MILLSTONE – Four candidates are seeking three available three-year terms on the Millstone Township K-8 School District Board of Education in the Nov. 6 election.
The terms of board members Billy Hanson, John Sico and Amy Jacobson will end in December. Jacobson is not seeking re-election.
The candidates seeking the terms are Hanson, Sico, Christine Reese and John Saxton.
Hanson is a certified public accountant and runs an office equipment company in New York. A resident of Millstone for 15 years, he joined the board in 2016 and has served as Millstone’s representative on the Upper Freehold Regional School District Board of Education, where Millstone students of high school age attend Allentown High School through a send-receive relationship, since 2017. Previously, Hanson was a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission for 10 years.
“I am seeking re-election in order to support my fellow board members, our business administration, and residents in providing a quality education for our students and at a reasonable cost to the taxpayers,” Hanson said. “I am also very invested in the idea of working collaboratively with the Upper Freehold Regional board to help ensure the best possible education for Millstone students and Allentown students when they graduate from eighth grade.
“My accounting knowledge and experience in running a company help me understand the challenges organizations face and how to best motivate people, as well as the importance of always doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult,” he said. “It also helps me to understand the budgetary process, understand the financial statements and focus on where things may or may not be improved or done differently,” he said.
If re-elected, Hanson said areas of focus for him will be enhancing educational opportunities in Millstone and Upper Freehold Regional, continuing to minimize the tax burden on Millstone residents and successfully working alongside fellow Millstone and Upper Freehold Regional board members, as well as with Millstone administrators.
Reese is a guidance counselor and has worked for the New York City Department of Education for 23 years. She has served on the Schools Leadership Team, Child Study Team, Budget Team and Behavior Intervention Team.
“I am seeking a seat on our board because I believe education is the foundation of our community,” Reese said. “I feel it is essential to bring people together to develop solutions that will strengthen our schools and improve opportunity for all of the children. Our children are the key to the community’s growth and their growth is the responsibility of the community.
“I am fully committed to working collaboratively and creating partnerships to continue to advance our community as we move deeper into the 21st century,” she said.
“As a guidance counselor for the last 23 years, I have worked collaboratively with students, parents, administrators and other educators. It has been my job to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to find solutions. I know I can make a difference by bringing my knowledge, experiences and skill set to the school board.”
If elected, Reese said areas of focus for her will be ensuring the impact of state and federal budget cuts to the district are as minimal as possible for students, and providing resources for special needs students to help them be successful.
Saxton works in information technology and is currently a technology solution architect with Microsoft. He previously served on the board from 2010-16.
“I am interested in serving on the board because I bring a level of experience and perspective that I believe would complement the board,” Saxton wrote on his campaign page. “I am interested in working with the board to deliver the best possible educational options to the students of Millstone Township in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner.”
According to his campaign page, one of Saxton’s motivations for seeking election is the $255,316 reduction in state aid Millstone experienced this year.
“I worked very hard as part of this board to get the Millstone Township school district to this place where we have excellent educational opportunities, as well as fiscally responsible funding to provide them,” he wrote. “If I am elected to the board, I plan to continue that work and look for additional way to address the latest changes to school funding.”
Saxton is also seeking election, according to his campaign page, to provide educational opportunities for students and access to educational options in other public school districts so long as such opportunities are provided in a fiscally responsible manner.
Sico is a retired educator who served as the superintendent of schools of the Wayne School District and as the assistant superintendent of schools for instruction and curriculum at the Paterson School District.
He has also worked as an adjunct math professor at Brookdale Community College, Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and Rowan College at Burlington County, and he was the vice chair of Passaic County Community College. Sico has resided in Millstone for eight years and joined the board in 2016.
“I feel I am an asset to the school district and when necessary, ask some tough questions about curriculum,” Sico said. “I am a retired superintendent of schools of a a very large district and prior to that was assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum and instruction of a very large district at Paterson.”
If re-elected, Sico said areas of focus for him will be school choice, all-day kindergarten and controlling spending.