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Franklin Township School District {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The mission of the Township of Franklin Public Schools is to develop the unique potential of each individual student and create global learners through a challenging and diverse curriculum in a positive learning climate that promotes the development of the whole child and fosters respect for all students.The election is for three Board of Education members. Each serve a three year term.
  • Candidate picture

    Nishita Desai High school Science Teacher

  • Andre T. Fryson

  • Candidate picture

    Ed Potosnak Environmental Non-Profit Director

  • Michelle L. Shelton

  • Candidate picture

    Michael J. Smith Research Scientist

  • Patricia E. Stanley

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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?

Qualifications/Experience Parent and teacher in Somerset, NJ
Campaign Address 29 Hadler drive, Somerset, NJ 08873
Campaign Email
My husband and I, along with our 2 children have lived in franklin since 2000. I have had experience with all forms of education. I currently teach high school biology, topics in human disease and Topics in cancer biology at a local school. Besides my teaching experience my children have attended public, private and charter schools over the years. This gives me the perspective to combine the best of all worlds and deliver the best educational experience possible.

In addition to perspective on teaching, I am strong supporter of giving back to the community by volunteering at the franklin food bank, can drive at stop and shop. During my free time, I have helped at our local intermediate school during Drama production, organized blood drives, and have led Girl scout troop 60631 for past 6 years.
One of the biggest issues facing our public schools is ever growing charter schools. Charter schools are taking away precious resources from the public school which educates all children in the district, not just a select demographic groups as some charter schools do. Township taxes are being used by charter schools without any input by from the board or the residents. I would like to work with the board on this issue.

Mike Smith, Ed Potosnak (current Board president), and I have been hosting education coffee around Franklin park and Somerset to meet with parents and to hear from them about our schools.

Many parents we met so far were happy with our schools but wanted to see better communication across all the schools in the district. Many parents wanted to see G and T program at our schools, in addition to having our students use computers in and out of school. Current superintendent and the board members have worked on a new and improved website which will be launched soon. Additionally gifted and talented program has been rolled out and is expanding across grades. SGS intermediate school ran robotics during spring and has STEM program at Franklin Middle school. One to one computer program was introduced last year to students and teachers were trained to facilitate instruction, this program will also expand across grades. We have a superintendent has filled all positions with permanent principals and vice principals, I would like to continue to keep the momentum in this progress seen in last couple of years.
I think the current civic education in our schools is adequate.
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Campaign Address 29 Hadler Drive Somerset, NJ
Ed is the current President of the Franklin Board of Education. Under his leadership the District has soared to new heights with a sense of purpose and collegiality.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Ed grew up fishing, swimming and boating in the waters of the Garden State. As a young man Ed worked alongside his brothers in his parents’ small business manufacturing life-saving communication devices for first responders.

He put himself through Rutgers University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's degree in Education. In college, Ed was a bestowed the greatest honor for undergraduate students at Rutgers University for demonstrating strong leadership, academic standing, and character when he was selected from among thousands of students to the Cap and Skull Honors Society.

Looking to inspire students to achieve in science, Ed established advanced courses in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at Bridgewater-Raritan. After a decade in the classroom teaching Chemistry, Ed sought out an opportunity to improve education and environmental policy and was awarded a highly competitive Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship to serve on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC where he crafted policies designed to improve our nation’s health and competitiveness.

Currently, Ed is Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, advancing environmental protections. Ed has also taught as a Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers University, a member of the Rutgers Glee Club Alumni Advisory Committee. Ed enjoys reading, sailing, golf, skiing, singing, cooking, SCUBA, hiking, running, biking, and camping.
1. Communicating the great things happening in our schools. Some steps have been taken - Dr. Ravally's Focus on Franklin (<iframe src="" width="400" height="300" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" hpsace="0" vspace="0" frameborder="1" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>, Joining the Township Newsletter. Next up Digital media (Facebook and Twitter) presence. This year alone we have had major achievements including: • The Middle School and Samson G. Smith were both commended by the New Jersey Department of Education Interim Commissioner, Kimberly Harrington, for moving both schools off the State’s “Focus” school list and for demonstrating tremendous growth in student achievement. • Our High School earned distinction by making it onto the College Board “AP Honor Roll,” one of just over 400 hundred schools in the United States and Canada to achieve this high-level award. And, we have four National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists. • The one-to-one laptop initiative is going strong with our 5th and 6th graders all having free laptops they can take home. We will continue expanding into 7th, 8th and then 9-12 until all our 5th-12th graders have laptops through the district and the excellent education using this technology that goes with it. • Five of our schools attained “Future Ready” status with the NJ Dept. of Education indicating our teachers are at the cutting edge of educational innovation and using technology to teach in transformative ways. • At the High School, we had two of our interscholastic sport teams earned State Championships: Girls Basketball & Boys Track. 2. Expanding Gifted and Talented. In the works-- with more subjects and grades upcoming. 3. Expanding charter school payments. Right now the $10 million we spend is going up 20% a year. This growth needs to be stopped and I will work to level off the diversion of education funding much needed o educate our students.
I think our faculty is doing a great job teaching civics in our schools. Where students seemed especially engaged was the last year's Presidential election. We had a very active program educating our students. Our elementary students all registered with Studies Weekly which offered a live mock election among other age appropriate lessons using a variety of resources.

At the High School a new club, Junior States of America, ran a voter registration drive during lunches and in the Social Studies wing. The students also prepared "teach-ins" in the Social Studies classes to ensure all students are aware of the platforms of the major party candidates.

It is often hard to grasp civics as a youngster, but our teachers are working hard to make history and civics about real life. One of our goals is making sure every student is prepared to actively contribute to our democratic republic. I would like to see more visits by elected officials to the schools to talk about their community service.
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Qualifications/Experience BS in chemistry from Kent State Univ., MS in chemistry from MIT, PhD in chemistry from Princeton. Furniture making apprenticeship. 15 years a research scientist. Treasurer of the NJACS Organic Topical Group.
Campaign Address 29 Hadler Dr Somerset, NJ 08873
My educational background will be the lens through which BOE issues will be seen. I'm a product of parochial elementary school and public high school. I earned a BS from Kent State University, a masters degree from MIT and a PhD from Princeton, all in chemistry. Being someone who loves to work with his hands, I also have formal vocational training as a furniture maker. These experiences as well as over 15 years as a professional industrial research scientist, where project take years to accomplish, give me unique perspective and insight into not only STEM areas but also practical and creative work. The field of science is multifaceted and I've had the pleasure of working with people from all walks of life. My two children have been in the Franklin District schools for the past 10 years where they have participated in many of the arts, music, drama and athletic offerings. As a parent supporting these endeavors, I've gained insight to the community and current state of the schools. These experiences have prepared me and will allow me to be an effective member of the Franklin Board of Education.
Firstly, the Franklin schools need to continue to build on the improvements in communication with the township residents. I want to ensure that quality and timely dissemination of information about the positive aspects of our schools is achieved. This will lead to improved recognition and continued pride in our schools and their programs.

Secondly, the district offers quite the range of the art, music and athletic programs in addition to the fundamental classes. These programs are where our kids learn the intangible aspects that help them grow into great adults. We need to ensure that we have the funding to continue to provide these programs that are essential to full student development. If all of our residents know how great these programs are, they will take full advantage of them. I want to help convince the township residents to eliminate duplicate services, so that we can ensure that the taxes paid by our residents are not diluted and can ensure the continued support of these wonderful programs.

Lastly, Over the last few decades, education has focused solely on traditional book style learning. There is a need for many of our students to learn by a hands on approach. Many students feel the need to create not only poetry or music, but real tangible things. Many students find that being able to admire something they have built leads to real personal growth. I would like to support not only the current maker movement found in our STEM programs (3D printing, CAD, etc) but traditional hands on program such as metal working or woodworking.
Franklin schools help students learn many ways to be civic minded such as JROTC, food drives, fundraising for disasters and peer tutoring, however we can always encourage our students to contribute to our community. Civics education is learned by example and if the community holds civics in high regard, our students will too. I encourage all students to get involved with anything positive for which they have a passion.
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