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Somerset Hills School District - Bernardsville {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The mission of The Somerset Hills School District, a visionary learning community, is to ensure that each student discovers the power of his or her unique abilities as a socially responsible citizen of the world through a system distinguished by dedication to innovation, forging global connections, celebration of diversity, creative use of technologies, and compelling learning experiences while maintaining an expectation of achievement beyond the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.The election in Bernardsville selects three members, each to a three year term.
  • Anthony Sardis

  • Sara Sooy

  • Kathleen A. Tober Stay-at-Home Mom

  • Candidate picture

    Patricia Wry Teacher and Part-Time College Lecturer

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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?

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Qualifications/Experience •Sitting Board member •24 years as a high-level pharmaceutical executive •Mother of 2 children in the school district
Campaign Address 114 Crest Drive Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Campaign Email
•Served as board member since January 2017 by being chosen to fill a vacated seat •Two children attending school in the district (one at Bedwell and one at BMS). •Retired after spending 24 years in the pharmaceutical industry working in the area of clinical drug development. Provided oversight for $2B in outsourced clinical trial agreements. Managed budgets in excess of $50M and a lead a staff of over 250 team members. •Hands-on experience in the areas of strategic planning, talent acquisition, staff development and retention. •Civic and charity mindset - Bedwell HSA Co-President, St. John on the Mountain Vestry member, St. John's Nursery School Board member.

What I bring to the Board of Education: •Emphasis on the value of education •Parent perspective •Experience overseeing large budgets and ensuring fiscal responsibility •Mindset of maximizing value and ensuring efficiency while pursuing absolute excellence for our district •Understand that in order to pursue educational excellence for our children we need to continue to attract, acquire, develop and retain the best, brightest and most innovative teachers - teachers who will nurture and push our children to be their very best, try new things and create a safe environment for them to make mistakes and learn from them
•Budget constraints - examine current expenditures, review ongoing practices and look for possible innovative efficiencies •Balancing the use of technology with personal instruction - stay current with innovative technology that will enhance the educational experience of students and personal their individual learning without marginalizing the role or value of the teacher •Attracting, retaining and developing quality educators - position our district to be one of the forerunners in the support and use of innovative practices, one that encourages teachers to develop themselves as educators and rewards them for their dedication and commitment to making our district a top-rated one.
Yes but the responsibility and the power of a voting citizen should be given greater emphasis.
Qualifications/Experience BA - Literature, Rutgers College, 1981 M. Ed. Creative Arts Education, Rutgers GSE, 1991 Resident of Bernardsville since 2004 Husband Paul and son, Liam, Sophomore at BHS Public School Teacher for 35+ years Lecturer since 1993, Equal Opportunity Fund of the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Board Member, Bernardsville Library Foundation Communicant, Eucharistic Minister, and Children’s Liturgy and Fellowship Coordinator, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Bernardsville Elected Democratic Representative, Bernardsville Voting District 7 Local Board Member, Selective Service Poll Worker
Campaign Address 66 Anderson Hill Road
Campaign Email
As a teacher of English Language Arts, Public Speaking, Drama, Social Studies and Creative Arts, I have served children and schools for over 35 years. I’ve have taught in urban (Morrisania section of the South Bronx) and suburban (Marlboro Township) districts in every grade, save kindergarten. The classroom is my home and education is my passion, not simply my vocation. My experience as a teacher makes me committed to high expectations for achievement for all children and has imbued me with strong beliefs about students’ ability to learn and of the ability of Somerset Hills School District’s (SHSD) to serve all children at high levels. My myriad experiences as an educator also enable me to understand that, if elected, I will be accountability-driven, establish a collaborative relationship with staff and the community, and be ready to serve as a united partner with the Superintendent, all of which I do on a daily basis in the course of my professional responsibilities.

1. The hiring of a new Superintendent

When a Superintendent, community and school board are not on the same page, it is a recipe for disaster. If elected I will endeavor to:

Support and participate in a hiring committee that understands the leadership needs of each school and the district as a whole. Recruit candidates based on criteria that meet established district goals. Identify the strongest candidates and participate in the assessment of finalists. Work with the candidate and our current Superintendent to plan for a smooth leadership transition.

2. Preparing for life after PARCC

Both candidates for Governor have expressed reservations about continued use of PARCC as an assessment tool for student learning. Therefore, our district may face new state mandates for testing and work in concert with parents and teachers to effectuate them. The information gleaned from standardized tests, such as PARCC, NJAsk etc., provide SHSD with important data that informs instruction. Data Driven Instruction and Inquiry (DDI) is a key in supporting all student success and I will work to implement policy that assures that any new state mandated assessment that leads to DDI is fair, transparent and responsive the the needs of our children.

3. Technology upgrade

I currently work in a “1-1 district” - one that provides faculty and students, regardless of income, with access to their own internet-ready devices. Our district, which uses Chromebooks 24/7, and allows students and teachers to use them outside of the school buildings, has seen first-hand the efficacy of the program.

1-1 students have a sense of ownership and are more apt to take charge and become invested in their learning. The transition to 1-1 in my district was not without problems but we learned from our mistakes, and my experience in this would be a boon to SHSD.

If elected, I will actively work toward SHSD’s becoming a 1-1 district.
As a poll worker for the past 9 years, I have witnessed shockingly low voter turnout for elections. Locally and nationally, citizens seem both disconnected from and discontented with the democratic process. It is, therefore, vital that the SHSD ensure that every student is provided with the knowledge and skills to participate actively in our democracy. Along with College and Career Readiness, we need to consider Citizenship as a third C.

While teaching civics in the classroom is a way to do that, it cannot serve as the be all and end all, and adequate is not a level to which we, as a district, should ever aspire. As a community, we have a collective responsibility to empower all students with a desire to engage in civic life, and to do that, we need to provide them with actionable opportunities to participate in decision making. Our children are the voices, the future and the change makers, and we need young people to be a part of the conversation.

We are on the right track in requiring community service. According to Youth who volunteer are more likely to feel connected to their communities, do better in school, and are less likely to engage in risky behavior and students who performed voluntary community service were 19 percent more likely to graduate from college than those who did not but we can and should do more.

The SHSD needs to foster stronger connections with the communities it serves in order to better support community civic engagement. If elected, I will actively work toward that end. logo


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