I have a small confession to make. Prior to COVID-19, I was not as keenly aware of the educational system under the leadership of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education (BOE). What changed? Well, this new educational normal brought so much to light. It has made me realize that as a parent, it is essential we share our feedback, challenges, and experiences so that we can together make our schools the best educational experience for our children. We are on the frontline and our voices are needed now more than ever.

After learning about the BOE candidates, I am voting for Joy and Ramya because their platform of Communication, Academics, and Connection speaks to all my concerns. I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for better communication to parents and students. We can all appreciate the uncertainties that exist in this new environment, but I believe more transparent communication will help everyone understand things better. In this new learning environment, I have worried about the success of my children and if they can thrive in it. Clearly there are challenges to the partial in-school and online models; therefore, I think academics is an important focus for the BOE. And finally, I believe that the connection of all voices in our community will ultimately enhance and better serve our schools.

Joy and Ramya have practical experience that will be a great complement to the BOE. Joy in her current role at Johnson & Johnson has created guides for workplaces in the age of COVID-19, and Ramya has direct experience as an educator who taught in a particularly challenging environment. Additionally, Ramya's legal counsel in her current role at AIG could be invaluable to the Board. These are great insights that can enlighten our approach to the current educational model. They have also held numerous volunteer positions throughout town demonstrating their commitment to our community.

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Finally, I like that Joy and Ramya have children in our school systems. With elementary-aged children, Ramya has recent memory of time in early childhood education (MKM) and with high school-aged children, Joy has recent memory of middle school education. Together they represent a full picture and have timely experience with our schools from kindergarten through high school. This perspective is unique to Joy and Ramya and one that I feel is needed now more than ever.

This is why they have my vote for the BOE!