METUCHEN – Three incumbents will run unopposed for the three, three-year seats available during the Metuchen Board of Education election.
Jonathan Lifton is seeking his fourth term, while Alicia Sneddon Killean and Eric Suss are seeking their second terms.
Sneddon Killean, 43, is a lifelong resident of the borough. She is married with three young children.
She is a math and science supervisor for K-12 for the Holmdel School District. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Rutgers University.
In the community, Sneddon Killean has served on the recreation commission, has volunteered as class parent in schools, Brownie troop leader, team parent for her children’s sports, and is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral.
“I am re-running for the board so that I can continue to be involved with the good work that is being done to support the emotional and academic needs of our students,” she said. “As our town continues to grow and change, so must our schools. Maintaining the high quality of education that I received as a student growing up here and using my professional experience to make informed decisions and recommendations to support our teachers are my goals as a board member.”
Lifton, 51, has lived in Metuchen for 20 years. He and his wife Paula have four children ages 11-20.
He is a business owner of L.B. Electric Supply Co. Inc. in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan.
Along with serving on the school board – four-and-a-half years as president – he serves as a member of the Metuchen Planning Board. He also has volunteered as a Little League coach, noting his company has been a long-time sponsor of the league.
“It has truly been the honor of my life to have served my neighbors and friends as a member of the Board of Education for the last nine years,” he said. “We have gone through many challenges as a district over that time, but the board has never compromised its longstanding commitment to teaching the ‘whole child’, to protect our Music and Art departments, and to continue to improve our performance for the children of the borough. The district continues to have challenges, including increasing enrollments and tight budgets, but I hope to be part of a Board of Education that continues to fulfill these commitments for the students of Metuchen.”
Lifton said his experience as chair of the board’s Negotiating Committee for the last three teacher contract negotiations, and also his professional career, where he has been involved in negotiating nine collective bargaining agreements over 25 years, will be an extremely important asset to the board with the district’s teachers contract expiring at the end of the school year.
Suss, 54, has lived in Metuchen for 28 years. He and his wife Janet have two daughters who are in college and are Metuchen High School graduates. He noted his daughters were both valedictorians of their respective senior classes.
He is employed as a managing director in the technology division at Morgan Stanley. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Cornell University and a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University.
On the board, Suss has served as chair on the athletics/extracurricular, technology, finance, facilities and policy committees. He is active supporter of the parent teacher organization, Metuchen Education Foundation, Booster Club and Project Graduation. He also is a former Metuchen Little League coach and is an active member of his family’s religious institution.
“I am running to be re-elected to the board because the schools of Metuchen have always been important to me,” he said. “Twenty-eight years ago, the quality of the schools was one of the factors that led us to settle here. I have participated in school-related forums as far back as the superintendent and high school principal searches. I have been a long-time supporter of the PTO, Metuchen Education Foundation and the Booster Club. My family’s experience in the schools has been great and I would like to give something back.”
Suss said while his school experiences have been great, there are many challenges ahead, including providing appropriate mental health support; improving the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) experience of all children; integrating the appropriate level of technology into the classroom; absorbing population growth, maintaining and repairing our aging school infrastructure; improving school-community communications; and challenging the average student.
He noted the challenges come with a limited budget.
“I want to provide the best environment for all the children to be the best they can be in a fiscally responsible manner,” he said.
Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 5.