BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Jennifer White will see education from yet another perspective come January.
That’s when she will be seated on the Bernards Township Board of Education. She won her seat on Election Day as a write-in candidate by receiving 579 votes, besting the 300 of another write-in, Nick Xu.
White will take the post being vacated by John Fry, who chose not to run.
White is in her third year as president of the Cedar Hill School PTO. Before her own children came along, she was a teacher in the primary grades for 15 years at Far Hills Country Day School. She holds two master’s degrees in the education field.
She and her husband, Charlie, a teacher at Oak Knoll School in Summit, have four boys. The family has lived in Basking Ridge for 19 years.
“I think it is very important to have a teacher’s voice on the board,” she said. She characterized herself as “not shy to ask questions” and enjoying being involved.
After seeing education’s challenges from the classroom, she joined the PTO as a parent, sitting in on administrative meetings with board members and district administrators.
With a career teaching in first through fourth grades, and with her boys in the fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th grades, she said she thought she could see the promises and challenges that come to every level of learning.
Starting with the new year, she will see how education works from what is essentially a board of directors job, overseeing the administration and deciding on policy.
“Curriculum is something I’m very interested in,” she said. Asked about the role of technology, she said it was useful, but knew from her own teaching experience how to operate without it.
“I don’t see a need for it 24/7,” she said, but called it useful for research and enhancement. “It shouldn’t replace the role of the teacher.”
She said she was concerned with the amount of time schools must take for state-directed assessment tests.
She holds two master’s degrees, one in education from Bank Street College in Manhattan and another in reading and learning disabilities from Teacher’s College of Columbia University.
White said she began a campaign by social media and word of mouth when she learned of the ballot vacancy in September. Two incumbents, Linda Wooldridge and Jennifer Korn, won without opposition on the ballot.