SAYREVILLE – Eight candidates are seeking three available three-year terms on the Sayreville School District Board of Education.
The current terms of Anthony Esposito, John Walsh and Carrie Kenny will end in December. Kenny is not seeking re-election to the board.
The candidates seeking the terms are Esposito, Walsh, Syed Muhammad Ali, Richard Nemshick, Danielle Pieloch, Rodmyr Plantin, Anthony Sposato and Jane Zaleski-Pabon.
Ali and Walsh could not be reached for comment by press time.
Anthony Esposito, who is serving as board president for 2021, joined the board in 2016. A resident of Sayreville since 2000, he is a credit manager at Standard Motor Products. He also serves on the Sayreville Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Recreation Advisory Board.
“While I feel we have made tremendous progress over the last 5-and-a-half years – test scores are rising, we have invested in secure vestibules and have police in each school to protect our students and staff, and implemented free pre-school for all Sayreville residents – there is still much more to do,” he said. “Not all our students attend college after graduation. Post-high school career path readiness is something I am very concerned about. I also feel we need to put a greater emphasis on teaching civics, teaching students the rights and obligations of citizens in society. I want to continue to work hard to make a difference for our students and staff.
“I can honestly say I had no ulterior motive when I ran for the board in 2015,” Esposito continued. “My intention was to give back to a community and a school district that provided my children an amazing education. I thought my knowledge and experience in finance and budgets could prove useful to the district. This bore out when I was chosen to chair the Finance Committee in my second year on the board. In addition, my experience managing large staffs and working with various departments over the last 20 plus years, has, at times, proved invaluable, especially when working with the numerous personalities across the district to find common ground that’s best for the district and the students.”
If re-elected, Esposito said three areas of focus for him will be planning the construction of a school for special needs students, preparing and helping the district receive approval for a referendum that will repair the schools and construct a bus compound, and suggesting American Sign Language be taught to all students.
Richard Nemshick, a resident of Sayreville since 2001, was a mathematics teacher at Sayreville War Memorial High School (SWMHS) until his retirement in February.
He served in the United States Army and worked for a Fortune 500 insurance company. As a volunteer, Nemshick was the superintendent’s choice to the Sayreville Library Board for three years and served one-and-a-half years on his condominium’s board of trustees.
“I am seeking a position on Sayreville’s school board to pay back to the community I have grown to call home,” Nemshick said. “My wife and I plan to retire here. The town has been particularly good to my wife, daughter and I. Our close friends and some family are all here.
“My responsibilities in the Army taught me teamwork, self-discipline and patriotism. In the business world, I had enormous responsibilities for my age, with as much as 30 staff reporting to me and a budget of about $20 million,” he continued. “This time taught me about money, legalities and people management.
“The school board members do not have direct influence over the district. Much like other boards, it is an oversight position. I would hope to make an impact on some areas.”
If elected, Nemshick said three areas of focus for him will be helping improve the relationship between the district’s union and the board, the need to utilize all the skills of the knowledge workers employed by the district and seeing the board become more transparent within the constraints that exist.
Danielle Pieloch, a SWMHS graduate, is the executive director of patient access for a large health system in New Jersey, as well as a part-time lecturer at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University.
She previously served on the school board in 2020 when she was appointed to fill a vacant seat.
“I feel strongly that the success I have experienced in my career is directly attributed to the strong foundation I developed as a student in our Sayreville schools,” Pieloch said. “I can think of no better way to pay this forward than to serve my town and my school district in this capacity. I am confident that my experience as an executive, parent and community member will add to my ability to be successful in this role.
“I look forward to using my collaborative approach, analytical mindset and open-mindedness to work together as we drive forward. Our district already has many successes, but I will bring with me the desire to continually improve and always chase excellence in all that we endeavor.
“The roles that I have held [in healthcare administration] have been tasked with the leadership of the departments responsible for securing the organizations revenue while optimizing logistical navigation of patients throughout various care settings, focused on the patient and family experience,” she continued.
“Quality, value and the pursuit of excellence are at the forefront of all that we do in healthcare. I am an experienced manager and believe in servant leadership, or the concept that my role as a leader is to be committed to the growth of my team members. I focus on ensuring they have the resources and environment to be successful.
“As a leader in the organization, I am responsible for the strategic, financial and operational leadership of all things related to patient access. The skills that make me successful in my career will translate well and lend me to be successful as a board member,” she said.
If elected, Pieloch said three areas of focus for her will be continuing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with focus on mitigating educational, emotional and social impacts on students; improving student achievement through growing their love of learning and providing them the skills and mentalities that will lend themselves to be successful; and growing efforts around linking coursework with the Sayreville community through service and open dialogue.
Rodmyr Plantin, a resident of Sayreville since 2013, is a longshore worker and a member of the International Longshoreman’s Association labor union. As a volunteer, he was the sergeant-at-arms for the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut; vice president of the Brother to Sister club organization; and a trustee for the Sayreville Junior Bombers.
“I’m seeking election as a Board of Education member to improve and expand the education curriculum for every ethnic group in Sayreville as elective courses, increase teachers’ salaries to a competitive rate with other top municipalities in Middlesex County, and assist in balance of a budget prioritizing our educators’ necessities,” Plantin said.
“My history serving as a board member liaison of an organization helped me understand that there must be practical and a diplomatic approach to obtain the resources necessary to improve the functionality of the organization I have served,” he continued. “I’m certain as a board member I’ll be able to improve the collaboration between the various entities with the Board of Education.”
If elected, Plantin said three areas of focus for him will be increasing teacher and paraprofessional salaries, instituting elective courses for minority groups to learn about their history, and diversifying faculty and staff in Sayreville’s education department.
Anthony Sposato, a resident of Sayreville for three years, works for the event sales team at Topgolf Edison. His husband is a high school English teacher. As a volunteer, he said he intends to have an active role on the PTO for the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, where his son recently began attending kindergarten.
“I am an effective listener and communicator, and can listen to and learn from people with different opinions to build consensus, to keep the best interests of our students and staff at the forefront of all we do,” Sposato said.
“I believe in recruiting, retaining and supporting the best and most diverse cohort of teachers, administrators and staff. I believe in maintaining a regular line of communication with those folks to whom we entrust our children, to be sure their needs are met.
“I represent different groups in our community and can be a conduit to elevate the voices of our community to the educational and administrative decision-making table, to ensure that there is equitable representation. I believe in the power of a strong, intelligently-funded public education system to carry our children forward into their lives with a grounded foundation of skills and knowledge, to give them the best chance to succeed.
“I have worked in sales for my entire professional career,” he continued. “It’s a job rooted in learning how to listen to specific needs and figuring out the best ways to meet and exceed expectations. I am a lifelong learner and listener and, as the parent of a child in the district, it is of utmost importance that we have the ability to listen to the needs of our community. Our experiences are only ever our own and until we listen to the voices of those around us, we don’t have the perspective needed to amplify the voices of others,” he said.
If elected, Sposato said three areas of focus of him will be appreciating teachers and students through a program that peer-nominates them for public commendation, increasing communication with the Sayreville community by giving community members one hour each month to have a direct line of communication with a board member, and having a more diverse staff in the district.
Jane Zaleski-Pabon, a lifelong resident of Sayreville, was a teacher in the district for 14 years and taught at all grade levels, with most of her teaching career spent at the Sayreville Middle School. She said she is currently focusing on raising and educating her daughter while pursuing new career avenues.
“I am seeking a seat on the Sayreville Board of Education because I feel that with my experience in education, I can make a big difference and usher in much needed change,” Zaleski-Pabon said. “I have a strong voice and will stand with the students and teachers of Sayreville to make sure that our schools are safe, welcoming and on par with other districts.
“I have taught at all grade levels, but have spent the majority of my teaching career at Sayreville Middle School,” she continued. “With my training and experience in education, specifically in Sayreville, I have a strong knowledge of what students and teachers not only currently have access to, but what they will need from our district to make the educational experience optimal.”
If elected, Zaleski-Pabon said three areas of focus for her will be technology, school building safety and improvements, and morale.
“Technology allows both students and teachers to have more variety in their learning environments and the devices that our schools currently use are not adequate in a technology driven world,” she said. “For safety, our district’s buildings were all built many decades ago and have been in need of major improvements, specifically installing proper ventilation and air conditioning systems along with infrastructure updates. Morale – I can speak from experience when I say that teaching in a 95-plus degree, overcrowded classroom is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous. Our students, educators and support staff deserve better and it would be my honor to help make Sayreville schools the best that they can be.”
Election Day is Nov. 2.