Monday, April 11, 2016

Wednesday, April 13 Candidate Forum - School Board Election Publication


Each year, as a service to Plainfield voters, the League of Women Voters of Plainfield hosts a Candidates Forum the school board election.  The policy for participation in the forum is as follows:
After suggestions from the League of Women Voters of New Jersey (LWVNJ), the League of Women Voters of Plainfield will allow any citizen of Plainfield who is currently on the election ballot or a write-in candidate (who has an active campaign, is being opposed and is expected to receive at least 15% of the vote in the election) to participate in its election programs.  All must submit biographical material and answers to the local League's questions to the LWV of Plainfield to be included in the forum and League of Women Voters of Plainfield’s publication.
A candidate who has agreed to take part in the Forum, and later finds out that he or she will not be able to attend, may submit an opening statement of the same length afforded the other candidates.  The absent candidate's statement will be read by a member of the Plainfield LWV immediately following the opening statements of the candidates who are present at the Forum.  Any unopposed candidate who is present at the beginning of part of the forum for their category will be introduced to the audience.  The candidate, as per League policy, will not speak.  The candidate can however submit a biographical sketch and answers to the League’s questions to be included in the publication.
The time allotted to all candidates for their opening statements is not fixed, but is determined by the LWV Voters Services chairperson, predicated on the number of candidates who will be taking part in the Forum, and the amount of time accorded the LWV for its Forum by the host facility.  Information about the amount of time for opening and closing statements, along with all guidelines and rules is given to all the candidates in advance of the Forum.

League of Women Voters of Plainfield Forum
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Plainfield Public Library – Anne Louise Davis Room
800 Park Avenue
6:30 PM

The Biographical Sketches and Responses to LWV Questions Follow

Lynn Anderson 
Plainfield resident for almost 20 years; wife and the mother of a daughter attending Cedarbrook K-8 School; licensed Real Estate professional; serves as a volunteer parent with the Girl Scout's Heart of America Troop #40263 (Plainfield Chapter). Received numerous awards helping businesses increase revenues by reaching their fiscal goals; brings with her to the Board of Education, commitment and attention to detail in the effort to improve the value of education for all students. Experienced in marketing sales, training new hires and existing staff, mentoring, serves as district manager. Effective listener, communicator and negotiator; Following up, going above and beyond to ensure the needs of those I am working for are met. Problem solver--I believe you must try and anticipate what problems or issues might come up while trying to meet our goals and prepare in advance to overcome those issues. Collaborating with other professionals to develop new strategies, enter new areas.

Wilma G. Campbell 
Married, two adult sons, current Plainfield Board of Education President, small business owner. Bachelor of Arts St. Peter’s College, Master’s of Arts Seton Hall University. Post graduate studies New York University. New Jersey School Boards Association Master Board Member Certification.

Jackie D. Coley 
My name is Jackie D. Coley, a Plainfield resident for over twenty years, married to Tyrone Coley Sr. for 32 years, the mother of three children two daughter, a son and a proud grandparent of two lovely grand girls 5 & 6. I graduated from Elizabeth High School went to Union County College and attended Sawyers Business School in Elizabeth where I received my diploma in Career Secretary/Word processing and an outstanding Achievement award in Office procedures in 1986. I have been an employee for the City of Plainfield for 26 years.  I currently work at the Plainfield Fire Division and have worked 12 of those years under Plainfield Police Division. I am a member of the NAACP; I served as board secretary for the Plainfield Municipal Employees Association Union for 8 years where I received an award for dedicated service in 2005.  I served as a Deaconess for over 16 years at Shiloh Baptist Church, Elizabeth N.J. where I receive an award for Women’s day. I have serve 3 years as a Plainfield School Board member until my term was up this year Jan 2016 and I am a member of St James AME Church in Newark N.J.

Alice F. Horton-Mays 
A resident of Plainfield since 1986, moved here from Oakland California, by way of Winston-Salem, NC place of birth and secondary public education. I raised two young children in Plainfield to successful adults; daughter, a Surgical Resident Doctor in Brooklyn, and son, a college graduate with honors in Finance who has pursued another career as a fashion designer and entrepreneur. I’m passionate about education and educating the whole child, and the partnership between, Board, Administration, Teachers, Students, Parents and Residents. Educational and Professional Accomplishments: BA degree in Accounting from Guilford College, Greensboro, NC; MBA in Business, Regis University, Denver CO; Certified Internal Auditor (CIA);Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA); Engaged in lifelong learning; Previous employments: RJR, Del Monte, Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Consulting (Robert Half Management Resources), Plainfield Substitute teaching and Jackson Hewitt Tax.

Dorien Hurtt 
With a background in information technology, I am keenly aware of the need to connect curriculum and technology. As a former member of the Plainfield Board of Education, I pushed for full transparency of all actions taken by the board. During my tenure, I pushed for and successfully achieved buy in from fellow board members to update the High School science labs (please stop by and see them--they’re amazing). I understand a better educational system requires shared responsibility with the entire community. Successfully negotiated contracts with the education and administrators union.

Frederick D. Moore, Sr. 
High School – East Orange School District 1956-1960 (EOHS); College – University of Maryland Eastern Shore BS Physical Education & Health. Married for 50 years with two sons and five grandchildren. Work Experience:  1966-69 Elizabeth School District;  1969-2011 East Orange & Newark School Districts; 2012-2013 Rahway School District. Work Duties:  Teacher – Physical Education, Health and Driver Education; Coaching – Football, Track & Field, Baseball and Tennis; Dean of Students (1995-2007). Organizations: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; Free and Accepted Masons and NAACP.

Carmencita Pile 
A Plainfield resident for over 20 years; mother of three girls presently attending schools within the Plainfield district: Cook Elementary School, Maxson Middle School and Plainfield Academy of the Arts and Advanced Studies (PAAAS). Recreational Leader for the City of Plainfield; Chairperson of the Board of Foster and Adoptive Family services for Union County. Previously worked for the Plainfield school system gaining experience and working with teacher, staff, children and parents. Serves on the Board for HOPES, which is a Head Start program for children and families.

James Plummer 
Resident of Plainfield for 38 years; Retired Rutgers University Administrator - Titles include: Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean of Students, Educational Opportunity Fund Director, President Black Faculty and Staff Organization. Teacher/Mentor at Private, Alternative and Juvenile Detention Center school. Principal/Asst. Principal Private Prep School-Newark. 
Family History supporting Plainfield Public Schools including: Wife- kindergarten teacher at Jefferson for 29 years; Children- attended Plainfield schools (Cedarbrook, Hubbard, Plainfield High). Sons have advanced college degrees with son Joel, a Social Studies teacher at Plainfield High and adjunct professor at Rutgers. Granddaughter (Alexis) now attending the Cook School; Grandson (James IV) attended Evergreen from K-5 is now in college. 
Wide range of community and school involvement including: Plainfield Housing Authority Commissioner; Plainfield PTA (Washington, Cedarbrook); Plainfield athletic and civic organization; Elder/Deacon the United Presbyterian Church, Plainfield.

Accolades include: 40+ Awards or recognitions including: NJ Teacher of Year – Dept of Education-JJC; President’s Award in Administration- Rutgers. 

The responses to the questions appear on this and the following pages beneath the candidate’s name. The questions are not repeated. The number of each response corresponds to the number assigned to the questions above.

1. How would you describe an effective school board member? 

2. Identify the most pressing issue facing the district and offer a solution.

3. Rank the following strategies, from 1-6 for improving student performance in the order that would be your priority for the school system.  The number 1 represents your highest priority and the number 6 represents your lowest.

A. New principal development

B. New career and technical education solutions

C. Magnet schools

D. Merit-based teacher compensation

E. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs

F. Principal Autonomy 

Lynn Anderson

1) An effective school board member for Plainfield Board of Education should be passionate, committed and determined. They should be respectful, courteous and professional to parents, teachers, public and children. The school board member should have a broad background of experience & knowledge OR be ready, willing and able to learn quickly with help from fellow board members. The member should be motivated by a sincere desire to serve the educational needs of the Plainfield community and not for achieving personal glory for themselves or carry out a personal agenda that does not serve OUR kids. The board member must be tolerate of other people, free of prejudice and finally an INDEPENDENT THINKER who can weigh all decisions from how it will affect the entire district.  
2) The most pressing issue facing the Plainfield Public School district is A LACK OF LEADERSHIP. FAILURE with the CURRENT Board of Education leadership has resulted in Plainfield High School Graduation rate dropping to 73.9% , no textbooks for ESL & dual language programs, frivolous spending on separate school board elections and disrespectful behavior towards parents, teachers, students and the public. I would immediately work with my newly elected team (Anderson Hurtt Pile) and fellow board members to create a NEW VISION for Plainfield Public Schools to become a PREMEIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY where 100% of OUR children graduate from Plainfield High School. I would encourage my fellow board member to create a community task force consisting of (parents, teachers, community leaders, administrators). Change doesn't just happen overnight, it takes time, hard work, commitment and patience. I truly believe that Plainfield can become a Premiere School district. 
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
1. New Principal Development
2. Principal Autonomy
3. Magnet Schools
4. Merit based teacher compensation
5. New career and technical educational solutions
6. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs

Wilma G. Campbell

1) An effective school board member is one who holds with high regard the deeply held American tradition of the role of school boards which is to embrace transformative power to improve public education.  One must bring relevant questions, innovative ideas, and high energy to make contributions to the public school.  Strong communication skills are vital in order to connect the community with the school district.  An effective board member will share and defend her views, but listen to the views of others as well.  An individual can’t win on every issue she cares about.  More importantly, sometimes you will find that information, perspectives, and ideas others articulate may change your mind, or lead to a new and even better collaborative idea.  The main focus must address why everyone is sitting at the board table in the first place, and that it is, that it is all about the children.
Consistent attendance and participation at meetings, reading board materials in advance of the board meeting and demonstrating respect for all human beings is a must. Exhibiting confidentiality about all matters pertaining to personnel and contracts and a deep respect for the oath of office are characteristics of an effective board member.
An effective board member recognizes the value of being a part of one voice. The success of one board member is inextricably tied to the success of the entire board. The three main areas of board work are legislative, administrative, and judicial. The first area legislative refers to policy making. The competent board member will adopt policies that give direction to the superintendent and staff enabling them to manage the district. Another area of responsibility includes approving and monitoring the budget, approving and monitoring district contracts, and hiring and evaluating the superintendent and appropriate staff. A serviceable board member will make sure the budget is aligned with goals and objectives.
Following the guidelines of the word count limit conveyed to me by my running mates, because I did not receive a personal invitation to participate in this forum, I must say, another salient point is the judicial responsibility of an effective board member. That responsibility includes hearing formal appeals brought forward by staff, students, or parents. Because of the confidential nature of these sessions, one must promote impartiality, and a full understanding of school law and regulations. I would say an effective board member affirms that information in executive sessions should never become a topic for public discussion. These are a few points that capture examples of an effective board member. 
2) A most pressing issue facing the District is the overcrowding of our schools.  We are faced with aged out buildings that were originally intended to house no more than 200-500 students.  Several schools have far exceeded those numbers.  The solution is to continue vetting options with the State on securing new or existing properties, such as the recent 8 acres with 3 buildings purchased for $1.00 at 1700-1800 Myrtle Avenue
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
1. Magnet Schools
2. New career and technical education solutions
3. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs
4. New principal development
5. Principal Autonomy
6. Merit based teacher competency

Jackie D. Coley 
1) Someone who does not take the position lightly, who continue to seek knowledge and information from the NJSBA by attending training on a consistent basis, one who collaborate/work with the current board members, who listen carefully to the recommendation/decisions of the superintendent so that she/he can make the best decision for our children/staff and one who will make sure that the best policies are being implemented. 
2) Charter Schools: We must find a way to slow down the charter schools that are coming into our City and pulling a large hunk of funds away from our public schools. The solution, we all as a group, board members, teachers, parents, tax payers, etc. can write letters and/or take a trip to Trenton to speak to our legislature, whatever we need to do to stop this from occurring constantly in Plainfield. 
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
A.   New principal development 1 
B.  New career and technical educational solutions 3 
C.  Magnet schools 6 
D.  Merit-based teacher compensation 5 
E.  Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention program 4
F.  Principal autonomy 2 
A & F go together, if you work at developing new principals who are trusts worthy and productive then autonomy or independence is easier. Because principal would be better equip and more suitable to handle things internally. 
B & E go hand and hand, most drop outs will benefit from new career and tech programs which decrease the dropout. 
C Magnet Programs will work well with very minimum monitoring. Majority of the time students who test well or display a high level of internal motivation and effort. These programs currently benefit student who are well advance. It also can encourage other student to want to excel to be accepted. 
D Although merit base compensation has its good & bad side, this can also motivation teacher.

Alice F. Horton-Mays 
1) They assist with the development of policies and implementation strategies for the business of educating all Plainfield public school students. They select and support the Chief Administrator and use reliable, relevant information from various sources. The Boards major responsibility is making sure the resources (budget) of the Plainfield district is used in an effectual manner ensuring the best results for the continuous improvement of the educational program in Plainfield. They should set the standard and goal for Blue Ribbon schools throughout the district. 
2) Continued decline in the educational system with limited resources and increasing enrollments. The first solution is to evaluate the current proposed budget line by line and solicit input from all willing sources starting with Principals and educators. Evaluate the actual results school year ending  at the school level, requiring Principals to comment on what went right, wrong, should be maintained, and what should change. I would use that information to change the course of current resource allocations. 
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
A. New principal development    (All principals)                           1 
B. New career and technical educational solutions   (reduce#3)    2 
C. Magnet schools            (Union County works fine)                   6 
D. Merit-based teacher compensation (Principal developed)        4 
E. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs            3 
F. Principal autonomy      (All feed same HS)                     5

Dorien Hurtt 
1) My idea of an effective school board member is one who understands the role of the board and the role of the superintendent.  A board member who stays informed and takes full advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the NJSBA.  Most importantly a board member who abides by the sworn oath and ethics guidelines. 
2) In my view the most pressing issue facing the district is a lack of effective leadership that starts with the current sitting board. One way to move towards a resolution of our current issues is to replace the current leadership who has lost the confidence of staff and the community.  Then sit down with all stakeholders and develop a unified vision and plan of action towards that goal.
A. New principal development 1 
B. New career and technical education solutions 1 
C. Magnet schools 1 
D. Merit-based teacher compensation 6 
E. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs 1 
F. Principal autonomy 3 
I am a firm believer that with our extensive resource of human capital we can prioritize on many issues at one time.

Frederick D. Moore, Sr. 
1) A. An effective School Board Member is one who is dedicated to continued Student Academic Growth and Development. 
B. One who can analyze the School Budget and how it impacts the Culture of the Community 
2) I believe that the District’s greatest needs are to continue improving student academic growth and development district-wide.  K-12 and Talented [STEM] Program with a building devoted to it, which is not a Magnet School. 
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
1. New Career and Tech. Ed. Solutions (Economics & Computer Programming as Career Ready Programs, which include AP Classes)
2. Magnet School (with STEM Principles Only)
3. Attendance Officers for truancy/dropout prevention programs (8 Officers 4 of which must be Bilingual) After Registration their main purpose is to make sure that all registered students RESIDE in Plainfield with their LEGAL GUARDIANS.
4. a, d and f.=6    
League NOTE: a – New Principal Development, d – Merit-based Teacher Compensation and f – Principal Autonomy

Carmencita Pile
1) An effective school member:

*Thoroughly investigates the Superintendent’s resolution before making a decision.

*Ensures that the creation and adoption of policies are in sync with state law, stature and best practices.

*Evaluates the Superintendent and establish goals with fellow board members. 
2) The most pressing issue facing the district is the expansion of charter schools within the Plainfield school district.  I believe the solution, at this time, is to have a sit down (same level) discussion with parents, community, and City officials and find out why they are choosing charter schools over the public schools.   Listen to their concerns and suggestions.  And then follow up with the parents, community and City officials with REAL solutions. 
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
A. New principal development 1
B. New career and technical educational solutions 1
C. Magnet schools 1
D. Merit-based teacher compensation 6
E. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs 1 
F. Principal autonomy 2 

James Plummer 
1) An effective school board member should have good analytical, communicative, and collaborative skills. A member should strive for the success of the entire district now and in the future, while being mindful of the impact policies and decisions have on students, parents, and community at large (including taxpayers, seniors, future students, commercial businesses, and governmental agencies).
Additionally, I believe a good school board member should have a working understanding that the K-12 education is an early and ongoing compass for one’s life’s path. Grades levels aren’t just numbers to reach year after, but indeed on a continuum of learning and training that is important from bottom to top. Thus, all people involved, staff, teachers, administrators, are all equally important and valued.
An effective school board member should be diligent about the work at hand by establishing a professional work ethic (i.e. reading material, courting opinion, sharing ideas, and displaying honesty) that is beyond reproach. As a representative of the community, an effective school board member should be available, responsive, and respectable to all points of view. 
2) A great Board Member doesn’t strive to raise the district to a desired level, but instead to “Be the Standard” for others to aspire.
It’s difficult to identify one issue, as many are interrelated and causal. If I am forced to choose, the most pressing issue is the budget crisis that is facing Plainfield and many urban districts. It is alarming that urban schools are paring down to skeletal budgets as a result of malevolent city, state, and national policies that began decades ago. I find it offensive for people to say that there is so much fat, waste, or fraud, that cuts or minimal increases can be applied without pain. Instead of infighting among ourselves, school, civic, and business leaders of Plainfield and other distressed areas need to join force and put pressure on legislative and judicial leaders to address our circumstances. Outsiders would have us believe that we did something wrong to be placed in this situation, rather than acknowledging that there are societal forces that made these fiscal difficulties inevitable.
I look forward to being on the Board and involved in efforts to increase our revenue streams. For example, we’re proud that we have a diverse student body, one that includes so many students that speak English as a second language. Why can’t we argue to our Congresswoman and U.S. Senators to support legislation for such school districts nationwide to address the additional educational costs associated with this population?
Further in a more immediate response to action regarding the budget, I would support the district to 1) seek new revenue sources via grant proposals 2) expand relations with college and universities, and 3) create symbiotic learning opportunities with City and commercial enterprises. 
3) Ranking strategies for improving student performance 
A. New Principal development 4
B. New career and technical educational solutions 2
C. Magnet schools 5
D. Merit-based teacher compensation 6
E. Comprehensive truancy/dropout prevention programs 3
F. Principal autonomy 1

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