JACKSON – For the first time, voters have elected a member of Jackson’s new and growing Orthodox Jewish community to a seat on the Jackson School District Board of Education.
In the Nov. 3 election, Tzvi Herman received 10,635 votes to win a one-year term on the school board, according to results posted on the Ocean County Clerk’s Office website as of Nov. 27.
Herman was the only Jackson resident who filed a nominating petition to run for the one-year term on the school board and his name appeared on the ballot.
According to the clerk’s office, there were 9,279 write-in votes cast in the election for the one-year term Herman won. In the weeks leading up to the school board election, several residents announced they were running a write-in campaign.
On Nov. 27, the clerk’s office reported that Michael L. Braun received 4,890 write-in votes and Allison Barocas received 3,330 write-in votes. The clerk’s office did not report who received the remaining 1,059 write-in votes.
In an interview with the Tri-Town News, Herman said, “I think I am really in a good position to do a lot of good for the community.”
Herman grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and eventually moved to Lakewood, which is home to a large Orthodox Jewish population. He moved to Jackson about three years ago. Herman is the father of three young children and runs a small business.
He discussed the way certain state and federal funds are designed to provide special education services to children who attend public school or private school.
Herman said Jackson School District administrators are not working with private schools to be able to provide services to children attending those schools.
“I know there are about 2,500 private school children in Jackson. That is a significant number and it is growing very rapidly. Within three years, I believe the private school population of Jackson is going to be over 5,000 children. That is a lot of kids to not be receiving a lot of services; reading, math, speech, even evaluations they are not getting,” Herman said.
As to becoming the first member of Jackson’s Orthodox Jewish community to be elected to the school board, Herman said the fact that he received more than 10,000 votes indicates to him that more people than just members of the Orthodox Jewish community voted for him.
He said he believes about two-thirds (7,000) of the 10,635 votes he received in the election came from outside the township’s Orthodox Jewish community.
“Being on the ballot with a clearly Orthodox name and receiving so many votes should show everybody in town that this town is not a hate-filled place. We live in a wonderful town, we have neighbors, we get along,” Herman said.
Current board members Scott Sargent and Tara Rivera won three-year terms on the board in the Nov. 3 election. Sargent received 14,504 votes and Rivera received 13,413 votes to turn back a challenge from Anthony Mero, who received 11,402 votes as of Nov. 27.
Neither Sargent nor Rivera could be reached for comment.