The Jefferson Township Board of Education has three open seats up for grabs in November’s election. Only two names, Stacey Poulas and Jill Small, are on the ballot. There are three write-in candidates who are seeking to join the board. Their biographical information is below, along with information on Poulas and Small.
Monica (Winkler) English (write-in)
As with many parents in Jefferson Township, I take my children’s education very seriously. Over the years we have seen a decline in the education system. Each year the student population decreases and our school budgets (and taxes) increase.
Our children are our future, and their education experience is the foundation of their future success. We can do better. We must do better.
It all starts with proper planning, communication, and accountability at every level. Sometimes this requires a different perspective, analytical and strategic skill set. As a community we need to find ways to meet today’s challenges.
While I may not have experience in public education, I do have experience with children and managing business units with fiscal responsibility.
Rather than complain, I am asking for your support as a write-in candidate for the Board of Ed.
Christine Mallimo-Orna (write-in)
I am running for the BOE in Jefferson Township as a write-in candidate. I have been a resident since 2003 and I currently have two children in middle school and a son who is a veteran of the Marine Corps.
I am certified to teach K-6 and art, and I am currently attending St. Elizabeth University working towards a masters’ in special education and have recently obtained a provisional special ed certification. I decided to work as a paraprofessional in a special needs school for the experience with special education students as I work towards my degree. I would be an advocate for all students, plus special education classes as well as the academics. I have been working in education for about 20 years.
I was actively involved in the Cub Scouts for many years as the media person, I taught catechism at church for about 10 years, and I also have experience as an assistant director in a preschool.
I would like to be a voice for this community and for the school system, to help improve the current quality of education in this town.
Diane Perez (write-in)
I am running as a write-in candidate for the Jefferson Township Board of Education. I have been a member of this community for 15 years. My biggest privilege has been to be the adopted mother of my 12-year-old autistic son. I have spent many restless nights worrying about my son’s future and contemplating what I can do to set him up for success, just like many of you. As a BOE member I know I can use my unique skills to not only improve my son’s quality of education, but also advocate for the opportunities all of the children in this district deserve so that they can become their best selves both now and in the future.
I envision inclusion for all students, our children with special needs being better prepared for adult transition, and a community that embraces them in our local businesses. I look forward to being instrumental in looking at policies like inclusion, transition to adulthood, HIB and many more.
In town, I have contributed to the creation of the Jefferson Township Special Education Parent Advisory Group, active since 2019. As the Chair, I have volunteered my leadership skills by creating bylaws, meeting agendas, and minutes, as well as ensuring a focus on the needs and topics at hand for our Special Education population. It is my goal to educate our community and help our parents become the best possible advocates for our children, while creating a united educational team between parents, students, educators, and administration in the district.
I have chosen to run for a seat on the Board of Education because I have a genuine interest in public education in Jefferson Township. As a BOE member, I can share my experience and knowledge with our district, making Jefferson schools better for everyone. Being detail-oriented, extremely organized, and a great multi-tasking team player, I can prove to you I am more than qualified to become the next BOE member. My leadership motto is simple: ALWAYS be clear, consistent, respectful, and fair. I can, and will, express my views firmly but professionally.
Stacey Poulas (on ballot)
I have lived in Lake Hopatcong with my husband since 2002; we have two daughters (both attend JTHS). I graduated from Montclair State University in 1999 and immediately began my teaching career.
Being a Kindergarten teacher, I know the importance of good teaching, as well as the financial constraints school boards in NJ are facing. During my time on the JTBOE, I have served on the following committees: Education; Policy and Personnel; Building, Needs and Finance; and Community Relations. I am currently the Vice President of the Board of Education,co-liason to the JTEF and serve on two committees (Education and Policy & Personnel).
I pride myself on being an educated Board Member – meaning that I attend meetings, spend time researching current issues, and listen to the community. I am able to think about issues we face a parent, taxpayer, board member, and teacher. It is important to note that although I cannot participate in negotiations since I am in the NJEA, I am able to support teachers by relating to real issues teachers in NJ face today, hear concerns of teachers and bring them to the attention of the full board.
Since I began serving on the Jefferson Township Board of Education in 2011, Jefferson has maintained the 2% cap. Even while staying within the cap, we have implemented new curricula and improved facilities. Improvements that have been made to our facilities include the turf field, auditorium, and referendum presented and passed.
The BOE has also implemented full-day kindergarten, implemented new curricula, ELA, Math & NGSS, opened two academies at JTHS, and participated in hiring Chief School Administrators.
My goal is to achieve educational excellence while being financially conservative.
Jill Small (on ballot)
I have lived in Oak Ridge for 17 years with my husband and two sons. My oldest son attends JTHS and is a sophomore this year, and my younger son attends White Rock Elementary School and he is in the fifth grade. I am a graduate of Jersey City University. I have been teaching for over 18 years in the field of special education and I truly enjoy what I do because I love to teach.
I began volunteering in our community as a PTA member, past Jefferson Township Youth Baseball league board member and coach, past member of the Junior Woman’s Club of Jefferson Township, co-creator of the Jefferson Township Teen Scene and creator of the Peer Leadership program within Teen Scene. I have enjoyed my time in these various positions and especially helping our youth. I enjoy being part of the Jefferson Township community and have always been an advocate for all children.
I will continue to be an advocate for all and listen to the needs of our community. I will continue to place importance on student achievement and collaborating as a team to meet our goals.