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Fair Lawn Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Fair Lawn Board of Education consists of 9 members with 3-year staggered terms.In 2017 we will be electing 3 members.
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    Ronald J. Barbarulo Plumbing Inspector/Master Plumber

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    Emily Cohen Professor of Social Work at Rutgers

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    Elyss Frenkel High School Business Teacher

  • Joan M. Piela Retired Teacher

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    David Tratner VP, Marketing/Communications, for a non-profit

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    Adi Vaxman CEO & Business Executive

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Biographical Information

What is the most pressing issue facing the BOE and how would you address that issue?

What unique perspective and/or skill set will you bring to the Board of Education?

With the cultural and academic diversity in our student body, what is your philosophy on how to provide opportunities for all students to reach their potential?

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Current Elected Position Board of Education Trustee 2014-Present, 2009-2012
Education Bergen County Community College – Paramus, New Jersey – 2005 to 2006 Completed: ICS and HHS Plumbing Inspector Courses and Subcode Course, Construction Official Completed State Certified Apprentice Program – 1985 Bergen Tech Adult School - Hackensack, New Jersey – 1981 to 1985
Years in Fair Lawn I have resided in Fair Lawn with my wife Denise and our family for 23 years.
Children & Ages I have three beautiful children - Kayleigh 21 years old & Dominick 19 years old, both in college and my youngest Joseph 16 is a Sophomore at Fair Lawn High School. All Fair Lawn Educated!
Any issue that effects our schools & our students is pressing and has a direct relation to every other issue that comes to light, a trickle effect. Continued growth of the student population & a search for a Permanent Superintendent are of immediate concern. The resolve of these issues, as well as all BOE actions, rely on the support of the residents of Fair Lawn. Educating the community along with clear & concise communication about the issues at-hand & the path that the BOE must take to address them is paramount. We need people to come to the meetings & participate; utilize the BOE website for factual information; utilize PTA/PTO groups as vessels of information; reach out to community groups; develop a protocol call list so the proper channels can be followed; hold forums to meet people & brainstorm. We can gather the facts/data & vote for what is in the best interest, but we cannot be successful without the people of FL knowing & understanding the facts for the present & future.
I have a unique grasp on the Fair Lawn community because of my involvement in many different aspects of LIFE in Fair Lawn. With 38 years of experience in the construction field, I not only understand what needs to be done during a project or with a needed improvement, but also know how it should be done & an idea of what it should cost. I am not afraid to challenge an expert if I feel something can be done differently or more cost effective. As a coach, I not only am involved with the current student population of all ages, I also engage with the parents. It’s not unusual to be asked a question or told about a concern while on a ball field. I also have the frequent opportunity to directly engage the students & listen to what they have to say, after all they are the most important focus of the BOE. As a local businessman, I am in & out of Fair Lawn homes all the time often having discussions with customers about our schools, answering questions and providing guidance. I listen.
My philosophy has always been that education begins at home; tolerance begins at home. We need to ensure that we address the academic needs of ALL of our children. EVERY student DESERVES excellence in education whether they are special needs, gifted & talented, college or trade bound. We need to recognize that our students are not all on the same life path. Course offerings need to be adjusted to make sure we are all inclusive. While education is ever evolving, sometimes you need to bring back the basics i.e. woodshop, mechanics & at the same time provide exposure to the future. It is important that we use arts & music to enhance a child’s education/growth. Through this avenue, we also aid in learning cultural diversity. It is a priority of mine to ensure these programs remain strong. We have the availability to use federal grants for parent nights for immigrant parents to help them understand the school system. Our educators must be given the proper tools to teach ALL of our children
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Current Elected Position Preschool and Borough Volunteer
Education PhD in Human Development and Family Studies
Years in Fair Lawn Moved to Fair Lawn in May of 2014, two months before my son was born.
Children & Ages Daughter age 4.5 years; son age 3 years; daughter age 6 months
Our district is at a unique historical moment, with growing classroom sizes, a proposed tax referendum, and technology continuing to transform teaching and learning. It is essential that our district navigate these changes with the right permanent superintendent in place. This is among the most important responsibilities for our Board—to recruit and select an exceptional educational leader to usher our district into its next chapter, to give our children the very best opportunities for their future, and to protect our community’s investment in our schools. As a new Board member, I can bring a fresh perspective to this going-on three-year search. I will help to ensure that we select a superintendent with proven ability to lead systems changes toward the highest quality teaching and learning for the 21st century. I also will help inform the public on the progress of the search and to ensure that diverse community leaders, parents, and staff have input into the Board's hiring decision.
A strong Board of Education is a diverse Board of Education. I can help to diversify our Board in two main ways. First, my professional background complements existing areas of strength on the Board. I have a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, and I have been a social work professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, for 10 years. I also am a national research expert on age-friendly community initiatives. I can bring to the Board my skills at weighing different sources of information, dialoguing with diverse voices, and understanding expectations for higher education. Second, I am a parent of three children all under the age of five. Currently, only two of the nine members on the Board have a child currently in the district. (Several others have grandchildren.) It is essential to have more parents sitting at the table as the Board deliberates on major policy decisions that will especially affect Fair Lawn students of the future.
Public schools must provide the highest quality education for all students, regardless of their ability, race, gender, etc. As a social work professor, I am especially aware of how institutions—such as schools—affect inequalities. As a Board member, I will look for policy solutions that avoid the traps of zero-sum decision-making where people are led to believe that in order to improve things for one group, we must take away something from another. I also will encourage full analysis of policy proposals in terms of how they potentially affect different groups of students in different ways. I further will look to hire a superintendent who can lead constructive dialogue and partnerships around diversity and who can bring forth good information (such as from other districts, professional organizations, and academic research) to inform deliberations on how to make Fair Lawn schools an even better place for all children.
Current Elected Position Member: Fair Lawn Board of Education
Education Education: Bergen Community College AA, Bergen Community College: AA, Montclair State University: BS, Ramapo College: MSE and T
Years in Fair Lawn 38
Children & Ages Four – Ages: 34, 31, 29, 25
Right now, to me, the most important issue for our schools is properly preparing the students of Fair Lawn for the constantly changing world we live in. Our schools must prepare students for careers where the jobs that they will hold do not even exist. These jobs have not been created because the companies where these students will be working have yet to be founded. The ideas behind these companies have yet to be conceived. So many things are fluctuating so quickly, and the schools must keep up with these advances. Schools need to change and stimulate the curiosity of the students as we engage them in learning. This issue should be addressed by continuing to add the newest technology to Fair Lawn schools, hiring the best teachers and administrators and maintaining the level of excellence to which the Fair Lawn community is accustomed.
I am a team player. I understand consensus. I am fact drive and data aware. I want to see that the Fair Lawn schools are well run, safe, and both effectively and efficiently administered. I am passionate about education and all aspects of our town. I am concerned about the taxpayer, as I am one. I would like to see our students moving through our schools in the best possible environment. I am a good listener. I look at the vision, mission and goals of our district and I will make decisions that will positively affect our students, staff and community.
My philosophy for providing opportunities in a culturally and academically diverse population includes hiring educators and administrators that are well versed in the complex learning theories of child development. We must be able to build relationships with staff, students and the community, no matter their background. I will support the acquisition of resources and professional development for effectively teaching, all students including special needs students, bilingual and culturally diverse populations. I believe there must be respect for all members of the community and we must incorporate objectives that will ensure all students receive a thorough and efficient education in the borough of Fair Lawn.
Current Elected Position Trustee of the Fair Lawn Board of Education
Education BA Elementary Education MA Art of Teaching
Years in Fair Lawn 67 years
Children & Ages Josette 42, Joseph 4O, Jon 39
The most pressing issue facing the BOE is the overcrowding in both the elementary and middle schools. I would address it by: encouraging the parents and community to attend the meetings regarding the information concerning the referendum. It will help them to be better informed so they will vote to pass it.The additions to the Middle Schools will open classroom space where needed in both the elementary and middle schools.My main goal is to provide an excellent education for all students. By passing the referendum Fair Lawn will reach this goal. All students will have access to equal and excellent education.
I have the following unique perspectives and unique skills for the board.I have been an educator for over 30 years working with students from pre-school to 6th grade.I have been a local and state level union rep, I am knowledgeable how unions work and have negotiating skills. I have been a PTA president,and been active in PTA while my children were in school. I presently have two grandchildren that attend Fair Lawn School and is active in their education. I have served on several committees as a board member for the past three years, including Special Ed, and negotiations. I am currently chair of Hard Borders and Student Dialogue.I lived in Fair lawn for 67 years so I have a vested interest in the community and the schools. I only want the best education for all the students of Fair Lawn and I am not afraid to work hard to attain that goal.
Fair Lawn has an academically and diverse student body. I want to make sure that all students are provided with an education that makes them productive members of society. STEAM is an important initiative that students in elementary, middle school, and high school have access to in their classrooms. I want this to be even more evident in their classrooms. This will prepare them for college. I would like to increase the AP courses, and partnership with colleges so students are able to enter college with college credits. I would like to initiate partnerships with colleges that provide vocational training for high school students with learning disabilities.. This will reduce drop out rate, increase their self esteem and confidence and get them ready to be productive members of society. Finally, students who speak another language other than English are provided with a curriculum that provides them with to be actively emerged in the English language and great learners.
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Current Elected Position N/A
Education B.A, in Journalism from Lehigh University with minors in Economics and Communications.
Years in Fair Lawn 9.We moved to Fair Lawn in August, 2008.
Children & Ages Brooke, 12 (7th grade) and Mark 7 (2nd grade)
Fair Lawn’s reputation as an amazing school district needs to be preserved by dealing with the overcrowding problem in our schools so that no child’s education is sacrificed while waiting for solutions to kick in. If the elementary schools need to be rebalanced, then it’s important to communicate the value of smaller class sizes and the impact on a child’s education, test scores and school ratings. A voluntary rebalancing has been successful before, and I would like to see a stronger push from the administration in asking parents to voluntarily shift schools if it means smaller class sizes and more individual instruction. Long term, the referendum must pass and the plan to expand the middle schools must move forward. I was part of the Board in 2014 during the run up to the successful Westmoreland referendum. I played a significant role in rewriting the messaging that was used in the referendum campaign and in helping the public understand the importance of voting yes.
I’ve worked in marketing and public relations for over 25 years. I am the only one of the 2017 candidates who has extensive experience in communications, marketing, public relations and in working directly with communities in a communications or PR role. In my career, I have worked in college (University of Miami) and professional sports (New York Jets), publishing, health & fitness, digital media, with start-ups and worldwide agencies. In addition, I have Board of Education experience, having been chosen by the sitting Board to fill an unexpired term from July 2014-January 2015. With the unique skill set I bring to the Board, I will be able to provide guidance and direction in improving communication with the public and the media to preserve and improve upon the already stellar reputation of our schools.
I have talked about the need to continue to diversify the way Fair Lawn prepares our students for life after high school. I want to see the administration continue to explore ways to expand opportunities at the high school level for students to learn real-life trades and establish well-paying career paths that provide viable alternatives to college. Advanced placement classes are wonderful, but they are limited in size. I know there are alternative ways to offer a wider range of students the chance to earn college credit and the more we can participate in these programs as a district the more our students and their families will benefit. A great deal of the time, high school allows students to test the waters and discover what motivates them. Fair Lawn High School should continue to expand its capability as a place for students to map out a path to match their dreams and their passions with their future.
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Education * Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Economics - Hebrew University of Jerusalem * Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology - Hebrew University of Jerusalem * Bachelor of Music in Music Theory and Composition - Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance * Masters of Business Administration (MBA) - Cornell University * PhD in Organizational Leadership (Business and Operations)
Years in Fair Lawn I have lived in Fair Lawn for 15 years, since 2002 when I was pregnant with my oldest son.
Children & Ages I have 3 Children, Ages 14, 10 and 5, attending Fair Lawn Schools.
Fair Lawn is facing several major challenges at this time, including an ongoing superintendent search and an overcrowding problem leading to a tax referendum and major changes in our schools.

This combination of challenges makes them even more critical and requires increased attention to ensure our schools continue to be well-run and our spending is aligned with the value we provide. It is our duty and responsibility to do everything we can to stretch our budgets further by increasing efficiency across all areas of operation before imposing additional burden on taxpayers.

Hiring a motivated superintendent with strong management skills that can lead the district for years would be my initial focus. This leader must be data-driven and have the ability to gather, analyze and present data, have a proven experience in managing a large staff and mentoring without ego, possess remarkable collaborative and communication skills, and form a clear vision for taking our schools into the future.
I am a parent of 3 students in the district (Kindergarten, 5th, & 9th grade) with first-hand knowledge of the challenges students and families face in all stages of education.

I have 3 bachelor degrees in Computer Science & Economics, Biology & Psychology and Music, an MBA from Cornell University and a PhD in Organizational Leadership. 

As a business executive for over 25 years, I have been managing companies and budgets while building and growing teams. I have the right mix of education and operational experience to strengthen the Board with strong business & technology abilities.

In my professional life I form and execute organizational strategies, implement planning, forecasting and budgeting processes and increase efficiency using existing resources. I build management teams to lead organizations through significant growth. 

I am also an immigrant, and as such I bring the unique perspective of understanding the challenges of Fair Lawn's large immigrant population to the table.
The mission of our schools is to prepare students for entering the adult world & workforce and continue their studies in higher education, in order to fulfill their potential and become contributing, happy members of society. Our education must inspire, challenge, motivate and prepare children of all backgrounds for success and excellence in an ever-changing world.

Identifying and understanding the needs and abilities of our diverse student population and providing quality and enthusiastic education and extracurricular activities in a multitude of fields, will allow students to explore their interests and create a passion for excellence and achievement across all cultures and personalities. 

Hiring a strong superintendent that could study and openly speak about diversity will be a first step towards creating opportunities for all students to discover various fields of education and knowledge and will provide them with the information and skills to pursue a future of their choice. logo


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