NORTH BRUNSWICK – Three three-year terms are available in the North Brunswick Board of Education election on Nov. 5. Incumbents Barry Duran Harris, Traci Rubin and Colleen M. Keefe are on the ballot in the uncontested race.
Barry Duran Harris
Resident: For 13 years
Children: Junior at North Brunswick Township High School, sixth grader at Linwood Middle School
Occupation: Project manager for Merrill Lynch (Bank of America Corp.); holds the FINRA Series 7 (General Securities) and FINRA Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Laws) licenses, as well as the ASPPA RPF (Retirement Plan Fundamentals) certification
Board of Education experience: Currently serving third year of first term on the Board of Education; vice president for the past year
Community service: Member of HOLA (Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership & Advancement), BPG (Black Professionals Group), PCN (Parents & Caregivers Network) and IGEN (Inter-generational Network).
“I am a big advocate of diverse leadership. For such a diverse district, it’s extremely important that leadership positions also reflect diversity. It allows for collective collaboration, which is a more natural approach to addressing the needs of our students. Most importantly, it allows students to feel more comfortable, understood, receptive and represented.
“I am a big advocate of preparing our students to be ‘future ready’. Our students need to be prepared for numerous avenues of educational and professional career paths. Students must be prepared for current careers and for those not yet created. It’s important to help students develop skills that are flexible and transferable.
“I am a big advocate of educational equity and equality. We have a diverse group of learners in our district, and it’s important to tailor curriculum and methods to benefit all levels.”
Resident: For 19 years
Occupation: Human Resources manager; graduate student at Rutgers University pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration
Board of Education experience: Elected to a three-year term in 2016
Community service: Volunteers with the Special Olympics and local Chabads.
“Community involvement has wonderfully evolved and expanded over the last few years thanks to our Community Relations Committee and its chairperson, Claribel Cortes, placing immense focus on its importance. Seeing how our community has come together to create dynamic relationships, adapt to technological demands through our new ‘True North’ mobile application, and perpetuate a deeper connection to the district is inspiring and setting an example for other districts throughout the state. I believe our community is an integral part of our educational system; I’m focused on keeping this at a high level of importance through my involvement as a member on the Community Relations Committee.
“It’s important to mention that North Brunswick Township Schools provide excellent and equitable educations to all students, thanks to our dedicated staff and families, and our curriculum; this remains an important issue because, while we strive for excellence every day, we continue to raise the bar. I intend on making continued strides in this area through my position as chairperson of the Personnel Committee as well as in sharing my personal experiences as an alumna of North Brunswick Township Schools to add insight to the student experience.
“Preparing and creating ‘future ready’ students at all levels has also been a focus and priority for the district. Future ready means not just preparing students for their careers, but for the future—within their local and global communities. Preparing students socially, emotionally, and educationally for the future has been made possible thanks to the hard work of all involved; we’ve been able to secure grants and expand our curriculum to propel this vision forward. I intend on impacting this further by sharing my professional knowledge of current workforce trends to aid in the understanding of important and needed skillsets. Additionally, as a member on the Curriculum Committee, I intend to continue prioritizing this vision for our students so we can ensure our schools’ curriculum reflects the needs of the state as well as the demands of the future.”
Coleen M. Keefe could not be reached by press time.