East Windsor school board candidates set

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There will be no competition for four seats on the East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education in the Nov. 5 general election.

That’s because four candidates – three incumbent school board members and a newcomer – have filed for the four seats up for grabs. All of the seats are for East Windsor Township residents.

Incumbent school board members Nicole LaRusso and Ram Ramachadran, along with newcomer Bertrand Fougnies, are seeking three-year terms on the school board that would end in 2022.

The fourth candidate, incumbent school board member Robert Laverty, is seeking to fill out an unexpired term that will end in 2020.

Seven of the nine seats on the school board are earmarked for East Windsor Township residents, and two are set aside for Hightstown Borough residents. The two Hightstown Borough seats are not available at this time.

LaRusso, who is a senior paralegal, has lived in East Windsor Township for 17 years. She has four children who are enrolled in the East Windsor Regional Schools District public schools.

LaRusso said she is seeking re-election because she has enjoyed serving on the school board. She said she enjoys meeting parents and residents, and “more importantly, being a voice for the parents and the students.”

Since she has four children enrolled in the public schools, she said she understands “first hand” all that the school district has to offer to parents and students, as well as some of the challenges facing the district.

“I am very passionate about special education and mental health. I am very familiar with the struggles that parents and students with special needs face on a daily basis,” LaRusso said. If she is re-elected, she said, she would continue to support the district’s goals and programs to ensure that all students succeed.

Ramachandran is a 13-year resident of East Windsor Township. He is an IT sales leader, who has one child enrolled at Hightstown High School and another child who graduated several years ago.

Ramachandran said he wants to serve another term on the school board because he loves the school district and is confident that he can bring further improvements to the district by bringing in new ideas, especially for STEAM (science technology engineering arts and math) and sports.

Over the next three years, Ramachandran said, he wants to improve the school district’s ranking, which in turn will increase property values. He also wants to channel the district’s efforts to improve the standard of teaching through support for the teachers, the use of data and upgrading to a 21st-century curriculum.

Fougnies, the third candidate for a full three-year term, could not be reached for comment.

Laverty, who is running unopposed to fill out an unexpired term that ends in 2020, is an application analyst and development manager for DXC Technology. His three children are graduates of the East Windsor Regional School District.

Laverty, who served on the school board from 2001 to 2016 and who was reappointed in 2017 to fill out an unexpired term, said he is seeking re-election because he wants to continue to work with recently-appointed Superintendent of Schools Mark Daniels.

“I started on the school board 18 years ago, and I bring some institutional history into our conversations with the administration,” Lavertry said. He is a former school board president and school board vice president.

Laverty said he wants to help evaluate the newest programs that have been added to the school district, such as full-day kindergarten, the consolidation of the grades K-2 and 3-5 schools, and the STEAM initiative in the elementary schools.

“I think the key to our continued success is our consistent demand for accountability and high levels of performance at all levels of the district,” Laverty said.