My name is Michael D’Aquila and as a proud member of our community, I’m committed to making our school district exceptional.  I’m running for election to the Berkeley Heights Board of Education because I believe in the value of public education.  I currently have 3 children (ages 10, 9 and 6) attending our school system and would like every Berkeley Heights student to have the same support and successes that I desire for my own children.  I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with teachers, administrators, parents and the community to ensure Berkeley Heights students receive the superior education they deserve regardless of grade level or educational need.  I will make every effort to ensure our students are prepared and have the tools necessary to succeed in higher education and/or the workforce.

My educational and professional background makes me uniquely qualified to be a positive addition to the School Board to address issues facing our school district.  I am a graduate of SUNY Maritime College (Bronx, NY) where I earned a degree in Marine Engineering along with my US Coast Guard 3rd Assistant Engineers License.  I am a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New Jersey.

My past work experience has included leadership roles in Higher Education, as well as, multiple Science Research facilities.  In my most recent role as Associate Vice President at a state institution of higher education, I partnered with administration, faculty and students to provide a first-class learning environment to ensure student success. In both current and past roles, I have overseen the planning, renovation, and construction of various types of facilities ranging in size from $1 million - $200+ million.  My team handled capital construction and building infrastructure replacement projects and assumed responsibility for operating and maintaining facilities ranging in size from 1.0 – 1.8 million sq. ft.  My responsibilities have entailed managing operating budgets of $10 million+, and supervising teams of project managers to ensure that project schedules are met timely, efficiently, and well within budget parameters.  I have lead teams of over 100 employees, acted as a liaison between various departments, and interfaced with all levels of staff including management and union personnel.  Previous roles have also included contract negotiations with union personnel.

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As part of my commitment to the community, I am proud of my accomplishments while on the Town Council serving as Council Vice President.  I held a key role in constructing, developing and ensuring completion of our new, state-of-the-art buildings that are currently being built in town – the Municipal Building, Community Center, Library, and Police Headquarters.  I was also the liaison to the Environmental Commission where we undertook many initiatives to better our community.

There are many initiatives the Board is currently evaluating such as transforming our media centers, implementing full day kindergarten and maintaining aging infrastructure through the Capital Improvement Plan.  With my many years of project management, operations, and construction expertise, I will tackle any projects that are presented and/or undertaken by the school board to ensure they are executed efficiently, incorporate technological improvements where applicable and are within budget. I understand the realities of working within a budget and will ensure our taxpayer money is spent wisely.  As a former elected official and as a member of negotiation teams in higher education roles, my previous contract negotiation experience with union personnel will also be of value should the BOE/BHEA not reach a settlement soon.  I will be a visible, approachable and involved leader who will work to collaborate with all members of the community to build public understanding, support and participation.  

I am skilled at making things happen and effecting change when change is needed.  If elected, I will bring a fresh perspective, solid professional and educational expertise, as well as, dedication to ensuring our school district continues to build on our tradition of excellence.  Please show your support on Tuesday, November 5thand vote for:

Michael D’Aquila Column 2 - Board of Education