SOUTH BRUNSWICK – Two candidates will vie for one, two-year unexpired term on the South Brunswick Board of Education.
Joyce Mehta has lived in South Brunswick for 12 years. One of her daughters completed her education in South Brunswick and started college in September, while her other daughter is a seventh grader at Crossroads Middle School South.
Mehta is a lawyer and holds certifications in Solicitor’s Advanced Company Accounts, domestic violence training and NJ Realty.
She has been a classroom parent for the past 10 years; an active Parent Teacher Organization member at Indian Fields Elementary, Crossroads Middle School South and South Brunswick High School; served on the district’s Homework Committee; served on the steering committee of the YMCA in South Brunswick; facilitated a showing of “Race to Nowhere”; campaigned persistently for two years to raise awareness about stress on children; conducted surveys and compiled a high school report and coordinated a district-wide petition with more than 600 signatures; established a non-profit school in South Brunswick, teaching foreign languages, math and art to children; helped organize National Night Out; volunteered her time at book fairs, reading to Pre-K students, on picture day, at a Halloween social, as a chaperone for trips, at the Crossroads 50th event, at school dances and during the Mother’s Day plant sale; and is an active participant at HOPE (Helping Out Public Education) meetings with teachers examining educational issues across the state.
If elected, Mehta hopes to engage the community through surveys, stakeholder citizens committees and public forums; establish specific Parent Advisory Groups; increase communication between board liaison officers and parents; engaging the wider community to work with school communities to form greater partnerships; and rebuilding connections between parents and teachers.
“By opening our doors of communication and allowing inclusion, respecting honest feedback, encouraging transparency and valuing every opinion … our community can enable South Brunswick to become eminent and a role model to other districts by becoming exceptional through innovative solution that foster productive change,” she said.
Anilkumar C. Patel has lived in town for 17 years. His son, 25, and daughter, 21, both went through the South Brunswick school system.
He holds a mechanical engineering degree from India and an Information Technology diploma from City University in New York. He has worked at Ericsson for more than 27 years as a senior telecommunications engineer. He has previous experience at BellLabs, Bellcore and Telcordia.
He has served in various leadership positions in community and faith-based organizations, such as South Asian Community Outreach, Community Development, the Recreation Committee in Union Township and the South Brunswick Human Relations Commission.
Running for a seat on the board for the third time, Patel said his objectives are academic excellence, opportunities for every child, retaining outstanding educators, smart use of technology, maintaining extracurricular activities and creating a safe and secure learning environment.
He also said the needs of the children must be balanced with the needs of the taxpayers.
“I strongly believe as a newcomer I can bring new and fresh innovative ideas to the board. I am very pleased to see that our district’s students have done well academically. However, there are still lots of ways it can be improved. I am confident that with my qualifications and technical experience I can provide many more innovative ideas to achieve the district goals. It is necessary to have communication and partnering with government officials and parents. As education policy is going through tremendous changes with Common Core Curriculum, PARCC testing and change in graduation requirements, we will work with government officials and policymakers to make them understand the ground reality and suggest appropriate changes that needed to make it a win-win situation for both children and the quality of education,” he said.