-K funding, additionallyI would like to engage the private sector to invest in our programs.

The second challenge is our level of engagement with our parents. If our parents are fully aware of the district's opportunities for their children, then can become stronger advocates. An area to improve upon is better communication with our community. Our board has had many meaningful discussions, and I believe those efforts will improve access to information. I would like to implement efforts that partner with parents to provide them with strategies to support their children as they go through their academic and social challenges. Lets go beyond communicating and progress to collaborating.

Thirdly, it’s important to stay the course with our CTE programs, as this focus around technology, business and performing arts offers much to students while giving our children more reasons to remain within our district instead of attending the specialty, vocational and private schools. We need to actively promote the success of our alumni and share how their experiences prepared them for their future.
Professionally, as a CEO and senior partner with 20 years of experience on corporate boards, a current member of the Ocean Township BOE, Planning Board member and member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board, I appreciate the importance of engaging and weighing the views of all the stakeholders to reach decisions and implement strategies. Taking a board seat means to put all personal interests aside for the entity to succeed. Throughout my life, I have shown to be a solid steward, respectfully challenging the status quo, level headed, and always pushing the envelope. My experience in the software industry as an executive, investor, teacher, and mentor gives me a solid perspective to provide insight to the school district to prepare our kids for the future. My background in the sciences and business are balanced in knowing that data alone does not tell the whole story.

Personally, both my daughters attended Ocean K-12 and as a family, we had a very rewarding experience. Of course, there were challenges along the way, and having lived through all the ups and downs that come with raising kids, I fully appreciate the parents, teachers, students and administration's perspectives. As a coach for my daughters' teams for 15 years, I experienced the school work vs activity balance. Being part of that balance gave me a good understanding of how our kids need fun in their lives and to have a supportive environment surrounding them to deal with their pressures.
We moved to Ocean when my oldest daughter was three and we were looking for the small-town feel, solid school system and a family-focused community. Now, eighteen years later, our community is more diverse, and as a Board, we will want to work with the town so our diversity continues to strengthen us as a close-knit town. Additionally, our town always comes together to help one another when others are in need or experience tragedy. Those moments remind me of how fortunate my family is to be part of this community. As a district, I would like to see us rally around a couple of social causes each year. For example, we would focus, educate and do fundraising to help the homeless or raise awareness for a disease, such as Alzheimer's.

Working together about causes like these will not only create a positive example for our children, but also strengthens the bond within our community as a whole.
Our Staff and students must have a safe and supportive environment and culture. Communication and transparency of information is a consistent complaint I hear. The message is clear, our parents want to hear more from our Administration and our Board of Education. Some sitting board members have blamed social media for putting information out faster than the district has time to formulate a response. This is not the best answer and refutes accountability. We need to do better. If there is information pertinent to their child or the school district that is not in violation of FERPA or HIPPA, it should be made available as soon as possible in multiple formats. I have attended most Board meetings this past 13 months, more than 3 of my opponents. After every board meeting I receive numerous communications from parents asking what happened. We need to be recording board meetings.

Funding always was and will always be an obstacle to having the best facilities or the best educators and staff and providing the best education for all students. I will encourage active participation from our parent groups and stakeholders to advocate with our legislators for dramatic changes to the funding formulas. Increase billing of services to health insurance to increase revenue and defer some of the cost of services to students are receiving. I will also request an independent audit and committee be formed to evaluate all spending defined OTHER. Visit for more
My roots in Ocean are deep. My record of service to our youth is long. I served as VP for pop warner football and Dow Ave PTA, and on the Human Services Alliance. I am currently a Special Olympics coach, coordinator and family mentor, 3rd year VP for our Special Education PTA. The founder of SEPAG, and of PLAYlocal. The 12 years between raising my children, I was an executive for a multi-million-dollar, manufacturer. Those years were spent managing staffs, writing policy, developing market strategies, budget planning and negotiating contracts. I lead an acquisition team in the purchase and renovation of a 100-thousand-sf facility and worked with State agencies writing grants and developing employee retention programs. After Jacob was born, I returned to school, received my degrees in K-12 education and Nursing. I now am a pediatric RN, school nurse in large, local public-school district. I have attended board meetings consistently for the past 2 years and I understand the structure, function and dynamics of our Board of Education and our district schools as both a parent and substitute.

My experience and knowledge are proof, I am ready to get to work for you, our taxpayers, our educators and most of all for our children.

Please see the ABOUT ME section of my website
We are seeing a reduction in our student census and an increase in our English as a second language student and parent base. We need to embrace these changes and find ways to communicate freely with our students and with their parents. Parental participation in education is proven to enhance learning, health and development of all children at all levels. Language and communication barriers hinder opportunities for free collaboration, participation and transparency at the parent level and gives rise to segregation and frustration at all levels of education. We as a district are slowly addressing the communication needs of a few of our ESL parent populations. but we need to go further and faster. In this age of tech, every teacher, nurse, counselor, coach and administrator in our district should have the access to a translation device. An inclusive culture cannot exist with out free exchange of information. As the founding coordinator of (Special Education Parental Advisory Group), I expanded the traditional functionality of our SEPAG to include a Cultural Diversity Committee. It provides an opportunity for parents to be informed and involved participants in the school community and make a positive contribution to our school. Rotate BOE meetings throughout the district schools to encourage participation and enhanced sense of belonging for all the residents of our community. We can do more with collaboration and creativity. for more