MILLTOWN – Four candidates will vie for three three-year terms on the Milltown Public Schools Board of Education in the Nov. 5 election.
Carl Schneider is seeking his third term, Jennifer Gebbia-Spisso is seeking her second term, and Celeste Jonas and Anthony Young are seeking their first terms.
Gebbia-Spisso, 42, moved from North Brunswick to Milltown in 2005. She is married with three school-age children who attend Milltown schools. Her oldest son is a freshman at Spotswood High School.
She is an attorney. She earned her bachelor’s degree in science from Rutgers University and her law degree from New York Law School.
In the community, Gebbia-Spisso has been part of the PTO for nine years, starting as a member of the Parkview Social Committee, chair of the fundraising committee, vice president, and now has served as president of the Milltown PTO for four years.
“Our PTO funds a mix of events and assemblies for the kids and purchases items for both schools and teachers from flexible seating to birthday books, ice cream socials, dances and classroom items,” she said.
Gebbia-Spisso has also been an active member of the Little League and is a certified coach for Little League and Milltown Recreation.
“I am running for a Board of Education seat because I have just started my journey,” she said. “Since I was elected in the last term as a write-in, I have immersed myself in all aspects of the board. I am still learning about the way the school and the board interact and how we can accomplish making our schools the best they can be.”
Gebbia-Spisso said it is important for the schools, teachers and parents to have open communication.
“I believe in being transparent and including the parents in the decision making when possible,” she said. “We just started our three-year strategic plan and this is only possible with community input and help.”
Jonas has lived in Milltown for seven years. She is married with two school-age children.
Currently she is a stay-at-home mother. Previously she was in the cosmetology field and owned her own hair salon. She then moved on to retail and was employed as a sales manager at Macy’s.
She is an East Brunswick High School graduate and received her cosmetology license through East Brunswick Vo-Tech.
In the community, Jonas has been class mother for two years at Joyce Kilmer School. She runs the Central Jersey Chapter of Families with Children from China. She is one of the parents spearheading the Special Education Parent Advisory Group in Milltown and serves as the liaison from Joyce Kilmer. She has been on the board for her children’s Chinese School in East Brunswick for two years.
“I am running for the board because I am very passionate about the education of all children,” she said. “I have not singled out one area to concentrate on if elected because I want to see where my abilities will be needed the most.”
Schneider has lived in Milltown for 10 years. He is married with two children who attend Milltown schools. His oldest child is a freshman at Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies.
He earned a master’s in business administration from Temple University.
On the board, Schneider served as vice president for 18 months and has served as president since August.
In the community, he serves as a volunteer coach in the Milltown Recreation Department. He currently coaches his daughter in soccer for grades K-2 and previously has coached soccer and basketball.
Schneider said it has been a privilege to serve on the board for six years.
“I am eager to continue serving on the board to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with administration, teachers, parents and the community to ensure the students of Milltown are receiving the best all-around education possible,” he said.
If re-elected, Schneider said one of his focuses will be on communication with the public.
“The board strives to always improve communication with the public to make sure the school district is always open and transparent on how it continues to be fiscally responsible to ensure every tax dollar spent is used to provide students with everything that is needed for a top-notch education taught by the best and most caring teachers in one of the safest environments in town,” he said.
Young, 38, has lived in Milltown for eight years. He is married with two young boys who attend Milltown schools.
He is employed as an examination manager at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in public accounting from Pace University.
In the community, he served as treasurer for a condominium association board for nine years in Woodbridge and has volunteered in projects for Habitat for Humanity and the Middlesex County Food Bank.
Young said his children are active in the recreational sports program and they participate in Milltown Little League, as well as Boy Scouts. He belongs to Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church.
“I am running for the board to ensure that all resources available to the board are used efficiently for our children’s learning potential and to support our teachers,” he said. “I believe we need to work to ensure access to educational opportunities for art and music, financial education/awareness, and inclusion of mindfulness and social-emotional learning.”
If elected, Young said he would like to enhance partnerships between summer reading and the library, work with Rutgers University on free educational opportunities and healthy meals in schools, and work with community organizations, government agencies and parents to provide educational support for the children, teachers and parents.
“In addition, I will be a resource in the community to support the communication and transparency of the board’s activity and its impact on the community,” he said.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 5.