My name is Helen Kirsch and I am running for the Board of Education.
My roots are in Berkeley Heights and my family and I take great pride in our community. Serving on the board is my way of giving back and I pay it forward with the many volunteer endeavors my family is involved in throughout the town. I am a GL graduate, my children all attended our local schools and I now have two grandchildren in the district. Being part of a blended family I get feedback daily and have the opportunity to share their school experiences.
I am employed by The County of Union as Assistant Director of Paratransit. We provide transportation to the senior, disabled and/or economically disadvantaged population of Union County. Our goal is to provide a degree of independence when driving is not an option. In recognition of my service to community transportation programs throughout the state I received the Reilly Award in 2014. This award was established in 1984 and there have been only 14 recipients recognized to date. I have had the honor of serving our community as a member of the Board of Education for 34 years and was chosen as the 2015 New Jersey School Board Association Board member of the year. Additionally I am an officer for Union County School Board, represent Union County on the NJSBA Board of Directors and serve as president of the Union County Educational Services Commission Representative Assembly. Most recently I was honored to be recognized by The Patriots Council of the Boy Scouts of America as a Berkeley Heights Good Scout.
While I have always enjoyed being a part of the school community it is important to remember that the Board of Education is charged with making sure the schools are run well, NOT running the schools. During my tenure we have grown from a small K-8 district to one on the top districts in the state. Excellence has always been the board’s top priority. We have attracted and hired a top-notch administrative team who shares that goal. Working in concert with the administration the board continually endeavors to encourage our students to become upstanding citizens, life-long learners and provide all students with 21st century skills to carry with them after graduation.
A prime example of this is our newly adopted 5 year strategic plan that focuses on student achievement and advancing our STEM curriculum and best practices to infuse technology into the learning experience. A key provision is a tool to benchmark our own results and compare data with selected peer districts.
I look forward to your continuing support of me and Denis Smalley who has been a vital member of the board for the past 12 years on November 8th.
While not a member of our board, Chris Rinaldi has been a regular attendee at our meetings. He takes an active role in discussions during the public sessions asking relative questions and sharing his expertise when applicable. Chris shares our vision and is well versed on the issues the board is facing. He will be a new board member that would hit the ground running if elected. Both Denis and I support his write in campaign.