Write-in Candidate Enters Race for Seat on School Board
Although Board of Education elections are non-political, candidates’ names do appear on the November ballot as a means of fiscal conservation. The names are on the far right side, as shown on sample ballots received in the mail last week.
This year, four people are vying for three open seats. While three appear on the ballot, a fourth candidate has run a vigorous write-in campaign.
Write-in candidate Dylan Terpstra believes Jefferson is “hungry for change.” In a personal statement, he writes: “The status quo has remained for too long.” He adds, “People are wondering where their tax dollars have gone over the years, especially with the school system.”
The candidate believes the township’s school system is top heavy with administrators in a declining school population. The highest paid administrator has an annual salary of nearly $200,000, he observes, while teachers are underpaid compared with neighboring school systems. He notes that the district is losing passionate teachers at “an alarming rate” due to non-competitive salaries.
A product of the township’s school system, Terpstra is currently a student at Rutgers University in Newark, where he is a student government senator with a hand in allocating a $100,000-plus budget to student organizations and events.
Running for a second three-year term, Amy Gould has assisted in creating guidelines, developing strategies, and instituting needed changes in the system. “I feel I have more to offer and would like to continue serving my community,” she says.
One of the biggest challenges she sees facing the district is diminished school funding, which has meant putting infrastructure improvements on the back burner.
Another challenge is the need for progress; Gould believes the board needs to embrace change. She has stated that in her role on the Board of Education, “I have always been quick to listen, slow to reply, and strong in my pursuit of progress on all levels – even when it was uncomfortable. I intend to continue toward our progress,” she adds.
A township resident for 19 years, Natale has two children currently in the school system and wants to advocate “for the educational needs of our community’s children.” He plans to participate in creating a long-term vision for the township’s schools and map a course for students to reach their full potential.
The candidate also advocates for high school guidance counselors to “really know the students they are responsible for” from day one, thus facilitating their ability to find the best possible post-high school education possibilities.
Natale has stated his desire to ensure that “our children have competitive advantages, so that they have access to the best possible opportunities.”
A founding faculty member at Passaic County Community College, Wasserman has taught at both four-year and two-year colleges as well as in high school. He is also a retired Navy commander and currently volunteers as a trustee on various boards.
With a New Jersey comprehensive science certificate, Wasserman has taught physics, chemistry, and oceanography. He was chosen by the tenured faculty as their delegate to the college Presidents Council.
The candidate believes that with declining school enrollment, population, and state funding, the Jefferson Township Board of Education faces a financial burden. He has stated his desire to “introduce efficiency by eliminating systems we can no longer afford.” He adds that teaching science in Paterson and Franklin Lakes has given him “a wide view of different school districts.”
(Editor’s Note: Portions of this article were excerpted from Jefferson Patch/Patch.com.)