BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - After interviewing two applicants on Monday night, the Bernards Township Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint Karen Gray to fulfill the next four months of a board vacancy created by the recent resignation of Christopher Viereck, who had been elected as a newcomer last November.
Following the announcement of the board's decision, Board President Robin McKeon encouraged the other applicant, Michael Storms, to file to seek one of five seats that are up for grabs in the Nov. 4 election. The township school board has nine members.
"We are very impressed with both candidates," McKeon said. However, she said that board members - who headed for a private personnel discussion for about half an hour after hearing both applicants speak - felt that Gray's background will allow her to "hit the ground running in the next few months."
Gray was sworn in and took a seat at the township Board of Education meeting held on Monday, July 21.
Gray, a former Parent-Teacher Organization co-president for both the Mount Prospect Elementary School and William Annin Middle School PTOs, said she expects to file to seek election for the board position in November. Gray also is a mother of four children, including students at the middle school and Ridge High School, and two Ridge graduates,
Deadline for filing to become school board candidate is next Monday, July 28
The deadline for filing to become a school board candidate in the Nov. 4 general election is 4 p.m. next Monday, July 28, with a nominating petition to be submitted by that time to the Somerset County clerk's office in Somerville.
Following the board's decision, Storms said he still is considering whether to seek election to one of the available board seats this fall. Storms, who said he has a child in elementary school, a preschooler and a third on the way, said he had been hoping to contribute to the board on a long-term basis. A former resident of Bernardsville and Parsippany, he also said he had hoped to bring his business experience to the board and well as the insight of a member of "Generation X."
Since Viereck was just elected to a three-year term, his resignation earlier this summer creates a two-year unexpired term that will be listed on the November ballot.
A separate one-year unexpired term - created when Board Member Audrey Sherwyn resigned late last year to relocate from the area - also will be on the ballot. Board Member Karen Richman was appointed to fill out Sherwyn's seat until the election, when she would have to seek re-election in order to remain on the board.
The terms of three other board members expire this year. Board members Susan McGowan, Priti Shah and Linda Wooldridge must decide whether to file to seek re-election by July 28 as well. The full terms are for three-year positions on the board. Nominating petitions must be filed at the county clerk's office at 20 Grove St., Somerville, NJ.
Published by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the School Board Candidate Kit includes a nominating petition, information about legal qualifications for school board candidacy and the role of the school board member. Information about the New Jersey School Ethics Act and important dates in the school election process are also included in the kit.
Candidates who have filed a petition with the Somerset County Clerk should also visit the Board of Education Office to pick up a "Board Basics Packet," the BOE website advises. The board office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday at 101 Peachtree Road in Basking Ridge, according to the website.