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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Hamilton Township (Mercer) School Board {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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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  • Pamela A Kelly
    (N)

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    Jason McSheene
    (N)

  • Kenneth A Nehila
    (N)

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    Robert "Bobby" Sanborn
    (N)

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    Janna Sheiman
    (N)

  • Dina Thornton
    (N)

Biographical Information

Assume you have just finished your first three-year term as a board member. What accomplishments would you be highlighting for your re-election?

Is the school district, on the whole, trending upward or downward, and why?

A Board often has a number of committees. What committee would you want to chair, and why?

What ideas do you have to enhance the learning for career-oriented learners; and likewise for college-bound learners?

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Campaign Email jason@jasonmcsheene.com
Website jasonmcsheene.com
I want to give back to NJ public schools because I firmly believe that they, along with a loving family, have given me every advantage. Additionally, I have a one-year-old daughter who will attend these schools. After 3 years, I hope to demonstrate that I have helped to:

1.) Increase equal access to quality education by making equitable choices that strive for equality for all Hamiltonians, 2.) Ensure that the district has a solid 5- and 10- year facilities transition plans that may include redistricting, building repurposing, and probably new construction to alleviate overcrowding and failing infrastructure, and 3.) Expose students to the modern, multidisciplinary workforce to help prepare them for their lives as young adults.
I believe the school district is trending upwards. The Hamilton Township BOE and school administration have demonstrated increased equity by having all second grade students sit for a qualification test for the gifted and talented program (ALPS). Additionally, the number of Advanced Placement test takers has increased over the last couple of years. The repair referendum from 2017 was a vital step in making the facilities safer for our students. It is also evident that many families are seeking ways to ensure that their students are engaged and on a positive track. While the district is on an upward trajectory, there is important work to sustain and grow these improvements.
Of the main committees, I believe my background and experience would best benefit the Curriculum Committee. Although I have not taught K-12, I have helped teach 5 undergraduate and graduate courses at Princeton University. For my teaching work, as well as the creation of a personal and professional development podcast for graduate students, I was awarded the Thomas J. Silhavy Graduate Student Advocacy Award by the Department of Molecular Biology. As a STEM/STEAM advocate, I also have the personal goal to encourage Hamilton Township’s participation in the annual Mercer County Science and Engineering Festival. I hope that a scientific perspective will inform discussions about the curriculum and all topics coming before the Board.
Although I earned my PhD, I know that college and graduate school are NOT for everyone. Our schools must employ empathy to help students understand what their post-graduation options are and do their best to help them prepare to become well-rounded young adults along the way. Modern careers are multidisciplinary and many require wide skillsets. We should help each student cultivate a “life-long learning” mindset because there is no career for which a degree is sufficient for long-term success. It is the Board’s duty to help educators in guiding students to better understand and further develop their learning habits.
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Website https://bobbysanbornhtsd.wixsite.com/home
Twitter @SanbornHTSD
I hope that after my first term ends, the district accomplished several things: 1) Improved student achievement scores in core subject areas of science, math, and English/Language Arts. This would also include closing achievement gaps for our students of color and students with disabilities. 2) Lower the chronic absenteeism rate below the state average. Currently, HTSD is well above that average. 3) Show that our graduates are successful in postsecondary (lower college drop out rate, higher degree completion) and in the workplace (higher median household income). 4) Commit to upgrading and building new facilities to house our 21st century curriculum and coursework. 5) Improved student and teacher scores on our school climate survey.
I truly believe the district has been trending upward for the last two years. The stability provided by Superintendent Rocco, and his staff have had a positive effect on student scores, district communication, and increased student opportunities. The district recently placed emphasis on chronic absenteeism, even receiving a grant to implementing solutions. Additionally, the district has continued to build more robust career pathways for students with a combination of workplace opportunities and early postsecondary courses, such as AP classes. Finally, the township passed a referendum allowing for substantial security and building upgrades to make them safer and ADA compliant. Don't get me wrong, more can be done, but this is a strong start.
I am currently on the Future Facilities subcommittee, but if elected, I would want to chair the Finance and Operations Committee. I would be a great chair due to my vast experience in these areas. As the former Executive Director of Finance and Reporting for the Division of College, Career and Technical Education, I had the privilege of overseeing a multi-million dollar budget focused on ensuring students were to become both college and career ready. In addition, I've completed school contracts in transportation, facilities, food service, IT, and equipment. My current role in a Fortune 500 company has me providing project management and financial valuation with teams such as Real Estate and Facilities which would be asset in this role.
As noted above, I worked for the Division of College, Career and Technical Education. We set the vision for ensuring all students are both college AND career ready. It’s imperative our students are prepared for both; only focusing on one pathway will not guarantee success. In their lives, our students will enroll in some sort of postsecondary education, be it college, technical school, on the job training programs, etc. Therefore, students need work-based learning opportunities (internships, apprenticeships, etc) and access to college coursework (AP, dual enrollment, etc). This should be required. Finally, we must provide our students stronger counseling to help navigate the programs of study. It shouldn't be this hard to find the pathway.
In seeking reelection, I would be highlighting the increase in student scores in math and language arts in the state assessments. Our district has reduced the rate of suspension and discipline actions, resulting in an increase in student retention and student engagement. This has allowed us to increase our high school graduation rate through providing additional support services for students to allow greater access to resources and to be more available for learning.

A major accomplishment to highlight would be the increase in identifying and providing educational supports and learning space for our students with special needs, providing appropriate learning environments for the students.
The Hamilton School District is on the whole trending upward. Our Superintendent has created two committees to address a strategic plan and a facilities plan to help shape the direction of our school district, which has educator and community involvement. Our district has seen an upward trend in our standardized test scores, and is developing e-sports programs to increase engagement in extracurricular activities and to provide alternative scholarship opportunities for the students. Two of our Elementary Schools have been recognized as National Schools of Character, a testament to the diversity and inclusion of our programs. While there is still room for improvement, we are, on a whole, moving in a positive direction.
There are two committees that I would like to be part of and chair. The first is the ad hoc committee for negotiations. As a licensed attorney, I have extensive training and experience in negotiations and mediation, skills that I would bring to the table in contract negotiations, labor mediation, and employment contracts.

The other committee that I would want to chair is the Curriculum and Instruction Committee Special Services Subcommittee. I worked for eight years as a special education attorney, advocating for a students right to an appropriate education. I would bring my experience working with multiple school districts to the Committee, working to find realistic and actionable measures to provide services to our students.
One of the initiatives that I am an advocate for is providing internship and apprenticeship programs to our schools to begin training students who are seeking to enter the workforce directly after school. These would involve partnerships with local businesses and labor unions to provide hands on training for the students and give them solid experience before graduation.

For students seeking to continue on to college, one of the biggest concerns I hear is that students are not prepared to enter the College academic setting. To address this, the district should look to provide classes that follow a college format, with midterm and final exams or term papers, rather than specifically teaching to standardized testing.
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