Hello Berkeley Heights neighbors!  Usually during election time, I am one big eye roll – so many phony, unachievable promises and gutter-worthy attempts by candidates to discredit opponents and win at all costs, rather than represent the true voice of the people.   

This year, I am inspired and hopeful for change when I listen to Joy Young and Ramya Kasthuri, candidates for Berkeley Heights Board of Education.

In addition to reading all of the candidates’ statements, I had the opportunity to participate in one of their online “Listening Sessions”, where community members could ask the candidates questions and join in a conversation about those topics.  The Listening Sessions are not only a refreshing and positive alternative to a debate, but is also something they plan on carrying forward to keep communication lines open to the community once they get elected.  Listening to the whole community – parents, teachers and students – will be a step in the right direction to moving us forward and working as a team.

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To me, there were three things that set them apart from the others running:

Their professions – Ramya is an attorney for large company who works in compliance.  Joy is an executive/change agent for a large company working on projects such as COVID re-entry plans.   Both have extensive contract experience, and their backgrounds will serve to round out the BOE and bring strengths where we are currently lacking.  

Their kids – Not only can they say they have kids in the district, but combined, they have children in every district level.  This range provides a greater understanding of the current issues impacting our kids at all levels…and as parents, they are living it right along with us.

Tangible community involvement – Both Joy and Ramya have experience in the community volunteering with kids, from Girl Scouts to the GL summer Jump Start program.  They are not ones for showing up to PTO, BOE or town council meetings with complaints or questioning and not following through with solutions. They take action for the good of all of our kids, and put themselves out there as volunteers and candidates, knowing that they are fighting for the opportunity to represent all of us.  

Joy and Ramya will be accountable, transparent, inclusive and creative.  They want to be part of the BOE because they believe in our kids as future leaders and want give them the tools to be leaders, locally and globally. And I believe in them…..

Please vote for #1 and #5 – Joy and Ramya for Berkeley Heights Board of Education.