North Brunswick school board members seek to maintain public trust, deal with effects of COVID-19 on students

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Elesia L. James
NORTH BRUNSWICK – The North Brunswick Township Board of Education will welcome a new face once votes are officially tallied and board members are sworn in.
Newcomer Elesia L. James received the highest number of votes in the Nov. 3 general election, with 10,149; Hayley Toth received 7,471; and Richard D. Liguori received 7,395 as of Nov. 16, which was current as of press time.
There were 289 write-in votes.
Results are not official until they have been certified by Middlesex County.
James said she is “truly grateful, honored and humbled by the current status” of the results of the election.
“While we await the certified results, I am hopeful that I will, ultimately, be elected to the Board of Education with my term commencing in January.
“I have received so much support from friends, family and community members and I feel energized to make them proud by serving with dignity, integrity and with the community in mind.
“While I cannot claim to know all of the answers to the questions that exist or even to know what problems may currently exist, I trust that I will soon become informed and I will do my best to ensure that North Brunswick Township Public Schools is responsive to community concerns and that the district is well run,” James said.
James said she looks forward to building and maintaining public trust upon being certified and subsequently sworn in.
“Of great importance right now is dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and reconciling, to the greatest extent practicable, how it may have affected our students socially, emotionally and academically.
“Moving forward, I am eager to collaborate with my fellow board members, the superintendent of schools, district leadership, staff and the community on determining what our collective goals are to ensure the educational welfare of our students and to develop policies, as needed, to carry out the district’s goals and endeavors,” she said.
Toth had replaced Claribel Cortes, who joined the Township Council earlier this year after Councilman Robert Corbin passed away. Cortes was presumably re-elected to the council on Nov. 3.
“As I await the certified results, I reflect back over the last couple of weeks and feel a sense of gratitude. I want to thank the community members who put their trust in me by casting their vote for my continued service to the Board of Education. I am pleased with the community’s response to a fair and presumed successful election,” Toth said.
“The children of North Brunswick will remain my No. 1 priority, ensuring over the next three years our students receive high quality education in a safe and secure environment. I will focus to increase our Four Year Cohort Graduation Rate ensuring programs and a steady curriculum for every student.
“The COVID-19 crisis still looms, but my goal is to make sure we get all of our students back to a ‘normal’ learning environment. I will also make it my priority that we inform all members of the community of the happenings within the North Brunswick school system.
“Our taxpayers deserve the most information as possible as it pertains to our district. We are all facing an unprecedented time in our lives; we must lean on one another, come together for our children. I am humbled, filled with gratitude, and look forward to serving the community,” Toth said.
Liguori was a member of the Board of Education from 2007-15, and returned in 2018. He served as president for five years and as vice president for one year.
“Thank you to the voters of our wonderful township for supporting me in this year’s campaign. I am humbled by your support and, although we must wait for the election results to be certified by the county clerk’s office, I cannot wait to get started on my next term,” Liguori said.

“I also want to congratulate Elesia James and Hayley Toth on winning their first full terms. They are both energetic and bright people, and I look forward to sitting alongside both of them as we all work together to maintain and improve upon the standard of excellence that you have come to expect from North Brunswick schools.

“My goal for my next term is to continue to listen, learn and advocate for all students in town. Student achievement remains the first priority and I will work collaboratively with our administrative team and my fellow board members to ensure we do so in a fiscally responsible manner.

“We have important work to do, all while navigating important issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, enhancing rigorous digital curriculum, ongoing construction in our facilities, eliminating the achievement gap, and fighting for fair funding from Trenton.

“North Brunswick is the only place I have ever called home. I care deeply about our town and I look forward to working with all stakeholders in the upcoming months and years as we embark on the new and exciting challenges ahead,” Liguori said.

For updates on the election results from Middlesex County, visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Pages/Election-Results-2020.aspx