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Two incumbents, one newcomer face no challengers on ballot for the three seats on the Metuchen Board of Education

METUCHEN – Two incumbents and a newcomer are facing no challengers on the ballot for the three, three-year terms on the Metuchen Board of Education.

The general election is on Nov. 3.

Dan Benderly is a 23-year resident of the borough. He and his wife have four children, ages 22, 21, 18 and 16.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Cooper Union and an MBA from Columbia Business School in Finance, Management and Marketing. He has 25-plus years of senior management/entrepreneurial experience in high-tech businesses and is currently employed at Rutgers University, Innovation Ventures.

In the community, Benderly has served as a Metuchen baseball/softball manager, coach for 16 years, participated in Metuchen Travel Soccer and the Metuchen Municipal Pool Swim Team, and served as a Spring Extravaganza presenter for 11 years.

Benderly has served on the board since 2008 and has served as president and vice president.

“My focus as a member of the Board of Education is to prepare our students and our district for a future that we cannot today foresee,” he said, including facilities and infrastructure, technology and educational integration, curriculum and instructional methodologies, social emotional learning and adopting a collaborative approach.

Benderly said he will continue to ensure students get a high quality general, math and science education, advocate for programs to develop every child to their fullest potential, drive innovation for the benefit of all of our children, encourage appropriate differentiation at all levels, leverage available data and analysis tools to meaningfully measure performance, promote collaboration with teachers and parents and exercise fiscal responsibility.

Brian D. Glassberg, 46, is a lifelong resident in the borough except for time away at college and a short time in Edison. He and his wife have one daughter, age 7.

He is a 1991 graduate of Metuchen High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in math education and psychology from the University of Delaware, a master’s degree in education from Kean University, a director of school counseling certificate and an associate counselor license. He is employed as a school counseling supervisor in Edison.

In the community, Glassberg said he devotes his time to bettering the public schools as a school board member. Some of his accomplishments in the role include helping pass the mental health initiative; advocating for changes to equity policies; advocating for a single-platform Google Classroom system; improving transparency by social media sharing; adding a public comment opportunity by rewriting policy; championing smart growth, including full-day kindergarten; highlighting the achievement gap and pushing for improvements; recommending recyclable food trays, replacing Styrofoam; sharing insights based on professional curriculum experience; leading changes to grade point averages, GPA, calculations; assisting with the selection of a new website; asking for more Student Advisory Board feedback; collaborating with the District Policy Committee to ensure that policies meshed with practices in the schools; and changing policy to encourage additional revenue streams.

Glassberg is completing his third year on the board.

“We are in the middle of the most challenging time for education in at least a generation,” he said. “I am in my 25th year as an educator and I believe I can use my expertise to help the district I so personally care about. I helped pass the mental health initiative, which has already directly benefited students and families. Metuchen can trust me to make decisions in the best interest of our students based on my experience as a teacher, school counselor and supervisor. I believe we can do more than just get through this moment; we can thrive. We can begin to transform our education and our infrastructure to better serve students of all abilities.”

If re-elected, Glassberg said he would like to focus on equity.

“An equitable education starts with full-day kindergarten,” he said. “It should be implemented in conjunction with upgrading facilities to modern standards that includes space for small group instruction and counseling services as well as air-conditioning. Although we are a high-achieving district, many students of color fall behind. When school is remote, there should be in-person learning opportunities for struggling learners. Curriculum work is already underway that diversifies the content and authors presented to our students. Along with my running mate, Dr. Hazel-Anne Johnson-Marcus, we are working to ensure that we have a district staff that is reflective of the diversity of our borough and the State of New Jersey and that is well trained to create inclusive schools.”

Hazel-Anne M. Johnson-Marcus, 41, has lived in the borough for 12 years. She is married with two daughters, ages 6 and 4.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and business administration from the University of Florida and a master’s degree and doctorate degree in industrial-organizational psychology with minors in methods and business administration from the University of South Florida. She is employed as a director and associate teaching professor at Rutgers University Undergraduate Program in Human Resource Management.

In the community, Johnson-Marcus was appointed a member of Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch’s Equity Commission in July, she has served as the co-chair of the Metuchen Human Relations Commission since January 2019 and previously served as vice-chair when the commission was re-constituted in late 2017. In addition, she has been a Metuchen Democratic Committeeperson since 2017. Johnson-Marcus also served as an assistant coach for Metuchen Town Soccer in 2019.

Johnson-Marcus, who is seeking her first elected seat, filled the vacancy seat of former Board Member Benjamin Small on Aug. 25.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our national reckoning on racial justice make this an incredibly challenging time for education,” she said. “My years of experience as a university professor, a diversity and inclusion educator, program director and an Industrial-Organizational psychologist provide me with the expertise to help our district meet the challenges of this moment. Indeed, I believe that our district can respond to this difficult set of challenges in a transformational way that allows for us to ensure equitable, inclusive schools where all students feel a sense of belonging.”

If elected, Johnson-Marcus said she would like to focus on equity.

“We need to focus on reducing the disparity in learning outcomes and creating an equitable education system that meets the needs of all students in our Metuchen schools,” she said. “Along with my running mate, Mr. Brian Glassberg, we are working to ensure that we have a district staff that is reflective of the diversity of our borough and the State of New Jersey, and that is well trained to ensure inclusive schools. Work has already begun to implement a more inclusive curriculum that diversifies the content presented in our Metuchen schools.”

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