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Hopewell Valley Regional School District - Hopewell Borough

Hopewell Valley Regional School District, Hopewell Borough. Choose 1 candidate

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    Jessica Grillo

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    Elizabeth Maziarz

Biographical Information

What personal and professional skills do you possess that will make you an effective member of the School Board?

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

How do you propose to balance the following factors: recruitment and retention of excellent teachers, quality of education provided to the students, and the desire of most taxpayers for lower taxes?

What do you consider the most importanct challenges facing the school district and how will you address them?

What are your thoughts on an expanded and broader PEECH (Pre-School and Early Education for Children of Hopewell) program within our district?

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In my professional life, I am constantly working to balance the needs of the organization, senior leadership, and employees, which can be opposing at times. Not only I will bring this professional balancing skill to the board but also a strategic business mindset with the ability to understand the financials and plan for decision-making impact to the community. In addition, I will also bring effective moderating and communication techniques for conflict, which I have developed over my career and could expect to encounter on a board with opinionated members. Lastly, I will bring my understanding of board process and procedure from serving as President of the Moravian College Alumni Board and trustee on the Moravian College Board of Trustees.
It is the sad reality that schools have become a target for violence and we need to take appropriate steps to keep our children safe. I support preparing children and staff for an active shooter situation in a manner similar to preparing them for other emergency situations such as fire. I think we need to continue to limit access to schools and would support the use of metal detectors in all schools, to the extent it is possible.
Right now, we have the highest per-pupil cost in Mercer County. I think the first step to balancing the above factors is to ensure we are getting proper return on our current investment. While remaining sensitive to tax-payers, I want to ensure we are allocating our budget to the best educators and resource which are most integral to a high-quality education.
I think the rising cost of taxes is a large issue for the families in the district. Again, we need to take a deep look at the per-pupil cost for our district and understand if we are maximizing every dollar for the students and educators.
I think the PEECH program is a valuable program for families in our district and an important offering that that demonstrates Hopewell’s commitment to its students from an early age. I think it encourages young families to move to the district and retains teachers, as they see the investment the district makes in building the success of their students from an early age. As a mother of young children, I would certainly like to see an assessment of the program to evaluate its effectiveness and see if its value warrants expansion. However, it is only one piece of a much larger system that requires all pieces to work in unison from a strategic and financial perspective.
I am an excellent listener and have the ability to see all sides of an issue. I also have excellent analytic thinking skills, and the ability to see both the big picture and the finer details. I am organized and patient, yet direct and honest.
I would welcome changes that keep our children safe, however, I would not support any changes that bring weapons into the schools.
This balance is a challenge for every member of every Board of Education. Only by making difficult decisions in the nitty gritty details of each budget can it be achieved. In reality a perfect balance of these elements is not always possible.
The biggest challenge facing the district is the balance mentioned above. The other main challenge is educating students in a way that gives them real skills, not just high test scores.
An expanded PEECH program could serve the needs of Hopewell Valley families, so long as cost and classroom space is not an issue.