MONROE – With early voting coming to a close and Election Day arriving on Nov. 8, there are six candidates on the ballot seeking to earn one of the three, three-year terms available on the Monroe Township Board of Education.
Monroe voters will determine who earns the three coveted seats on the school board among candidates: Carmen Alvarez, Linda Bozowski, Anne Cugini, Gail DiPane (Promoting Positive Change ticket), Adam Elias [Fair Funding Focused ticket], and Peter Tufano [Put Children First ticket].
Alvarez is running on the “Unite for Education” ticket, Elias is running on the “Fair Funding Focused” ticket, and Tufano is running on the “Put Children First” ticket.
Bozowski and DiPane are running on the “Promoting Positive Change” ticket.
On Election Day, residents can cast their ballots in-person from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.
Alvarez has been a resident of Monroe for seven years.
Profession: Bilingual social worker for the Elizabeth Public Schools for 23 years, and member of the Preschool Child Study Team.
Certifications: Supervisor certification
Education: Received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University, master’s degree in social work from New York University, and a second master’s degree in educational administration from Kean University.
Community Service: Former president of the New Jersey Association of School Social Workers. Joined soup for Rossmoor seniors.
“I believe that having worked in education for 23 years with both general and special education populations, has prepared me to serve as a board member due to familiarity with all aspects of public education,” she wrote in a response for the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.
Alvarez said she wants to address overcrowding at Monroe Township Middle School and Monroe Township High School.
Bozowski has lived in Monroe for 23 years.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Rutgers University College.
Occupation: Retired from working in health care finance as a hospital financial professional and health care consultant. Owned a physician practice management company for 18 years.
Community service: Bozowski was active in the Parent Teacher Association in South Brunswick and in New Brunswick; was also active as a church religious education teacher; sports writing for The Central Post; volunteer writer for the Rossmoor News; and member of the board of the Rossmoor Music Association.
“My priorities for our school system are straight forward. First we need to support expansion of our facilities so we can provide adequate well-equipped classrooms. Secondly, we must promote sound fiscal management,” she wrote in a post on Facebook.
“A third priority supports assessment of our programs to make sure all students are given opportunities for career preparedness.”
Cugini has been a Monroe resident for 13 years.
Profession: Certified physical education teacher. Worked as a substitute, leave replacement and full-time teacher in East Brunswick and Old Bridge.
Community Service: Previous member of the Mill Lake/Woodland Elementary Schools Parent Teacher Organizations.
Cugini said her goal is to support the students and faculty to give them the best path to success inside and outside the classroom, according to her campaign Facebook page.
“I am committed to improving our school district and community while making difficult decisions due to financial limitations,” she wrote.
Cugini said she wants to address overcrowding in the school district and advocate for equitable funding for Monroe Township School District.
DiPane has lived in the Rossmoor community for four years.
Occupation: Retired. Previously worked for Rutgers University for The Elizabeth Boggs Center for Developmental Disabilities.
Community service: Served 18 years on the North Brunswick Township Board of Education. While on the school board, she served as president for two years, vice president for two years, and on the board’s Building and Grounds Committee. Previously was a member of the North Brunswick Education Foundation for 10 years.
“I feel that with my 18 years of experience as a school board member and vast knowledge attained while in that position, I can serve this district to the best of my knowledge with no hidden agendas. Just a great desire to be a part of this board in making sure that all children in the district get the best education possible,” DiPane wrote in a Facebook post.
She said overcrowding and all-day kindergarten are issues that need to be addressed in the school district.
Elias has been a Monroe resident for two years.
Education: Bachelor’s degree and law degree from Rutgers University.
Occupation: Managing partner of Elias & Gonzalez LLC; small business owner; previously was an assistant prosecutor in the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.
“If elected to the board, this district may not get the fair funding it deserves, but the district will get a local parent who is driven to see his district do better,” Elias wrote in a Facebook post.
“Anyone who knows me personally or professionally knows how much I have accomplished in my life [in a] very short amount of time and can expect that I will go into overdrive to give our students every opportunity they deserve.”
He spotlights “addressing fair funding, full-day kindergarten and enhancing staff retention” in his campaign.
Tufano has been a Monroe for 14 years.
Occupation: Small business owner
Public Service: Previously served a three-year term on the Monroe Township Board of Education. He served on the board’s Buildings, Grounds & Transportation Committee.
“I am a proud ‘cheer dad’ and ‘football dad’ and have supported the board’s efforts to ensure our athletic programs are funded properly for our teams to succeed. While on the school board, I served as chair of the Buildings, Grounds & Transportation Committee (BGT),” he wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page.
“Under my Committee leadership, the BGT Committee did extensive investigations into how to address overcrowding in our schools. The district is putting forth a very fiscally responsible referendum for a vote in April 2023 that will address needs across the district.”
He urged the community unite behind the referendum for “the sake of our children.”
Tufano said, in a response for the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, that he sees “increasing enrollment” in the district causing unhoused students and multiple failed referendums to address these issues, as the most challenging issue facing the school district.