It's election time again in Hoboken and like every year – to me – the most important race is at the bottom of the ballot: electing members to the Hoboken Board of Education. The three members we elect this Tuesday will join a nine member board guiding the future direction of our district schools. The decisions they make will be crucial to my daughter, her friends and our neighbors and the entire mile square community.
I think back to when I first started volunteering in Hoboken High more than a decade ago. It started as just a course assignment, create a community project, but soon after it started I simply fell in love with the kids. Through meeting and working in the High School I saw things that I thought needed to be changed to give these students the best chance at a successful future. I wanted to make a difference and to be a part of making the district schools the best possible place for them to learn, grow and blossom. And so I ran for the board, hardly imagining what I was getting into.
My first three years on the Hoboken Board of Education were intense. Alone at first and then with allies, we insisted on being told how each decision we made would impact upon the students. We argued that we spend our money where it should be spent, in the classrooms. It was all too often a lonely place, a hostile place and a disappointing place. People focused on the kids were in the minority, and we often lost these battles.
But as years passed dedicated and involved district parents and supporters were elected to the board. Decisions began to be made with the best interest of the students always in mind. Progress was slow but steady and it has continued well past my tenure on the board. Today our district is vibrant and our students are thriving. This Tuesday, Hoboken voters will decide if that progress will continue unimpeded. When I look at the candidates, when I delve into their past involvements, and consider their commitment to our district schools, I see only three candidates can be counted on to support the progress in our schools.
Incumbent Tom Kluepfel has steered the budget to efficient spending while making sure that our district's neediest children are well served. A defining moment for him as a father was when he proudly handed his daughter her diploma from Hoboken High, knowing she was well prepared for what lay ahead,
Sheillah Dallara serves on the Hoboken Early Childhood Advisory Committee, is the Wallace School PTO Vice President and also a co-director of the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group where she spends time helping special needs families find the needed support services for their families at the same time that she is a mom raising her two thriving district students who attend Wallace Elementary School.
Addys Velez is the treasurer of Hoboken High School's PTO, manages dozens of employees and holds an MBA in finance. and is the mother of three successful district students; two in Hoboken High School and one in Wallace Elementary School.
I ask that we honor these three committed and involved parents and give them our votes to allow them to continue raising the high standards already in place.
Reach higher, Hoboken!
Vote Column F, Rows 2, 4 and 6 to make our public schools even better.