Three incumbents face a write-in challenger on ballot as they seek to regain seats on Milltown Board of Education

Egnita Pardo

MILLTOWN – Three incumbents are facing a write in challenger on the ballot as they seek to regain their three-year seats on the Milltown Board of Education.

The general election is on Nov. 3.

Newcomer Egnita Pardo is challenging incumbents JoAnne Demetrio, Jim Lloyd and Mary O’Mara

Egnita Pardo, 42, has lived in the borough for 15 years. She and her husband have six children, ages 8, 12, 15, 17, 18 and 20, who have all attended the Milltown Public School education system.

Pardo is a graduate of Perth Amboy High School. She earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Middlesex County College, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Kean University, earned state certification in Teacher of Students with Disabilities from Rutgers University and a certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder from Georgian Court Graduate School of Education. She is currently completing her graduate studies in special education with a specialization in autism spectrum disorder, which she will complete in December.

She has more than 15 years of experience working as an educator in the public school system. Currently, she is working for the New Brunswick Board of Education (BOE) as a special education teacher for grades 1 and 2.

In the community, Pardo has helped organize and assist in the development of the Domestic Violence Response Team Milltown along with the local police department and Women Aware. This included speaking with victims of domestic violence assisting in writing temporary restraining orders, providing victims and their children with comfort, explaining their rights and guidance.

In the past she has volunteered as a class mother. Most recently she has become a trustee for the Milltown Education Foundation and at the invitation of Schools Superintendent Stephanie Brown, she is collaborating with the school in fostering conversation with teachers on culturally responsive teaching practices once a month during their meetings.

Pardo is seeking her first term.

“I am running for the Milltown BOE because I would like the opportunity to use my skill set and work collaboratively with the community in providing voice and agency, to share my knowledge of best teaching practices, culture, climate and diversity in order to support our teachers, students and families,” she said.

Pardo said if elected she wants to contribute her expertise in education, student advocacy and she would focus on culturally responsive teaching practices and providing equity, voice and agency.

“Collaboration that is truly inclusive and reflective of active listening practices,” she said. “Creating empathetic and supportive interactions between all stakeholders.”

JoAnne Demetrio, 66, has lived in the borough for 43 years. She has two adult daughters who live in Milltown, and six grandchildren ages 4-13.

Demetrio, a retired teacher, taught in the Milltown Public Schools for 32 years. She earned a master’s degree in elementary education and certifications in reading recovery and national board.

In the community, Demetrio’s involvement revolves around her grandchildren and the BOE.

“I attend all their sports events,” she said. “I also participate in the community activities as part of my board committees, PTO (Parent Teacher Organizations), [and] MEF (Milltown Education Foundation) activities.”

Demetrio said she is running for another term on the board because “as an educator, my whole life has revolved around educating children.”

“I think I offer an expertise and insight to the educational experience that is useful to the board,” she said. “My special interest is in curricula. I think it is important that we keep up with changes and ensure that our children are given the opportunity to be exposed to the most current information possible. I have been involved as the curriculum chair and hope to continue as a board member. Milltown has done an outstanding job educating our children and I take pride in being a part of contributing to the process.”

Jim Lloyd, 42, who has lived in the borough for seven years, is seeking his third term on the board. He and his wife have two daughters, 9 and 11, enrolled at Joyce Kilmer Middle School.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a law degree from Fordham University School of Law and a master’s degree in public policy from Rutgers University. He is employed as a researcher at Rutgers University’s Center for Health Services Research.

In the community, Lloyd has coached many seasons of soccer and basketball for Milltown Recreation. He served as a committeeman for the Milltown Democratic Organization and frequently participates in events at the Milltown Public Library.

“I’m running for the BOE because I believe in the school district and I want to be involved and help wherever I can,” he said. “My six years on the board have given me experience that I think will contribute to the district continuing to excel. I’ve been through a number of budget and contract negotiation cycles at this point, and I think those experiences are valuable for the next ones. I think I’m in a place where I can build on the trust I’ve established to keep the district strong.”

Lloyd said he recently moved to the Public Relations Committee on the BOE.

“I’d like to continue to focus my efforts on the connection between the district and the larger Milltown community,” he said. “Maintaining open lines of communication, bringing members of the community into the planning process, and making sure that what we on the board are doing reflects what Milltowners value. There are a lot of things that a school district can’t talk about due to privacy protections, but in those areas where communication can be more open, I plan to continue and expand the ongoing efforts to engage the community.”

Mary O’Mara, 40, who has lived in the borough for 10 years, is seeking a second term on the board. She has two children, ages 13 and 6.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is in the process of earning a master’s of music education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is employed as an orchestra teacher in the East Brunswick Public Schools.

“I have always been involved in volunteer work and wanted to do something where I feel my skills would be an asset,” she said. “I did not always have a good sense of what the public schools were like in Milltown, so I thought being on the [BOE] would be a great way to be an active parent and community member. There is a lot to learn during your first term on the board, so I am running for re-election to put to better use all that I have learned over the last three years.”

O’Mara said as a middle school teacher, educators have been challenged by the transition to virtual learning.

“I would also like to try and incorporate my background in arts education and make sure that those subject areas remain part of educating the children of Milltown to help develop critical thinking, empathy and creativity,” she said.