• Hoboken Board of Education Candidates 2017 {Answer 13 Questions}

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    Yes, it’s Halloween — but it’s also Tuesday, and in October/early November, you know what THAT means! Election coverage time.

    We’ve spent a good chunk of the last couple of months talking about the Mayoral and City Council elections, but also on the ballot in next week’s election are nine individuals running for Board of Education positions. A quick background: Hoboken’s Board of Education is made up of 9 volunteers, who serve for three-year terms. Unlike Mayor and City Council, however, there are Board of Education elections EVERY November, with three people voted on each time. The Board of Education, according to their website is “the legislative branch of the school district…a policy making body.” The main role of the BOE is “formulation and evaluation of all policies necessary for the operation of the school district…[BOE] legal responsibilities include acting upon administrative recommendations for appointing and dismissing personnel, adopting an annual budget and formulating policies necessary to the smooth operation of the school district.” The BOE works together with the Administrative Team, which is lead by Hoboken Superintendent, Christine Johnson. To learn more about the Administrative Team, and the BOE, click here.

    We reached out to all nine candidates to learn more about why they wanted to run for BOE and what their vision is for Hoboken’s school system. We asked each candidate the same questions and their unedited answers are below.

    1. What is your occupation, how many years have you been living in Hoboken, and who do you endorse for mayor/city council?

    Sharyn Angley:

    Currently, I volunteer as a Hoboken Board of Education trustee and am a stay at home mom to my three sons. My commitment as a board member is much more than attending one meeting per month, as one might think. The board operates on a committee structure and meets the week prior to the public meeting to review and discuss agenda items and other related issues. I currently serve as the board Vice President, am the Finance Committee Chairperson, sit on the Facilities Committee, the Long-Range Facilities Committee (which will address enrollment growth and facility needs) and the Negotiations Committee. I put much effort into studying the issues at hand and take pride in the time that I take to responsibly address items affecting our students and our community. I am as dedicated to the district as I have been to my professional career. I have a background in Finance and Accounting and have worked for many years in the Financial Services and Accounting industries at KPMG, Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital.

    My husband and I moved to Hoboken 15 years ago thinking we would stay for a year or two and then move to the suburbs. We quickly fell in love with Hoboken. Three children later, we decided this amazing community is where we would call home. We have now lived here longer than we have lived anywhere – Hoboken is our home.

    For the best interest of the district and the board, I am remaining neutral this election season with respect to the mayoral and city council race. Regardless of who becomes mayor or is elected to city council, I believe the board of education will work with these elected officials and will support them in leading our community.

    Peter Biancamano:

    Television Production/Talent. A 6 year volunteer member of Hoboken Board of Education.

    Born and Raised in Hoboken.

    I feel the BOE is an autonomous agency. I could work with any of the mayoral or council candidates who are running.

    Lauren Eagle:

    CEO of the Eagle household; Board Member of University of Delaware; Board Member of the Mile Square Early Learning Center (MSELC); Co-founder/head of the MSELC Preschool Parent Volunteer Group at St. Francis site.

    I am a 15-year resident. I moved here shortly after graduating from the University of Delaware. Hoboken is where my husband and I got engaged, bought our first home, and celebrated the births and many firsts for our children.

    Shhh, it’s a secret! Nah, in all seriousness, personally I am still researching each of the candidates. I really want to understand their unique positions on key issues that I care about – education being my top priority. I know that whichever candidates are elected, I will be able to work together with them on matters concerning our schools.

    Chetali Khanna:

    I graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a BS in Business Administration. I also earned my Masters in Accounting and am a CPA with over 15 years of leadership experience in the professional field of public accounting and internal audit. I transitioned to working part-time from home in order to spend time with my children and to have the flexibility to be actively involved in not just my children’s edu cation, but the overall school community.

    My husband Raja Khanna and I have been residents for 11 years. We have a 7 year old son in 2nd grade and a 10 year old daughter in 4th grade.

    I will not be endorsing anyone for Mayor or for City Council. I believe it is in the best interest of the district and its students if I, as a candidate for BOE, remain neutral. Serving the community and the needs of the children in our district are my priority. However, whoever is elected mayor or to the council will work collaboratively with the BOE and Superintendent.

    Anne Marie Schreiber:

    Substitute Teacher and three-time elected member to the Elysian Charter Schools, Board of Trustees. I currently serve as Vice Chair.

    I’ve been a resident of Hoboken for the past 20 years. I’m proud to call it my
    home and I’m also proud to be raising three amazing kids in this wonderful community.

    I don’t think there’s a place for politics in education. My slate and I have been focused on what needs to be done to improve upon the District schools, bringing all schools together, as we live in a mile square community. It is also our responsibility to the community at large because we are all tax payers. I work easily with others and look forward to working with anyone who is elected for Mayor or to the City Council.

    Melanie Tekirian:

    I am currently on the executive team at a financial services technology consulting firm. I am a results-oriented leader with over 25 years of financial services experience working within a variety of brokerage, clearing, regulatory and technology organizations. I attended college at The George Washington University, where I earned a degree in International Relations. I earned my MS in Information Systems Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.

    All together, I have lived in Hoboken for 18 years. I initially moved to Hoboken
    immediately after college and lived here for 4 years. Then, after 8 years in the city, in 2003 I moved back with my now-husband, Dillon, to make Hoboken our home. We can’t imagine living anywhere else!

    I am not endorsing any candidate for Mayor or City Council. As a candidate for Board of Education, my priority is serving the needs of the children of our district and representing our community. I hope that whoever is elected as our next Mayor, as well as the members of city council, will work collaboratively with the BOE and Superintendent of schools in the best interests of our community and students whenever appropriate. No politics, just support for our public schools!

    Patricia Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    2. Are you running on a slate? What are the #s?

    Angley:

    I am running with two other energetic, active and passionate women. Their names are Melanie Tekirian and Chetali Khanna. We are Hoboken Proud (column J, 5-6-7)! We are all parents of children who attend the Hoboken Public Schools and are motivated by the positive experiences we have each had with the district schools. We believe strong schools and a strong community go hand in hand. We are invested in both.

    Biancamano:

    Yes I am running with the Educate/Collaborate slate along with Anne Marie Schreiber and Lauren Eagle. We are #’s 1-3- 4.

    Eagle:

    YES! I am number 4J on the Educate/Collaborate slate, VOTE134. I am running alongside Anne Marie Schreiber and Peter Biancamano. It is an honor to be a part of a group where each member brings a different perspective and unique experience that will benefit Hoboken’s schools and our community.

    Khanna:

    I am running with the Hoboken Proud Slate. We are Melanie Tekirian (#5), Sharyn Angley (#6), and myself Chetali Khanna (#7). We are passionate about our community and deeply committed to Hoboken. We are proud of the District and all it has to offer our children. We are actively involved parents of children who all attend the Hoboken Public School District, so we know first-hand about the progress, innovative programs, great teachers and administrators in the District. Between the three of us, we have six children in the Hoboken Public School District.

    Schreiber:

    Yes, I am running with the Educate/Collaborate slate alongside Peter Biancamano and Lauren Eagle, two other stellar candidates. We are #’s 1-3- 4.

    Tekirian:

    I am running on the Hoboken Proud slate, along with incumbent, Sharyn Angley, and Chetali Khanna, an active school volunteer who has served on the Wallace PTO as an officer for the last three years. Our ballot numbers are 5- Melanie Tekirian; 6 – Sharyn Angley; 7 – Chetali Khanna. We are proud district parents with six children enrolled in grades K-5. We believe that strong schools and strong communities go hand in hand.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    3.  What are your top 3 priorities for the district in the coming year if elected? Why and how did you select these?

    Angley:

    The most important decision a board of education has to make is deciding who will lead the district. As a current member of the board, I was involved in the selection process of Dr. Christine Johnson and recently helped facilitate her new 5 year contract. Dr. Johnson’s experience in the field, her dedication to the district and the programs she has implemented in our schools makes keeping her on board my #1 priority. As a current member of the Long-Range Facilities Committee, I will continue to prioritize the need to address enrollment growth and facility needs. This year alone, the district’s K-12 enrollment increased by ~200 students. I believe this can be attributed to Hoboken residents’ belief in the Hoboken Public Schools, it’s administration, and the board of education. Another priority of mine is to ensure that the programs and services afforded to our students are responsibly funded. Over the last 2 years, Dr. Johnson has implemented and enhanced many programs offered to district students such as:
    ● Project Lead the Way (K-12 hands on Science, Technology, Engineering and
    Mathematics program)
    ● World Language including Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and French
    ● Over 20 AP courses offered at Hoboken High School
    ● Dual enrollment courses to earn college credits through local colleges and universities
    ● Passport to Learning elementary after school program- offering enrichment such as golf,
    zoology, chess in addition to academic support
    ● Explorations middle school after school program- offering clubs, intramural sports and
    academic support through a partnership with Stevens Institute of Technology

    Biancamano:

    1.) Space in Southwest – The school district needs to adapt to the growing population in the Southwest portion of town. Connors school has reached its space limitations and we must be pro-active in trying to accommodate those families.

    2.) Communication – Dialogue needs to be mainstreamed so all schools are receiving proper information at the same time.

    3.) Budget – We must stop relying on taxpayers to fill budgetary needs. Raising school taxes nearly twenty percent in the last five years is not prudent to our community’s taxpayers. We need to balance our enrollment so we could generate more state funding rather than rely on taxpayers.

    Eagle:

    1) Reducing uncertainty in the schools. So many of my friends who are parents really struggled this past year when school choice was removed. Along with that, I want to ensure that each student, no matter which school they attend, receives the same quality academic and social experience. I speak with parents across the community and this concern is prevalent.

    2) Improving communications. No more last minute communications! Parents should not be worried about missing deadlines or getting short notice about important school activities. Think about it—if you’re a parent reading this, how many times have you had to reach out to fellow parents or to your school, to figure out key dates and activities? I know I’ve had to do that. We also want the community to have a clear understanding of how the school budget (taxpayer money) is being spent.

    3) Elevating our schools. I want our schools collaborating with more Universities and Colleges. I want to bring in more programs and resources to meet the different needs of our students. Let’s put our schools on the map make them a reason to move to Hoboken. I want to see the Hoboken Community be excited about the schools, especially young families who often cite the schools a reason for leaving Hoboken.

    Khanna:

    1. We have seen a dramatic growth in the enrollment of students in our district. As a result, I pledge to work with the Long-Range Facilities Committee to ensure we work towards supporting the growth in our community and provide adequate facilities for our students.

    2. I will work with the Superintendent to provide distinctive innovative programs and the best services for our district students, while continuing to enhance those programs
    already in place. My goal is to ensure that all programs provide students with the best opportunities and that we meet the diverse needs of all learners.

    3. One of my biggest priorities is combating misconceptions about our programs and student achievement. Rumors and innuendos are harmful to our community and hurtful to district students. We hope to continue to raise awareness and inform the community of the great things happening across the school district today and make our District the
    No. 1 choice in our community. Our schools offer an array of outstanding courses and programs. Our students graduating from high school are being accepted at universities
    and colleges across the US including Vanderbilt, Berkeley, Stevens, Penn State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and Rutgers. In the last year, our graduating high school seniors earned over $8M in academic scholarships. I pledge to continue to support this upward trend in achievement levels.

    Schreiber:

    My top three priorities are

    1.) Clear communications and collaboration across all of the district schools. We want to ensure that all parents are receiving all communications at once and I think it would be great for the parent-teacher associations from each school to come together to share what’s going on in their individual schools. It’s in collaborating with and learning from each other, that we become the best we can be.

    2.) Ensuring the High School is high performing and reaches blue ribbon status and that the fear of the High School is taken away – The High School has excellent programming under the leadership of Dr.Johnson and I think we need to get the word out. We need to actively reach out to the community with stronger outreach efforts to dissipate parent and students fears

    3.) Strict Fiscal Management and Transparency- We need to spend money wisely, and put more money towards professional development. I also believe that we need to stop relying on tax dollars to fill budgetary needs and we need to be transparent about the budget and how money is being spent so all residents have a clear picture of where their tax dollars are being spent.

    Tekirian:

    My three top priorities are:
    ● Medium and long range facilities planning with a focus on addressing continued enrollment
    growth and related facilities needs to support our families all over Hoboken. We will ensure that the school district has state of the art facilities to support the education and lifelong success of 21st century students.

    ● Working with the superintendent to continuously evaluate the progress in our schools and the contribution of various programs and curricula to student achievement, love of learning and growth mindset for all of our students. We will not be afraid to change what isn’t working and innovate for our students.

    ● Together with the superintendent, business administrator and other members of the board,
    maintain a fiscally responsible budget that will support the continuous success of district
    students, teachers, administrators, programs and facilities.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    4. Do you have any specific changes you want to make in school district policies, programs, or the various school curricular being offered? If so, what changes do you want to make and why?

    Angley:

    As a board member, it is important to know that we shouldn’t go in with a set agenda. We are not 1, but 1 of 9 board members and we work together as a team. The role of the
    superintendent is running the day-to-day operations of the district and determining the most effective programs for the students. The board’s role is to hire a leader who they trust and who is experienced to do this. As board members, our role is to set policies, goals and objectives for the district and to work constructively with the superintendent and the administration to build a fiscally responsible budget to accomplish those goals.

    Biancamano:

    The role of a board member is not to administer the schools or run any day to day operations. Most district policies are mandated by the state, however being a veteran board member, I was instrumental in allowing the public to have more of a voice in participating in meetings. I feel this needs to be done at the committee level as well, as long as no items are personnel in nature, then we should be able to allow the public to join us in committee meetings. One program I have been and will continue to recommend is to have an internship program in the high school; our community has become quite rich with small businesses and large corporations where our high school students could learn real world skills.

    Eagle:

    The role of the Board is not to run day to day operations, but be the voice for our community, who we serve.

    There are three key opportunities I’d like to focus on: 1) More partnerships between Hoboken schools, at all levels, with nationwide Universities. We need to learn best practices and apply them to our schools. I want more schools recruiting from our High School. 2) Establish a liaison between the BOE and the community. Community attendance at Board meetings is abysmally low. Why? Because speaking up at a Board meeting is an unnerving process. Our board should have a community advocate. PLUS, I want advocates, a PTO officer, from each school working together to share ideas on a regular basis. 3) Dig deep on test scores in Hoboken – to find out how we could better approach the state’s required testing of our students. Each student performs differently and we need to evaluate and bring in support for students who need it. This will not only allow them to excel in the testing, but in all their academic learnings.

    Khanna:

    One of the most important decisions a BOE makes is the hiring of the Superintendent who is responsible for making the day-to-day decisions about education programs, spending, staff, and facilities. In this regard, Dr. Johnson is doing an amazing job leading the district. It is critical that the Board works collaboratively with her to ensure that the school district policies, programs, and various curriculum options offered are continuously being evaluated to support student achievement and success. With that being said, we will also need to work together to adopt a fiscally responsible district budget to support any changes or new programs, policies, and curriculum offerings. Some suggestions that I would like to explore include leadership development in the classroom, adding teaching artists, and expanding Mandarin to the younger grades.

    Schreiber:

    Yes, the role of the Board is to set policy, however, our role as board members is not to micromanage, nor to become involved in the day to day happenings in the district, that is the role of the Superintendent. Our role is that of governance and strict fiscal management.

    Tekirian:

    While I don’t have specific policy, program or curricula changes to share here, there are a few of the topics about which I am interested in supporting or making a difference including Arts in Education, Financial Literacy and Responsibility, College Readiness and Application, as well as addressing important societal topics like Income and Racial Inequality and Disparity in our school and community.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    5.  What is your long-range vision for the school district? What do you want it to look like? What is your plan to achieving that?

    Angley:

    My long-range vision for the school district is for the Hoboken Public Schools to be this
    communities’ #1 choice. My plan for achieving this is to continue to support Dr. Christine
    Johnson and the programs she sees necessary for our students to succeed. As a district parent and community member, I am always happy to promote the great things that are already happening in the district.

    Biancamano:

    I believe we need to think outside the box. When we have a high school with an enrollment way below what the building capacity could hold, we must promote how great the teachers, administrators and programs are by re-shaping people’s image of the school. The key to a strong district begins with a premier high school the whole community could be proud of. Our schools should be blue-ribbon status. Working with Dr. Johnson since she arrived in Hoboken, her vision is to work collaboratively with all schools in our community which is the approach all board members should take rather than pitting district vs non-district. There is only one public high school in Hoboken and it should be the go to for all.

    Eagle:

    My vision is to make Hoboken families excited about our schools and to view them as a reason to STAY in Hoboken. Reducing uncertainty around the school is critical. Parents need to know where their children will be attending school without waiting for a placement letter. I want to look at our school locations compared to family addresses to help develop a zoning program that provides certainty to parents.

    I am also passionate about test scores and want to partner with the Superintendent and teachers to understand the obstacles during the testing period. We could consider leveraging a consultant to review our testing process vs. other successful districts. We don’t want to overwhelm the students during the testing, but be able to give them support and resources during that time. This will also help lead us to achieving blue ribbon status.

    Khanna:

    My long-range vision for the school district is for our district to be the No. 1 choice in our community. My plan to achieve this is to continue to support and help to further build on the progress and changes under the leadership of Dr. Christine Johnson. I pledge to work constructively with the other Board members and with the larger community in order to benefit our students.

    Schreiber:

    My vision for the school district is to have it be one in which parents are excited about and are looking forward to having their children attend. One in which all negative stigmas are erased. I think in such a small city, we need to work collaboratively with all other schools in town. Right now, Hoboken High School is the only district High School. You have children attending the Districts K-8 program, children in private and charter schools and I’d love to see the High School become the choice destination for all. The District offers excellent programs so I think it comes down to educating the community about how wonderful these programs are. Whether your children attend the district or not, 1/3 of your tax dollars or a portion thereof, are going to the District students. I think then parents of private and charter students will become much more familiar with the district schools and will generate excitement about the High School. I think it will clear up the High School’s image problem and more parents and students would clamor to attend, ultimately increasing enrollment.

    Tekirian:

    Along with my running mates, my goal is that our elementary and middle schools be recognized in our community and beyond as urban schools of excellence and that Hoboken High School be Hoboken families’ number one choice for grades 9-12. This is not so much a long-range vision but a continuation of the positive trajectory for our schools that has already started and is ongoing as we strive towards continuous progress and excellence in our curricula, extracurricular activities, programs and partnerships. Debunking the myth that Hoboken’s public schools are subpar in general and compared to other schools available in the community. Community education and outreach are instrumental to changing the outdated anecdotes and misperceptions about our public schools. We will end the negative chatter that misrepresents our schools, students and teachers!

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    6.  What is your opinion of the current school district policies on the following? – Special Education Students

    Angley:

    The district has an amazing special education program and a large student population benefiting from the programming and the services offered. Hoboken District Schools offer many special education pathways including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), self-contained and inclusion classrooms, as well as inclusion in afterschool programming. As a current board member I have supported the dynamic programs that the district has in place for our special education students and will continue to support the enhancement of these programs and services, to ensure the educational needs of our students are fulfilled. We owe the continuous progress of these programs to our administration, teachers, paraprofessionals and parents/guardians who are passionate, tireless and dedicated to our students. Mr. Mark Mautone, a beloved teacher and respected leader and coordinator for the ABA/Autism Program, was recognized for his work with the ABA program and was named 2015 NJ State Teacher of the Year! This is a tremendous accomplishment for Mr. Mautone and a great accolade to the district.

    Biancamano:

    During my time on the Board, we’ve seen an influx of special needs students who are both being educated in district and outside Hoboken. The state has direct guidelines on what special needs students are entitled to, and I have never seen an instance where the district has gone against those entitlements. In fact, the district strives to go above and beyond regarding special needs children.

    Eagle:

    The Hoboken school district follows all State policies for Special Education Students. I believe in creating a culture of inclusion throughout the entire school system. We need to ensure that special needs children feel welcomed and cared for no matter which school they attend. They also need to be given the resources they need to develop and succeed. I view caring for special needs children / providing special education as a partnership between the school, teachers, parents, and students – working together constantly to ensure that all needs are met and we continue to look at how our resources can be further developed.

    Khanna:

    Special Education is an important component of our school system. The district is required by law to accept every child with a disability and provide appropriate supportive measures. The district’s highly regarded special education programs are effective in meeting the needs of the any students it serves and increasing opportunities for these students success. We must ensure that funding is always adequate to support these extraordinary programs and staff.

    Schreiber:

    Policies regarding Special Education Services are State mandated. Being the mother of a child with an IEP since his Kindergarten year, I know first-hand, the importance of a strong special education program. Special education is a necessary component in schools and children with both IEP’s and 504 plans need to be served because all kids matter. IEP’s and 504 plans must be followed “to a T” and there is a legal requirement to do so. I will put all efforts towards emphasizing the importance of identifying the children who need these services early on in their education. Elysian did a wonderful job in identifying my sons need for services in October of his Kindergarten year. Early intervention is crucial to a student’s overall success. I am also passionate about the fact that an atmosphere in which special education students are not ostracized is created throughout the district.

    Tekirian:

    Special education is a priority in the Hoboken District Schools . Hoboken District Schools offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), self-contained and inclusion classrooms, as well as inclusion in afterschool programming. As board member, my commitment is to continuously enhance Hoboken public education for all students. For our special needs children, I will support the superintendent and Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) to enhance & expand programming & support services, hire talented and caring teachers and service providers, provide training and support for our teachers, aides & providers to enhance skills and capabilities and support partnership with parents to ensure that children’s individual educational needs are met.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    7. English as a second language students

    Angley:

    The Hoboken Public School District’s curriculum is aligned to the national and state academic standards as required by the NJ Department of Education. The district’s curriculum documents are organized by units of study, essential learning outcomes and standards. Each of these curriculum documents include core instructional materials, instructional resources, pacing guides and modifications for our broad population including our English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. The beauty of public school is that all students are welcome and all students are given great opportunities to learn and succeed.

    Biancamano:

    The Hoboken district in my time on the board as followed state guidelines in educating our ESL population. We need to give all the resources we could to educate this population.

    Eagle:

    The Hoboken school district follows all State policies for ESL students. We need to always recognize the diversity of Hoboken and meet the needs of all students. We need to teach the curriculum, while supporting the development of the students at the same time with their adjustment to an English environment. When working with ESL students, we need to partner with the teachers to get an understanding of the student’s reading and writing ability to help advance their development.

    Khanna:

    For such a small town, Hoboken is an international city with an amazing array of cultures and languages. It is not unusual at all for students to enter the district with limited English-language skills. The district does provide services to help these children’s needs in developing their speaking, writing, and reading. The district uses Response to Intervention (RTI) in reading and in math to continually monitor children who struggle in these, and aid teachers in providing individualized instruction where needed.

    Schreiber:

    Hoboken has a diverse population and we need to support the needs of all students, as I keep saying, all students matter and its their right to receive these state mandated services. To my knowledge, the BOE has followed all State guidelines.

    Tekirian:

    With a goal of supporting the educational needs and challenges of all students, I support an ESL program within the schools that helps students coming into the classroom without English language skills to acclimate and succeed.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    8.What are your ideas for professional development for teachers?

    Angley:

    I believe effective professional development for teachers is a must. As collaboration, debate and reflection are expected of students in the classroom, it is important for educators to develop these techniques in teaching. The Hoboken Public Schools has prioritized professional development to ensure our educators are effectively teaching programs such as Project Lead the Way, a nationally recognized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) K-12 program, all AP courses offered at the high school, etc. The district administration has also promoted teacher led professional development sessions which promotes learning from each other in collaborative way. According to a recent NJ Department of Education performance study of teachers and administrators, all Hoboken Public School teachers were deemed to be “effective” or “highly effective”. Both our students and our educators are benefiting from effective professional development.

    Biancamano:

    Dr. Johnson has created many professional development opportunities for our fantastic teachers. Including an in-house university on furthering their careers without having to go to private universities saving money. I feel we need to continue to support the administration in giving our teachers the resources they need to succeed personally and professionally.

    Eagle:

    I’d like to survey our teachers after they take professional development seminars to find out if they thought the seminar was valuable and applicable. I‘d also want to make sure all teacher aids are up to speed and pursue professional development opportunities. After all, it’s not just the lead teachers who have an impact on our children. I’d like to compare our professional development programs to programs offered to teachers in the top NJ schools.

    Khanna:

    As the world changes rapidly, so to do the educational needs of our children. Professional development, then, is crucial to providing the teaching staff with the knowledge skills they need to implement ever-evolving curriculum. I leave specific ideas about PD programming where they belong—with the Superintendent. As a board member, my job would be to encourage and support such programs.

    Schreiber:

    Professional Development is exceedingly important, especially in these times when technology is changing all of the time. We need to provide teachers with the resources and training necessary to feel comfortable and very importantly confident learning and implementing the latest technologies into the classroom.

    Tekirian:

    While it’s not the board’s role to design professional development programs, I believe that well trained teachers who are supported & encouraged in their professional development are great for our public schools. I support training, continuing education & professional development opportunities for our teachers, aides, administrators and support providers. In particular, I support training & mentoring for new teachers to help them reach their highest potential with support from seasoned teachers and administrators; training that supports readiness to take on new and updated curricula and programs; programs that focus on skills and techniques for supporting the social and emotional growth of students. Teachers should also be supported in continuing education in their areas of specialty and in best practices and emerging trends in education.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    9. Thoughts on technology in the classroom?

    Angley:

    Incorporating technology in the classroom changes the way teachers teach, from lecturing to a more hands on, active learning approach for students. Technology encourages collaboration among students and connects students with different learning styles. Technology is such a big part of life today. Teaching students how to use technology to learn, research and problem solve will help prepare them to be college and career ready.

    Biancamano:

    Technology is always difficult to manage as when you purchase something like laptops or chrome books, they usually become quickly outdated. Something we have begun to do is lease equipment which is much more cost effective and keeps up with the times.

    Eagle:

    We need it….and more of it! When you integrate technology into the classroom, both teachers and students advance. Students are already interested in technology and this will allow them to engage and actively participate together in interactive lesson plans. Hoboken’s kids need to be exposed to new technology so that they are competitive with students in other schools…who they ultimately will be sitting next to in college.

    Khanna:

    Technology is entwined in almost every part of our culture and affects how we live, work, play, and most importantly learn. And while I believe it is important that our schools deploy the most effective technology in our classrooms, I also believe it should be the right balance and effectively integrated into subject areas. Technology provides the tools that thoughtful teachers and students use to work smarter and achieve more.

    Schreiber:

    We live in the digital age where technology is being used in all aspects of our lives, from our Smart phones to Smart Boards to our I-pads, PC’s and Mac’s. Technology in the classroom is essential in ensuring both educators and students are keeping up with the times. Technology is changing from day to day and it’s important that students are keeping up with it to prepare them for the workforce.

    Tekirian:

    I believe that the use of technology in the classroom is important for building 21 st century skills for our students. Particularly for Middle & High School grades, students should be using technology, including commonly used software programs to prepare for success in college, work and for managing their personal lives. Academic and extracurricular programs, like coding, robotics, software certifications, provide kids opportunities to advance their technical skills to support their interests and future endeavors. At the younger grades, screen-time should be balanced with traditional learning and activities. However, it is important that we prepare our children for succeeding on standardized tests, like the PARCC exam, that are entirely computer based. Technology plays an important part in all of our day to day lives and should be interwoven into the education and curriculum at all grades and in all subjects .

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    10. What do you see as the primary role of school counselors?

    Angley:

    School counselors play an extremely important role in a child’s life. They not only help students achieve academic success but also guide students and help them to develop socially and emotionally. From the elementary level to the high school level, a counselor’s work should be geared toward the development stage of the students, which is certainly the case in the Hoboken Public Schools. At the elementary level, when learners are beginning to develop decision making skills and academic confidence, counselors work with all stakeholders to provide educational programs such as communication and problem-solving, bullying prevention, multicultural and diversity awareness and more. In addition, counselors address the needs of individual students through individual student planning and responsive services. At the high school level, a student is matched with a counselor freshman year and stay with that counselor through graduation. This provides consistency and gives both the counselor and student the opportunity to set academic and personal goals that they can see through. Last year, our counselors worked with the senior class to receive over $8 million in college scholarship awards. Impressive!

    Biancamano:

    School counselors have evolved greatly during these times of divisiveness. We really need to look at what type of social issues are effecting our students and make sure counselors have the tools they need to make sure they could tackle these issues.

    Eagle:

    Our school counselors play a pivotal role in our student’s lives and in the entire school ecosystem. They bring our students expertise in thought development, problem resolution, emotional support and leadership. Counselors are especially critical for high school students as they guide them through the college selection and application process.

    Khanna:

    I believe the primary role of a school guidance counselor is to work with the students and parents to help guide students’ academic, behavioral, and social growth which are important for student achievement. Counselors are a positive force and support for the students both emotionally and academically.

    Schreiber:

    I see the primary role of school counselors is to help students achieve overall academic and personal success. That includes social development, acting as anti-bullying specialists, school-climate leaders and in helping and guiding students on their career paths. They’re an integral part of an education team.

    Tekirian:

    The counselors in our schools are contributing to our students success with programs and activities geared toward their specific grades and upcoming educational milestones. They are partners to parents and students throughout their school careers. They help students at all grade levels with social well-being as well as scholastic achievement. They champion school-wide anti-bullying campaigns and foster school spirit! In the later grades, they also support students with career and college preparedness, including guiding students through the process of selecting and applying to college.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    11.  How do you see yourself as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

    Angley:

    I see myself as both a representative of the community and as a representative of the school system. I am elected by the community to both represent overall community concerns to the administration but at the same time am responsible for representing the needs of the district students to the community. This ties into our message that strong schools and a strong community go hand in hand. When a commitment is made to continuously enhance Hoboken public education while listening and incorporating the concerns and feedback from the community, we end up with academic excellence. When a community has a strong, thriving public school district, everyone benefits.

    Biancamano:

    I am born and raised in Hoboken and attended the district schools. I currently do not have any children and I feel that that gives me a unique perspective on the Board of Education. For the past six years on the Board, I’ve been able to approach making key decisions in unbiased ways, focusing on how decisions impact parents and non-parents alike. After all, the decisions of the Board, especially those related to taxes, impact ALL Hoboken voters, not just those with children.

    Eagle:

    Frankly it is a bit of both. As a Board member, my role is to represent the community so that I can make decisions that are in the best interest of our schools and students. Just a reminder, the Board of Education controls one third of the property owner’s tax bill and not all property owners are parents. I don’t believe in unnecessarily raising taxes. That means strong, responsible fiscal management and spending tax dollars wisely, as well as creating and implementing strong policies and consistent programs across all district schools to further strengthen the intellectual development of Hoboken’s children, and the entire system.

    Khanna:

    Both. The Board of Education is elected by the community to improve student achievement in the district schools, and to do so in a fiscally responsible way. As a board member, I must be responsible to the community and be an advocate for the district. A strong school system is the reflection of a vibrant community. There is no greater way to impact the quality of our schools than to be actively involved in the public schools in our community. Not only does investing in education create an atmosphere where students are engaged in meaningful learning, it creates productive citizens who are more likely to enrich the community that has given so much to them.

    Schreiber:

    As Board members, our first and foremost obligation is to represent and make decisions that are in the best interest of the district schools. Of course, that also means that we represent the community, parents or not, because, as Board members, we are also held accountable to the taxpayers of Hoboken because the BOE controls one third of a property owner’s tax bill. That means strong, responsible fiscal management and spending tax dollars wisely, as well as creating and implementing strong policies and consistent programs across all district schools to further strengthen the intellectual development of Hoboken’s children, and the entire system. Additionally, we believe that there is great opportunity for Hoboken schools to learn from schools throughout the United States. As Board members, we will research best practices and programs used in other school districts and determine how we can bring those incredible opportunities to our students and schools.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    12.What is your view of public education’s purpose?

    Angley:

    As a product of public education I am a true believer in the system. I believe that strong public education is the backbone of our society and critical to the success of our nation. High-quality public education prepares all children to learn and succeed. With great leadership, high expectations, rigorous curriculum and support from parents and the community, students will be prepared for that next step in life. I am excited to serve on the Hoboken Board of Education to help to ensure continuous prioritization of these characteristics of a high-quality public school district.

    Biancamano:

    To provide a quality learning environment for all of Hoboken’s students without having their parents having to spend resources on private schools.

    Eagle:

    I think of three things when you ask this question.
    1) Equal opportunity for all. Provide universal access to free education to all children. Ensure every child, no matter what, is provided with the educational learning available in the community.
    2) Preparing for futures. Be ready for College/University/trade school—whatever a student’s next step will be out of Hoboken High School.
    3) Forward thinking, ensuring critical thinking for independency. Give the children the knowledge to problem-solve and function under any circumstance.

    Khanna:

    I believe the purpose of public education is to prepare our young scholars for life. It provides them with the necessary problem-solving and critical thinking skills to participate and function under any circumstance in society and succeed. A strong public education program is the backbone of our society and critical to the success of a strong community. Furthermore, public education is the bedrock of our democracy. Our community’s children come together from all walks of life and learn to be engaged citizens.

    Schreiber:

    I believe the purpose of public education is to engage students to become confident, lifelong learners. It’s so important that students are taught the skills that they need, both academic and social, to become productive members of the community.

    Tekirian:

    I believe that strong public education is the backbone of our society and critical to the success of our community and country. High-quality public education is the great equalizer, giving every child the opportunity to learn and succeed. I believe in the Hoboken Public School District’s capability to deliver on that promise of public education.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    13. What is your own experience with public education?

    Angley:

    I am a graduate of the Shenendehowa Public School District in Clifton Park, NY. I feel the opportunities and experiences provided to me through my K-12 years prepared me academically for college and prepared me socially and emotionally to contribute to society. My three sons attend the Hoboken Public School District. I truly believe in public education and the opportunities and experiences it offers all students.

    Biancamano:

    I am the only candidate with six and half years’ experience serving on the Board. My motivation for serving on the Board has never changed. I want to continue to act as a liaison between the public and the administration. Why? Because I’m a lifelong Hoboken resident and I’m invested in our community. My family has owned a small business in this community for nearly four decades. Having a strong school system is central to any thriving community. I have always ensured that the voices of our community have been heard, whether parents, students or taxpayers. In addition to being the youngest member ever elected to serve on the BOE, I have chaired both the Finance and Facilities Committee and have negotiated contracts with administrators, teachers and custodians. I was also instrumental in the hiring and contract extension of Dr. Johnson, the Superintendent of our school system.

    Eagle:

    My children have enjoyed the Mile Square Early Learning Center St. Francis site, Connors Elementary, and Brandt Elementary. I have firsthand experience at each of the schools and am very involved. I co-founded and head the Parent Volunteer Group at Mile Square Early Learning Center (MSELC) St. Francis Site, working together with the Connor’s PTO presidents (past and current), and have become actively involved at the Brandt Consortium Parent Group. I accepted the invitation to serve as a Board member of the MSELC. While being involved I discovered that a stronger voice was needed to ensure that, no matter which school a child attends, all children need to receive the same experience regardless of school. I felt compelled to step in and be a voice for the students and teachers. My mother has been a lifelong public educator. She started as an elementary school teacher to becoming a University professor. I was excited to be able to attend the same school as where she taught, and continued my education through the public school system in my hometown. I learned from my mother the importance of supporting schools and teachers so that students can better succeed.

    Khanna:

    I am a public school graduate who attended public school for my primary and secondary education. I want all children to have the same kind of positive and enriching experiences and opportunities that I had. That is why I am committed to the Hoboken Public School District.

    Schreiber:

    I attended public schools, my children attend public schools (yes, charters are public!), and I substitute teach in Hoboken. I come from a family of public school teachers and I firmly believe in public education. I have spent the last five years serving on Elysian Charter School’s Board of Trustees both as Vice Chair (current) and as Chair of the Finance Committee. In addition, I am the current Chair of the Nominating Committee and have served on the Facilities, Fundraising, Community Outreach and Planning Sub-Committees of the Board, as well as several ad-hoc committees. I look forward to bringing that experience to the BOE.

    Tekirian:

    I am a graduate of the Westwood Regional Public School district in Westwood, NJ. I attended public school for the entirety of my primary and secondary education. Along with my husband, we have chosen for my daughter to attend public school in the Hoboken Public School District, where she is a happy and academically challenged second grader at Wallace.

    Waiters:

    Candidate declined to comment.

    It’s like you went back to school for the day – and learned a ton about our latest candidates.

    Click here for a full list of all of the political posts about the 2017 Hoboken elections thus far, and share your thoughts below!


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


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