HomeEast Brunswick SunEB NewsCandidates seek two open seats on Spotswood school board

Candidates seek two open seats on Spotswood school board

SPOTSWOOD–Three candidates are running for the two available seats on the Spotswood Board of Education.

Incumbents Dulce Branco-Rivera and Mariellen Chasan will face newcomer Suzanne Krainski for the three-year terms.

Dulce Branco-Rivera, 56, has been a resident of Spotswood for 13 years and is currently the board president.

“I moved here for no other reason than to send my children through the Spotswood School District,” she said. “My daughter is now a college sophomore and my son is a senior in the high school.”

Branco-Rivera is a training coordinator for GP Strategies and has 20 years of experience working in the finance industry, as well as several years in human resources.

“I believe that I have spent time on every committee during my tenure. For the past several years I have been serving on the Curriculum, Finance, Personnel and Negotiations committees,” she said. “I served as vice president for one year and have been president for three. I am also the board representative to the Safety Committee.”

Branco-Rivera spent many years as a development consultant for a large finance company and was involved in writing curriculum, training plans and developing course materials.

“I love this district and I want to do whatever I can to make it the best it can be,” she said. “I know that sounds corny and very much like a campaign line, but it truly is the reason.”

While serving on the board, Branco-Rivera said some of her greatest accomplishments have been helping to pass the 2015 referendum, which allowed the district to make significant improvements to its facilities while using more than $3 million in state grants. Then, completing the projects on time and significantly under budget.

Branco-Rivera said the board added a wealth of new afterschool clubs and activities at its middle school. The board was able to add new Advanced Placement offerings at the high school, as well as get additional classes approved for credit through Middlesex County College.

“We are in the process of making some significant changes to our security plan. There are changes to policies being implemented this year and next as well as the construction of entrance vestibules at all of our buildings. This is a very large project that I want to see through to the end,” Branco-Rivera said. “I want to continue to expand our curriculum by adding some new topics to engage students and better prepare them for their future. I also want to find new opportunities to help the non-college bound student find their path. I continue to search for new revenue streams for our schools.”

Mariellen Chasan, 47, has lived in the borough for more than 21 years and is a board member, a member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and has served on the Spotswood Youth Baseball Softball League.

“I have decided to run again to continue the work the board is currently doing to improve and update our curriculum and our facilities,” she said.
Chasan works for the New Brunswick Board of Education as a paraprofessional for children with special needs.
Chasan said while serving on the board, one of her greatest accomplishments was helping to pass the bond referendum as it was necessary to update the district’s facilities and move its schools into the future.
“If re-elected I would like to see more funds allocated to the classrooms while keeping the tax base steady,” Chasan said. “Everyone wants to see more money going to classrooms and teachers but at the same time, we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to hold the line. It is a tough road to navigate.”
Suzanne Roque-Krainski, 45, has lived in the borough for 17 years, and has worked as a human resources manager for more than 18 years.
“My goal is to be the voice of the parents for our district and I believe board members can make a significant difference and contribution in our schools,” Krainski said. “I am seeking to have a positive impact on the future of our children and our district, to help ensure that the district is able to sustain, as well as implement, core programs and activities going forward, better our everyday school conditions and to help make our town a great place to live.”
Roque-Krainski has been the Spotswood PTA’s executive board member for the past four years.
“I am also a Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s junior troop. In the past, I have also served on the Spotswood Soccer Club Board and coached for three years,” Roque-Krainski said.
“I’ve spoken to many parents, teachers and Spotswood and Helmetta residents about what changes they would like to see in our school district. One major issue seems to be our high taxes with residents wanting more transparency,” Roque-Krainski said. “Another key area I plan to tackle is improving communication throughout the entire district. I am determined to be the voice of fellow parents. There should only be one side when it comes to our children’s education and we will work together to make a difference.”
Election Day is on Nov. 6.
Contact at Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.
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