BY KATHY CHANG
OLD BRIDGE — Two incumbents and a newcomer grabbed the three, three-year seats on the Old Bridge Board of Education in the election on Nov. 8.
Jill Cali, who will serve her first elected term, collected the most votes with 9,537; newcomer Walter Reed received 8,250 votes; and Balwinder Singh, who will serve his second term on the board, registered 8,000 votes for the third spot.
Long-time board member Annette Tunyla Hopman received 6,816 votes in her losing bid for a sixth term and former board member Matthew Sulikowski, who was seeking a fourth term on the board, recorded 7,501 votes.
“I am truly honored and humbled by the number of people who have expressed their confidence in me by choosing me to represent their interests and those of the children of this district,” Cali said. “I am looking forward to being a part of the continued positive growth this district has seen in the past few years and to improving public relations between the community and the board.”
Cali, who was appointed in August to fill the seat vacated by former board Member Nancy Mongon, said one of her priorities that she is passionate about is seeing more age-appropriate drug awareness education brought into the school system.
“We need early and more consistent education in this area in order to protect our children’s future,” she said.
Singh said he appreciates the Old Bridge community for giving him the opportunity to serve the school district for a second term.
“Education is the soul of a civilized society and backbone of a great nation,” he said. “I am pleased and honored that the Old Bridge [residents] trusted me to contribute and serve this great cause.”
Singh said he will do his due diligence to protect this public trust.
“As a team player, I will be working collaboratively to create a better learning and teaching environment where all our children are prepared for their future,” he said. “Every child should be career- and college-ready when he or she graduates. To make our kids ready for the future global job market we need to focus on policies, creating more community involvement, attracting and retaining dedicated teaching staff and have short-term and long-term planning in place.”
Singh said he has a strong desire to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum.
“As a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility, I will make sure that the board is spending tax dollars prudently,” he said. “Community resources should be used with fiscal sanity, transparency and accountability without compromising with our main goal of educating our kids.”
Reed, who will be serving his first term on the board, is a retired Old Bridge teacher for 41 years.
During the campaign, he said he would work with food services to improve upon school lunches.
“Organic produce and meats without antibiotics or growth hormones would be a good start,” he said.
Contact Kathy Chang at email@example.com.