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Six residents seeking seats on Marlboro K-8 Board of Education

MARLBORO — Six residents are seeking three three-year terms on the Marlboro K-8 School District Board of Education in the 2022 general election.

Voting by mail has been underway for several weeks. Early in-person voting will take place from Oct. 29 through Nov. 6 at selected locations in Monmouth County (available to all residents of the county), or Marlboro residents may vote at their regular polling location in the township on Nov. 8.

Two current members of the board, Randy Heller and Jennifer Silacci, are seeking to retain their seats. Heller and Silacci are running under the banner Building On Experience, according to a list of candidates posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office.

Three residents are running under the banner Parenting Over Politics, according to the clerk’s office. Those candidates are former board member Michael Lilonsky, and Annette Siewert and Valentina Mendez.

Resident Anu Shanbhag is running under the banner Hearts and Minds, according to the clerk’s office.

Residents may vote for one, two or three candidates in the school board election. School board members in New Jersey serve without compensation.

The News Transcript reached out to each candidate for this article.

Randy Heller

Profession: Counselor.

In the community: Heller has been a resident of Marlboro with his wife for more than 20 years.

Children in Marlboro schools: Has four children who have graduated or are currently enrolled in Marlboro schools. Heller is the current board president. He has served on the board for six years.

Why are you running for a seat on the board?

“I wear many hats, as most of us do these days. I am so excited and proud to be running again for a seat on the Board of Education. I am looking forward to continuing to advocate for all the students, parents and staff.

“During my time on the board, I am so proud of my many accomplishments, including putting a spotlight on emotional, social and behavioral health. Additionally, I was instrumental in the implementation of various safety and security measures. I spearheaded the improvement of district communication.

“These achievements, and many more not listed, have positively impacted the district. My wife and I have lived in Marlboro for 20 years and I am a proud father of four children, all of whom have either graduated or are currently enrolled in the district.

“With my active schedule, I have always found time to serve the community, as a board member, but also serving as a coach in a multitude of sports,” Heller said.

Michael Lilonsky
Profession: I have been involved in the transportation industry for more than 45 years and am currently a part owner of Allied Brothers Intermodal Inc. My experience includes employee relations, safety, business finance and business administration.
In the community: Lilonsky has lived in Marlboro for 33 years.
Children in Marlboro schools: All three of Lilonsky’s children attended the Marlboro school system and he said they have moved on to successful careers. He has two granddaughters, one of whom currently attends Marlboro schools.
Why are you running for a seat on the board?

“In the past, I have served on the Marlboro Board of Education from April 2007 through January 2017. I was vice president in 2010 and president of the board from 2011 through 2016. This experience will let me hit the ground running.

“While we are not a slate, I am running together with two other like-minded individuals, our slogan is Parenting Over Politics. As implied, it is so important to hear and respect our parents’ views concerning their children’s education.

I am running for us, all our voices, and as a former board president, the opinions from my fellow board members and community members were always welcomed with open arms. If elected once again, I will continue to do so from any seat I sit in.

“I would like to once again serve the community that has given so much to me and my family. I would like to continue to work with all of the stakeholders in our community to provide the best education and environment for all our children,” Lilonsky said.

Valentina Mendez

Profession: Retail Training Director in Finance.

In the community: Mendez has lived in Marlboro for two-and-a-half years.

Children in Marlboro schools: Two children attending school in the district.

Why are you running for a seat on the board?

“I made the decision to run for a position on the Marlboro board because the children and schools in our community are so important to me. I have two children currently attending school in our district and my oldest just graduated Marlboro High School and is a freshman in college. 

“Working in finance and learning and development over the past 20 years has provided me with the tools needed to help our schools be successful. My experience includes writing and reviewing policies and procedures, employee development, engagement, creation and delivery of training materials, and curriculum design, among many other things.

“I have been attending board meetings for the past two years and I have seen opportunities for growth and development. It is important to me that parents have a voice. I am just a mom trying to do what is best and to show my children that community involvement is how our town thrives,” Mendez said.

Anu Shanbhag

Profession: Compliance coordinator in a mid-sized medical office.

In the community: Shanbhag has lived in Marlboro for nine years.

Children in Marlboro schools: One child in middle school in Marlboro.

Why are you running for a seat on the board?

“I am running for the Board of Education because I believe in our country’s public school model and want to add my effort in keeping it strong and vital. I also believe we need diverse voices in our governing positions to reflect the communities they make decisions for.

“So I am running to add a diverse voice and hopefully an enriching viewpoint. I am also running because as an immigrant, I owe a debt of gratitude to my new home for affording me so many opportunities throughout my life. And I want to give some of it back by volunteering my time and efforts to keep our community strong,” Shanbhag said.

Annette Siewert

Profession: I have been a beauty professional for more than 20 years. During that time I offered education to fellow cosmetologists on professionalism, growing your business through social media, and understanding their value behind the chair. Through advanced education with the Wella company, I obtained my certification of Master Colorist in 2020 and recently became the owner-operator of my own business.

In the community: Siewart and her family have lived in Marlboro since 2018.

Children in Marlboro schools: Three children in Marlboro schools; one in elementary school and two in middle school.

Why are you running for a seat on the board?

“I feel I would be a tremendous asset to the Marlboro K-8 board based on my experience as a parent and an entrepreneur, my strong leadership qualities and the ability to hear and respect all sides of ‘the argument.

“I take pride in being a resident of the Marlboro community because of the strong academic rigor and will do everything in my power, if elected, to maintain that reputation,” Siewart said.

Jennifer Silacci:

Profession: Silacci is an aide at the John I. Dawes Early Learning Center in the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District and said, “I love working with the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten pupils.”

In the community: Silacci has lived in Marlboro for nine years with her husband and two children.

Children in Marlboro schools: A son in eighth grade and a daughter in fourth grade.

Why are you running for a seat on the board?

“I have always loved our schools. I used to be a substitute teacher in our district before I became a board member. We have an amazing group of teachers and administrators. I am looking to continue on the board because, again, I feel we have an amazing school system and want to keep it that way.

“I want to continue to advocate for all of the students, teachers and parents in the district. I feel it is extremely important to keep that going. I am happy to be a part of my own children’s education and our community’s children’s education. It is extremely important to me.

“I have always been passionate about education and I want to continue our high quality educational programs here in Marlboro. We are very fortunate that Marlboro sends 98% of our public school students to college. I find that amazing.

“I have always taken my role as a board member seriously and will continue to do so. I feel if the community, the teachers and the administration work together, we can have an even stronger educational system for our students,” Silacci said.

Board of Education members oversee the operation of Marlboro’s K-8 public schools: the David C. Abbott Early Learning Center; Marlboro Middle School; Marlboro Memorial Middle School; and five elementary schools: Asher Holmes, Defino Central, Frank J. Dugan, Marlboro Elementary and Robertsville.

The district has an estimated enrollment of about 4,545 pupils and a budget of about $95 million, according to information posted on the school district’s website.

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