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ABOUT THE CANDIDATES
There are six candidates running for three Scotch Plains seats (each a three-year term) on the SPF Board of Education during this election. Below is more information about the three candidates we are endorsing:
Dr. Karen Kulikowski
- Column #1 on Scotch Plains ballots
A dentist by trade and former professor at the School of Health Related Professions at UMDNJ, Dr. Kulikowski moved to Scotch Plains twenty years ago in order to raise her family here. As her son attended SPF schools, she served the community in countless roles, including various positions in the PTA and committees on the BOE, and is currently the President of the Board.
From our interview:
“I fully support the Curriculum Committee with the improved inclusion of diversity in textbooks, library collections and celebrations of festivals and cultural traditions to broaden the knowledge and acceptance of all in our schools.”
“I enjoy working for the students, families, teachers, administrators and fellow Board members to ensure that all participate in a fulfilling educational process.”
Learn more about Dr. Karen Kulikowski via her interview in the SPF Patch. (COMING SOON)
- Column #2 on Scotch Plains ballots
A lifelong learner with two masters degrees, this finance expert and business owner has lived in Scotch Plains for thirty-two years, and has been involved in the school district in both volunteer and elected positions since her youngest of four children was in grade school.
From our interview:
“We are all one great community, and what we teach in schools should be representative of every student who attends. Every member of our school district needs to be respectful of each others’ similarities and differences and learn from each other. The only way to know this is being communicated is in the schools.”
“I believe great strides have been made thus far in creating a thoughtful, cohesive school community, but there is more work to be done. We need to keep the momentum going.”
Learn more about Debora Brody:
Tonya Y. Williams
- Column #3 on Scotch Plains ballots
A realtor, small business owner, athletics volunteer, PTA volunteer, and mom of three, this current BOE member has demonstrated commitment to equity throughout SPF for years. Not only did Tonya Y. Williams grow up in SPF, once she had children of her own, she moved back to the community she loved so they could experience it for themselves.
From our interview:
“Our schools must provide the environment and opportunity for all of our students to achieve and excel.”
“I was instrumental in hiring school safety officers in our schools and implementing safety procedures which are ongoing. I am passionate about ensuring the safety of our children and additional counseling in our elementary schools. I am also most proud of chairing the newly formed Wellness and Equity Committee, or as I refer to it the “WE” committee. As an elected official, my passion drives me to meet the equitable needs of the students. The WE committee is committed to bringing more diverse hiring in our staff, ensuring the safety, health and wellness and an excellent education. However, it takes more than passion, it requires the ability to collaborate, listen and respect others.”
Learn more about Tonya Y. Williams:
BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATES NIGHT DEBATE VIDEO
The live recording of the SPF BOE Candidates Night virtual event with the SPF PTA Council and League of Women Voters via the SPF BOE YouTube channel happened Tuesday, October 12th, 2021.
The questions were submitted by members of the community. We broke the video down for you by topic to make it easier to review.
00:02:45 Video clip
00:14:17 Question #1 Video clip
What is your position on diversity training and initiatives for our educators and students?
00:18:38 Question #2 Video clip
How can the school district allow better transparency, communication and cooperation between administrators and families to allow for a more inclusive working environment?
00:26:42 Question #3 Video clip
Please speak to your thoughts about the district's technology -- both resources and programming -- and what improvements (if any) you’d advocate for.
00:31:30 Question #4 Video clip
How will you use your voice and seat to help address the learning loss all kids experienced while they were virtual or out of school? Be specific and give examples.
00:36:01 Question #5 Video clip
Given the growth that Scotch Plains and Fanwood will have with the incoming communities at Bowcraft and Parker, and considering the size of our schools, what is your plan and execution of the plan for the cost to increase the size of the schools, how to meet the needs of the student population, and how will you work with the township mayors to address the concerns of traffic, taxes, etc.?
00:41:32 Question #6 Video clip
If you are committed to ensure all kids truly have equal opportunity, representation and inclusion in our school district, what experience, education, and/or training have you had or will you get to not only understand our diverse student body, particularly the individuals whose identities and experiences differ from your own, but how to get them what they need?
(Please note that “diverse student body” includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion/spirituality, nation of origin, physical ability, socioeconomic status, family dynamic, previous educational experience, IEP/504 Plan status, etc. of the students.)
00:48:15 Question #7 Video clip
What steps do you feel the district should be taking to make sure the staff reflects the diversity of the students?
00:52:22 Question #8 Video clip
What are the top two or three improvements/challenges that need to be addressed in the school district, and how will you contribute to implementing these changes as a board member?
00:58:33 Question #9 Video clip
What do you believe the top four priorities should be for the upcoming 2022-2025 Strategic Planning, and have you attended these sessions?
01:02:39 Video clip
SUPPORT THE CANDIDATES
If you agree with our endorsement, there are easy ways to spread the word and help these three candidates win the race:
- Hang this free printable sign with the candidates' names on it in your home's windows.
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