Joy Young and Ramya Kasthuri’s professional credentials and experience as a Change Manager and Attorney respectively speak for themselves as candidates for the Berkeley Heights BOE.  Equally impressive is their commitment to volunteerism which has provided them with invaluable insight into issues from the elementary to the high school levels.  Looking beyond these highly important attributes, the greatest attributes both candidates bring is character, integrity, and respect.  They have demonstrated this throughout their campaign as they focus on how to improve communications and build relationships within the community.  I commend their approach of responding to our concerns and questions with thoughtfulness and deliberation versus the need to be the loudest voice in the room.  During these unprecedented times we need to come together, communicate with respect, and collaborate on solutions for the sake of our children’s academic success and sense of community.

I want to thank both of these candidates for hosting their third listening session, “Parenting and Mental Health During COVID-19” featuring Suzanne Rubinetti, LCSW, CSW.  This session provided an opportunity to hear expert tips on strategies regarding regulating children’s feelings, how to identify missed cues of children’s anxiety, and the difference between productive vs. non-productive anxiety, among many other relevant wellness topics.  Focusing on bringing parents and the community together to share our concerns as we continue to live, work, and parent through COVID-19 is exactly what we need from our candidates.  Ensuring our child’s academic success while balancing mental health and wellness is a challenge, we all did not foresee this year, and we will need to continue to address and support our children within the near future.  I appreciate Ms. Young and Ms. Kasthuri identifying this need and providing the open forum for solution-based discussions and an opportunity for our community to unite.

I believe that these listening sessions conducted as part of their campaign is an example of the type of direct communication and accessibility that they will bring to the BOE.  As a resident of BH for over 14 years and with multiple children who have attended or are currently attending school here, we have reaped the benefits of quality academics, while unfortunately experiencing racial issues that ultimately left a toll on our children and our family.  I value Ms. Young and Ms. Kasthuri not discounting our experiences and their openness to listen and collaborate on recommendations and solutions, while upholding a positive and unprovoking campaign.

For this reason, I support Joy Young (#1) and Ramya Kasthuri (#5) for the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, as they have demonstrated the best of Berkeley Heights with a campaign of positivity, community, and most of all character.