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

HOLMDEL TOWNSHIP BOARD OF EDUCATION - Full Term - Vote for ThreeMicrosoft Word - BOE-JobDescriptionForVOTE411.docx School 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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  • Lori Ammirati

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    Joseph Hammer

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    Jaimie Hynes

  • John Martinez

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    Michael Sockol

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    Elizabeth A. Urbanski

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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Holmdel Schools are changing dramatically with the implementation of the $40M Holmdel 2020 Initiative. Strong, principled leadership is needed to ensure the continued success of the Holmdel schools. Increasing costs pressures from teachers contract renegotiations and Holmdel 2020 projects are causing budgets to increase. Finally, students are facing increasing challenges and competition for college admissions while trying to discern their career paths.

Joe Hammer is the leader that we need for Holmdel’s Board of Education. He has three children in the school district and is dedicated to improving the education of all the children of Holmdel. Specifically, he is focusing on three key areas of improvement:

- Expand Students’ Career and College opportunities by 1. Improving college/career counseling by student advisors 2. Improving our students’ college preparations by providing SAT/ACT prep courses 3. Expanding career path concentrations by partnering with business leaders and universities on internship opportunities

- Keeping taxes low 1. Keeping taxes to less than a 2% increase and significantly lower than the current Budget 2019-20 increase of 3.25% 2. Closely monitoring Holmdel 2020 deployments to ensure on-time and under budget

- Improve Holmdel’s Rankings and retention of students 1. Commission a team to analyze and propose recommendations 2. Convey recommendations to gain community support
Holmdel deserves innovative and experienced leadership on the Board of Education and Joe Hammer has the depth and breadth needed for the position. He served as President of the Board of Education and has a proven track record of outstanding results.

- Initiated and successfully adopted the Holmdel 2020 Initiative to transform the district’s infrastructure to support our arts, athletics and academic aspirations.

- Achieved Top 10 NJ Schools Ranking by systematically improving Holmdel School District - Holmdel Ranked #7 in 2016 NJ Monthly High School Rankings

- Improved our students’ college and work force preparations with career path concentrations

- Minimized tax impact of Holmdel 2020 Initiative by over 30% from what the voters approved

- Revamped the safety of our schools by adding SRO and Class 3 police officers

- Improved our athletics (new stadium lighting, tennis courts), academics (computers) and arts (dance and music) infrastructure

- Refinanced our debt saving taxpayers thousands of dollars

- Implemented new Holmdel School District website

- Significantly increased public relations with 300% increase in press releases and journal articles

- Rebranded the school district with Innovate to Elevate

- Expanded community participation in Team Unify events resulting in Special Olympics funding
Holmdel schools are the life and heart of the community. Tightly linking our children's education with the community is essential in raising strong, well rounded citizens. Joe Hammer in partnership with the schools, local charities, township committee, preservation societies, Bell Works and other local businesses will foster internships, volunteer opportunities and community service programs for our students. These programs align our students and community while improving quality of life for all.
Ensuring educational excellence and remaining a high ranking district, providing a safe environment for our students and staff, and meeting both the academic and emotional needs of every student are among the major concerns in our community. As an already extremely active and involved community member, I will continue to listen to my neighbors and work with the school staff to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the students and staff in our district. Using my knowledge and past experience as an educator and school counselor, I will ensure that the Board of Education is working in collaboration with the staff and administration to address any concerns. I believe that everyone involved should take the time to listen to each other, hear the concerns of our community and district employees, and then work together to address and solve these issues.
I am a certified elementary school teacher, hold a certification in Student Personnel Services, and have worked in neighboring school districts as a teacher and guidance counselor. As a mother of four children who have been in the Holmdel School District since Kindergarten, two currently attend high school and two attend middle school, which makes me personally familiar with the issues concerning all four schools. Additionally, I have been involved as a volunteer in this school district as a member of our parent teacher organizations and class mom for the last eight years. I also volunteer in the community for the HYAA recreational leagues, and I am currently a board member of the Holmdel FC. I moved to Holmdel 15 years ago to be able to send my children to one of the best school districts in the area, and I am committed to making sure Holmdel remains an excellent district.
The quality of life in Holmdel is highly impacted by increased taxes. I know this is a huge concern to the entire community, and I would want to make sure our school district is fiscally responsible. We need to make sure that we continuously provide our students with the best education possible, but at the same time ensure that our community's taxes are being spent wisely and effectively.
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The Holmdel School District is one of the top-performing public school systems in the state of New Jersey. According to NJ Monthly, almost 89% of our high school graduates are still in college 16 months after graduation, a solid indicator of college preparedness. Our biggest challenge is maintaining excellence when funding remains tight and maintaining our independence and character in the face of growing outside requirements from both state and federal governments. It starts with strong fiscal accountability (our average tax increase over the last nine years has been only 1.71%, well below the cap), long-range planning (we timed our latest referendum to occur after the debt of an older program retired), and outside funding sources that transform operational costs (like school lunches) into a revenue-neutral item.
I've lived in Holmdel for 18 years and raised two boys who were graduates of the Holmdel public schools. I've served on the Holmdel School Board for nine years, and I would say my proudest achievement has been working with the community to get its support for a $40 million modernization project for our school district. The project won't be finished until next year, and I believe it is my responsibility to see the project through and make sure our promises are kept. It is not a good time to change horses in mid-stream.

But here is another reason why I want to continue to serve on the school board. In these polarizing times, we need open-minded, independent voices who seek solutions, rather than push political agendas. Through collaboration and cooperation, we’ve accomplished a lot during my nine-year tenure on the board:

1) Budgets at or below the state-mandated cap, 2) Safer, more secure schools, 3)More academic, athletic, and artistic opportunities for our students, 4) All-day kindergarten, and 5) Energy savings and technology enhancements.

The completion of the Holmdel 2020 initiative isn’t an end, but a new beginning as we tap into the full potential of our new academic and athletic facilities. I promise to continue to work with our administrators and our teachers to ensure we have the right resources, the right curriculum, and the right educational strategies so that our students are prepared to succeed in a changing world.
I was speaking to a senior citizen group recently, and I reminded them that school board members are essentially trustees of an asset passed down from generation to generation. Our job is to make sure that we don't damage a legacy that so many people have worked hard in the past to build and protect. Having a sense of history is a good thing unless your adoration of the past squeezes out new ideas to build a bright future. Hiring good staff (and letting them do their jobs), learning to "fail fast" to address mistakes when they are small and not large, keeping schools safe and secure, and staying open to new ideas and approaches are important first steps to ensure the quality of Holmdel schools.
I am running for school board to improve excellence, transparency, and accountability across the whole district. While we have many important and exciting changes with our Vision 2020 building plan, there are other areas of transparency and accountability with in the school system that need to be improved. Holmdel has a reputation of being an excellent school system and we need to make sure we continually work to elevate all aspects of the educational experience.

I will work with parents, members of the community, and the administration to make administration policies, and the consequences of them, clear to all stakeholders and ensure parent and child voices are fully heard. My focus will be on making the schools better for the whole community by promoting operational change and does not involve any tax increases or bonds floated.
My children are fourth generation Holmdel residents and I am a third generation resident and taxpayer. We reside on our family’s organic tree farm in Holmdel, which is where I grew up and where we are raising our children. All of our three children attend Holmdel Schools and we have had direct experience of the entire system, from the Village School to the High School. I understand the unique history of Holmdel Township and the Holmdel School system which combines both academic excellence, and engaged and educated parents, within a pastoral environment. As our children have progressed through the school system, I have realized it is very important to be directly involved in the school community. I have attended board meetings, met with all the key members of the administration and I have been able to see the inner workings of the Holmdel School system.

After graduating from Smith College, I received advanced degrees in Arts Administration from NYU and Art History from Columbia. For over 20 years I have run my own business where I advise clients on acquiring contemporary artwork. As a small business owner, I am used to working from the ground up delivering quality on time for exacting clients.

I am running for the BOE to be an advocate for parents and children. If elected, I will set up and advertise regular public open hours where you can meet with me to voice your thoughts and concerns.Those that know me know that I will be a strong voice for children and families.
The most important part of raising children that are excited and interested in learning comes from the parents. Parents choose Holmdel because of the school district and many are involved and engaged. I am committed to helping all parents in the district understand and properly access the options that are available to them as they seek to better prepare their children for success in their adult lives.

The addition of all day kindergarten to Holmdel was a necessary, and overdue, step forward. I will work to ensure that the district continues to serve fully the needs of all of the children within the community.