BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Jessica Salinas is a first time candidate for a seat on the Bloomfield Board of Education. Salinas moved to the Bloomfield when she married her husband Mike, a graduate of Bloomfield Middle and High School. The Salinas have six children ages 11, 12, 13, 14, 18 and 20. The oldest child is a recent graduate from Johnson Wales University in N Miami, earning her Bachelors degree in 3 years and graduating magna cum laude. Jessica was born and raised in Jersey City and is a 1994 graduate of South Brunswick High.
TAPinto Bloomfield interviewed Jessica August 25..
TAP: What is one thing the voters would be surprised to learn about you?
JS: I’m great at multi-tasking! We run our own successful food truck business. Mike is Hispanic and I’m Filipino so the name is Mexi-Flip Taco Truck.
TAP: What is the No. 1 reason or what drove you to run for a seat on the Board of Education?
JS: I decided to run because I have been involved in the community for some time now. After attending a few meetings, I did not like the direction the board was going. I saw nothing but chaos and this wasn’t the way the board should act. I saw the president yelling at a speaker and this experience made me decide to run for Bloomfield Board of Education.
TAP: How do you think being a parent of six students who are in or have been in the district schools be a benefit to you as a board member?
JS: I get to see my children’s experiences in the schools that they attend and have attended.
TAP: As a citizen and homeowner, what do you think is the greatest asset of the Township of Bloomfield?
JS: Bloomfield is a beautiful city. For me it’s the outdoor recreation, the historic districts, the arts and cultural institutions, the town festivals, and programs.
TAP: As a citizen, besides from running your business and raising your six children what has been your biggest contribution to the Township/Community?
JS: I use my food truck for career day at Fairview Elementary school and also give back to the Bloomfield PBA Open House. I am an HSA Mom at Fairview and have been for the past 11 years. Last year I became District leader in First Ward District 6.
TAP: What is your No 1 quality that makes you stand out from the other four candidates? How would you complete the statement: I am the only candidate who….
JS: I am an entrepreneur. I will take my leadership skills and apply them to the Board of Education. Also, I am the only candidate who is a mother of six.
TAP: Bloomfield has seen a great deal of residential development in the last several years. The Parkway Lofts, the Green, Avalon, and development on the old Hartz-Mountain property have brought hundreds of new residents to town. Another new building is being built on the Ferrand Street parking lot. How should Bloomfield Schools plan for the potential increase in enrollment from these and other potential developments?
JS: St. Valentines and Sacred Heart elementary schools have closed and now Bloomfield Tech is closing soon. I feel that these are potential sites the Board of Ed should look into purchasing rather than building a new school.
TAP: What one idea do you have to increase flow of info from District to parents and community and flow of ideas/feedback from parents/community back to the District?
JS: Social media as a communications platform. That’s how people today get their ideas across and communicate. That’s the way to go.
TAP: As a candidate what do you think is the No. 1 challenge facing the school District in the next three years?
JS: Parent Involvement. The parents of the district need to get involved.
TAP: Bloomfield School District passed a “Safe Routes to School” resolution which made the Board and citizens more aware of the importance of safety for students. The Bloomfield Health Department is also creating “Travel Plans” with funding from Easy Ride. What one specific idea do you have to encourage more students to bike and walk to school.
JS: I would incorporate walk routes and bike routes with more crossing guards and police patrol on these routes. This keeps the child healthy, fit, active and safe.
TAP: where do you stand regarding the importance of athletics and extra-curricular activities in the overall school curriculum and? Very Important, Somewhat Important, Not Important. Why?
JS: It is Very Important. All of my children are in some type sports or extra-curricular activity. It’s the best thing I can do for my children. This keeps all students active physically, mentally and most importantly; keeps them off the streets.
TAP: A friend of the Bloomfield district makes a $1M donation and gives you 100% sole discretion to allocate the money to one project or educational area next year. How will you spend the money?
JS: I would build a cafeteria in all 8 elementary schools. Because there is nothing better than fresh hot food as opposed to a lukewarm lunch in box. If children are not happy with the food they are not eating and if they are not eating they cannot concentrate and learn.
TAP: What book are you currently reading or what TV series are you following?
JS: Only watching one series: ‘Power’. With six children my time for watching television is limited.
TAP: Who was your favorite teacher and why was he/she your favorite?
JS: For me my father was my greatest teacher. He came from the Philippines when he was 14. He taught me family values, respecting others, how to be a hard worker and to get back up when you fall. I was born & raised in Jersey City where I went to parochial school K-9. The teachers I had were too strict, so none of them were my favorites.
TAPinto: What is your campaign slogan?
JS: “Vote for the Best. Jessica S”
TAP: What is the best way for the Bloomfield voters to reach you?
JS: Email me at Jessicasalinasboe@gmail.com
TAP: Anything you would like to say in closing to the voters and citizens of Bloomfield?
JS: I look forward to walking around the township and meeting the voters. I also hope to earn everyone’s vote. See you on November 7.