HomeEast Brunswick SentinelEB NewsSeven candidates will vie for three seats available on Monroe school board...

Seven candidates will vie for three seats available on Monroe school board in November election

MONROE – Seven candidates, all newcomers, will vie for the three, three-year terms open on the Monroe Board of Education in the upcoming election.

The general election is on Nov. 2.

Andy Paluri, Peter Tufano and Rupa Siegel are not seeking re-election.

Sarah Aziz, 44, is running on the Vote for Progress ticket.

She has lived in Monroe for five years, grew up in Jamesburg and is a 1995 graduate of Monroe Township High School.

She is married with three children ages 13, 10, and 5.

Aziz earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Rutgers University. She is employed as a certified public accountant (CPA).

In the community, Aziz is a member of the Woodland-Mill Lake Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. She is also a parent of a special needs child and advocate for people with disabilities on the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD).

Additionally, she is the administrator of the Monroe Township Education Facebook group where she posts summaries of Board of Education (BOE) meetings and shares the latest in education news on the state, local and national level.

“As a parent of three schoolchildren, including one with special needs, I am familiar with the struggles our students, staff and parents have faced during the pandemic,” she said. “If elected, I would work with our school administration to make our district more dynamic moving forward, increase our usage of technology, improve communication, and implement broader support programs. I would address our school overcrowding crisis and aging facilities. I will collaborate with our administration to provide our students with an excellent education and find fiscally responsible solutions without compromising the safety of our staff and students or burdening our taxpayers.”

If elected, Aziz said one of the areas she would like to concentrate on is the school budget.

“As a CPA, I have worked as an auditor and financial analyst for large financial services companies,” she said. “I am best qualified to work with our administration to find the financial resources to provide our staff and students with the tools they need to be successful. My skills will be vital as I go through every line of our school budget to make sure our students are getting the maximum benefit for every dollar spent, lowering costs where possible, and protecting our taxpayers. Finding fiscally responsible solutions is a priority for me.”

Gazala Bohra, 43, is running on the Putting Students First ticket.

She has lived in Monroe for 12 years.

She is married to Rashed and has three children, ages 16, 14 and 12.

Bohra earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Gogte Institute of Technology in India. She is employed as a chief marketing officer at an e-commerce retailer of medical equipment and supplies.

In the community, Bohra serves as community service coordinator for local Boy Scout Troop 60 and serves as a committee member of the Monroe Township High School soccer parents committee helping run various fundraisers.

She has volunteered on the Student Growth Advisory (SGA) committee that was tasked to find solutions for the overcrowding in the schools; served as an active volunteer and officer of the Barclay Brook-Brookside PTA board for seven years; served as treasurer for Pack 105 and a den leader for two of her children’s cub scout dens; and worked as a food vendor coordinator for the spring soccer tournament in town for a few years.

“I have been involved in board affairs and have been a strong voice of the community in times of critical decisions like redistricting in 2015, SGA in 2016, referendum planning in 2017-18, unsafe trailer placement in 2018, referendum planning in 2018-19, school busing budget cut in 2019-20 and now with the next referendum planning,” she said. “As a parent of three children in the district, I have firsthand knowledge of the strengths and challenges. I am running because after staying involved and doing my civic duty on the outside, I’ve realized that to bring real change I need to be part of the process on the inside.”

Bohra said student success should be the “north star” for every BOE.

“Their responsibility is to ensure the education provided to the student is the best the community can afford,” she said. “Today many factors impacting student success in our town are tied to the overcrowding issues in our schools. This needs to be addressed [as soon as possible] with a plan that is acceptable to the taxpayers who are paying for almost 90% of our school budget as a result of the lack of adequate state funding. I will work to find a solution that expands our schools with the least impact on our taxes.”

Linda M. (Dey) Bozowski, 74, is running on the Promoting Educational Opportunities ticket.

She has lived in Monroe for 22 years – born and raised in the township until age 16, and then moved back in 2015.

Bozowski is widowed with two sons and a daughter, and one grandson.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Rutgers University College after having her three children. She is retired from working in health care finance as a hospital financial professional and health care consultant. She owned a physician practice management company for 18 years.

In the community, Bozowski was active in the PTA when her children were in school in South Brunswick and St. Peter’s in New Brunswick. She was also active as a church religious education teacher.

She did sports writing for The Central Post when her older son played baseball for the Athletic Association.

Since moving to Rossmoor Village in 2015, she has been a volunteer writer for the Rossmoor News, serves as a member of the board of the Rossmoor Music Association and a volunteer contributor to Project Linus.

“I feel it is important for the public, especially the older public whose children are grown, to be aware of what is happening in our schools,” she said. “One of my goals is generating greater community involvement in our schools, since school costs represent nearly 60% of our tax dollars and we need public support to provide facilities and learning materials for our children. I feel a disconnect in our township between the board and school administration. I would like to help bridge that divide with greater collaboration and reduce the divisiveness.”

If elected, Bozowski said she “would like to see our district foster more diverse programs, especially for those students who are not planning on furthering their educations after high school.”

“While we have excellent vocational schools in the county, I think we need to offer more of those courses in our own district,” she said. “My campaign slogan refers to promoting educational opportunities, and to me, that means offering as many opportunities as we can to all of our students, from the most talented to the most in need of help and support.”

Neha Desai, 42, is running on the Vote for Progress ticket. She has lived in Monroe for 19 years and has a 10-year-old son.

Desai earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and computer science and master’s degree in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. She is employed as an institutional review board administrator at Rutgers.

In the community, Desai serves as a member of the Woodland-Mill Lake PTO.

“I am running for the board because I want to improve the quality of our education and address our school overcrowding crisis,” she said. “Our lack of classroom space is negatively impacting our curriculum by limiting the courses and programs we can offer our students. This needs to change. I would also make sure our district invests in quality instructional materials and works with families to make sure our students can reach their greatest potential. I would also work with our administration to create partnerships with businesses to develop programs and obtain resources for students to better prepare them for the workforce.”

If elected, Desai said one of the areas she would concentrate on is “making sure our students are provided with the proper emotional, social and academic support as we navigate through this pandemic.

“Due to the pandemic many children have experienced learning loss and less social interaction,” she said. “I would work with the administration to develop the necessary programs to support our students to put them on the path to success. As a person with a master’s degree in clinical psychology who is involved in research, I am best qualified for this role.”

Katie Fabiano, 36, is running on the Educator for Education ticket.

She is married to Brian and they have two children ages 9 and 7. She is a lifelong resident of Monroe.

Fabiano earned a bachelor’s degree from Rider University. She is employed as a kindergarten teacher for East Brunswick Public Schools.

In the community, Fabiano is an active member of the Woodland-Mill Lake PTO.

“My main reason(s) for running for the board are my two children,” she said. “Having went through Monroe Township Schools from kindergarten through high school I want them to experience the same quality education that I received. My youngest son has special needs and I am committed to advocating and fighting for him and all of our children. I am also running because I believe that my experience as an educator for over 15 years will bring a unique perspective to the board.”

If elected, Fabiano said one area that she would like to concentrate on is “expanding our schools in a fiscally responsible manner.”

“Our schools are at their maximum capacity, and we need the space to accommodate our currently 1,500 unhoused students,” she said. “Our administration owes it to the entire community to explore all options from renovations and expansions to new construction. We need a plan that not only meets our current needs, but allows for the accommodation of anticipated future growth.”

Kate Rattner, 37, is running on the Commitment Collaboration Community ticket.

She is married to Dave and they have three children, ages 10, 4, and 2. She has lived in Monroe for eight years.

Rattner earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in music education from Auburn University and a master’s degree in school counseling from Seton Hall University.

She has been employed as a public school band director for 11 years and currently owns a recruiting business in the customer service field.

In the community, Rattner serves as a commissioner on the Monroe Township Cultural Arts Committee, has served as a Girl Scout Troop leader, a recreational soccer coach, a member of the PTO and the fundraising vice president of her family’s religious institution.

“I believe we need people on the board with experience in education,” she said. “I have three young children who will go through the schools and I want to ensure they have a high-quality educational experience.

“However, I am a homeowner in Monroe and my parents are homeowners in Monroe. Our property taxes are out of control and I want to make sure we are looking into all possible resources to maximize funding such as grants, partnerships and sponsorships. And I want to make sure we are using our resources as efficiently as possible.

“Finally, I want to unite our community. We have a very diverse population in many different ways. We need to respect each other and work together to create the best possible community,” she said.

If elected, Rattner said one area she would like to concentrate on is “improving our mental health resources for students, staff and the community.”

“Our counselor-to-student ratio is significantly higher than surrounding communities,” she said. “Unless students are struggling academically or required as part of an IEP or 504 to receive counseling, our counselors don’t have the bandwidth to help all of our students to the amount that should be done. We should also have parent academies, where parents/guardians are given training on recognizing depression/anxiety, monitoring social media and more.”

Sean E. Regan, 56, who has lived in Monroe for 19 years, is married to Kathy and has seven children, ages 17 to 28.

Regan attended Rutgers University and Duquesne University Law School. He is employed as an attorney.

In the community, Regan has coached football, basketball and soccer at a variety of levels.

He has served in the Rotary, served as a member of the Immaculate Conception Church Finance Committee, served as a member of the St. Mary’s High School Advisory Committee, a member of the NJ Bar Association, a member of the Monmouth County Bar Association, served as a Monroe and Middlesex County committee person, and has been involved in many community activities and events.

“I want to help recapture the things that attracted me to Monroe in the first place, low taxes and good schools,” he said. “We lost one and are on the verge of losing the other. Let the teachers teach and watch the budget. Too much is wasted with the bickering at the BOE meetings. They have lost sight of the reason the board exists. Set the budget and watch the spending, set broad policy, and hire good quality people who you do not have to micromanage.

“The constant turnover [of the] superintendent has to stop. The nonsense with the business administrator [BA] has to stop. We have great teachers. Let them teach. They chose their profession for a reason and are good at what they do,” he said.

If elected, Regan said he would like to concentrate on buildings, teachers and budgets.

“There are two groups that the BOE needs to be concerned about,” he said. “The students, and the taxpayers. The students need good teachers. That is the most important thing. That is done by bringing in the right leadership at the superintendent and the BA positions. Stay out of the classroom and not be involved in the day to day.

“At this time, Monroe is up against the sins of over-development. New school facilities have to be built. The state will soon enough force our hand to add facilities. I would rather that we be in control of the new construction so as to be able to set the budget for the taxpayers, not over spend, and ring every bit out of every dollar spent. I have been practicing construction law in New Jersey for 28 years, including school construction and bidding. This gives me expertise that no other candidate has. At this crucial time I can bring that expertise to bear on any new projects that will have to be done.”

Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2.

- Advertisment -

Stay Connected


Current Issue